Fall of Grace Movie Review
Written by Simon Bland
Released by ITN Distribution
Directed by Michael Crum
Written by Gerald Crum
2017, 81 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
Digital Release November 27 2017
Joshua Winch as Jase
Gerald Crum as Caleb
Sheri Davis as Tracy
Skyler Blodgett as Belle
There’s a lot to be said for low budget horror films. Unlike most other genres, the financial backing of a horror movie doesn’t necessarily have to have any impact on the finished product. In fact, having a shoestring budget can sometimes actually improve an otherwise dull story. It’s a rare sub-section of cinema that actively thrives on having less to work with. That said, this low-key approach is no guarantee of success. There are many other more nuanced elements that must fall into place for the finished product to work, as Michael Crum’s handmade horror Fall of Grace proves all too well.
On the surface, Crum’s fourth feature (and third with writing partner/brother Gerald) sounds quite promising. Through a series of shady, shaky sequences we’re introduced to troubled parents Jase (Joshua Winch) and Tracy (Sheri Davis), a couple whose daughter Belle (Skyler Blodgett) has mysteriously disappeared. Clearly struggling with their sudden loss and worried of what outside parties might think of their only child’s head-scratching disappearance, father Jase sets about finding her and pretty soon learns that she may have been taken by a malevolent demon residing in their suburban home. To get her back, Jase must delve into a demonic world and summon some help of his own but it’s not long before things descend into bloodstained madness.
Not bad, right? You could almost see this type of homegrown supernatural frightener coming from someone like Jason Blum and his quality horror factory, Blumhouse. The similarities could be more than coincidental, too. With Crum and his brother churning out a string of bargain-bin terrors over the past few years, it looks like they have an eye on Blum’s USP. However while the ideas are there, their execution proves troublesome, at least in the case of Fall of Grace. Despite being made for a scant $15,000, a series of juddering shots, an inconsistent narrative and some hammy acting do little to help the movie fulfill the high aspirations it clearly has.
Where it succeeds is in crafting a suitably uneasy tone and mood for its tale to unfold. Shots of Jase interrogating his demon-possessed wife may be a little jarring in terms of story but with director Crum also serving as cinematographer, he crafts an atmospheric tone of dark hues, foreboding reds and eerie greens on which to paint his picture. While this doesn’t elevate the picture above its surface level visual or audio (it might have been a dodgy screener link, but Fall of Grace seemed to be delivered in either whispers or deafening blares) flaws, together with the intriguing concept, it remains the take-away feature from an otherwise forgettable tale of demonic possession.