Fall of Grace
Fall of Grace starts off well enough. Interesting credits that shiver and shake over news reports of a demonic attack. There’s a weariness about our characters, as a fight goes on under a blue filter. They don’t waste any time getting our victem possessed on the other side of the credits. She talks through a mirror to a shadow behind her, and it’s painfully casual.
Fight club still going on in the darkness of rooftop, and we cut back-and-forth between that and the girl talking to her imaginary friend. It’s almost reminiscent of the child that speaks to the demonic pig in the Amityville horror. Green glows from her closet, and its door opens by itself. She leaves the room, and wanders the empty house, searching for her wayward mother. A light snaps on in the kitchen, but there’s no one there. Just her imaginary friend in the green glow. It wants to go somewhere.
What happens next is actually pretty shocking.
We fast forward to a month after the horrifying events and the parents are still recovering. Mom’s drinking and dad studying the occult. Dad tells Mom he’s going to get their daughter back… as he plunges the knife into his arm. She’s drunk enough that it doesn’t even phase her. He heads out to the garage and draws a circle in blood and begins a ritual. The effects are bloody with flashes of scary imagery, and really the exact thing that Crum excels at.
Dad shifts the demon into his drunken wife, and proceeds to torture it. To be fair, the demon has it coming… It’s got a mouth full of smack talk, and disturbing images.. it’s really what Trump does best, reading grotesque imagery… But at the same time he makes a rookie mistake and lingers on it for far too long. Fortunately, it pauses once the chainsaw comes out. He’s now in a garage full of dead
girls, lit only by a lantern. It allows them to throw a jump scare here or there and go subtler.
And that’s just the first half hour!
Back in the girls room, creepy dolls open their eyes and stare at him. The closet opens, and something comes out. It claws him and flashes in an out of existence, there is the sound of a music box in the distance and it’s long white teeth create a mocking and garish grin.
Chainsaw. Threats. Time for real exorcists to get involved. We have an old priest and a young priest! Of course kid exorcist’s elder tells him it’ll never work. You can’t trust evil. It doesn’t matter, he’s going to try and rescue the girl. For a spiritual battle though, this is awfully physical, with some serious violence going on… And a flair for the fantastic.
While kid exorcist is getting beaten up and his eyes ripped out, the dad is getting worked over by the cops, one of whom was having affair with his wife. Finally they let him go, and he comes home to discover the bloodied priest
there… Still offering to help him get his daughter back.
It’s the old priest’s turn next, and it ends up as bloody as any of the previous encounters. Dad comes to the rescue with chains and a stake through the heart. The young priest, now blind, prays and a fiery portal to hell erupts out of the ground. It’s still not enough, and the demon gets away.
“What gives you the notion that pathetic humans could take me down?”
Time for the final boss fight. He’s waiting for Dad in the girls room with her.
Crum is working with some new techniques here, really experimenting with compositing and camera speeds to create a stuttered jerky look. Nevertheless, it’s got his distinct touch to it… Particularly when we look at the monsters. Their bloody and misshapen, gruesome to the extreme. There’s some discipline though, creating several distinct looks and recognizable monsters. It’s a film that shows all polish and some restraint on crumbs part. Rather than the unfiltered lunacy that we get in his Lake Fear movies. It’s and unmistakable growth as a filmmaker, and one of the better films he’s done.