Reviews | Written by Sol Harris 23/11/2017

FALL OF GRACE

Questionable but well-meaning father, Jase, is called into action when his daughter is possessed and seemingly kidnapped by a demonic entity. Attempting to rescue her, Jase summons a second demon so that he can force it to help him. Predictably, things don’t run smoothly and people die.

It’s a pretty good premise that, in the right hands, might have made for a solid bit of fun. Unfortunately, Fall of Grace is let down by incredibly amateurish production. It features a double-whammy of poorly recorded sound and poorly mixed audio-levels. Just as you lean in to try and make out what’s being said, someone screams, shattering your eardrums, and then the music blares up, drowning everything out. Be warned: if you choose to watch this film, you won’t have a chance to stop adjusting the volume for the following 80 minutes.

And that’s when the sound is actually present. On at least one occasion, a seemingly vital line of dialogue is outright missing from the mix. The character’s mouth moves, the other character responds, and you’re left in the dark. To put it bluntly: Fall of Grace is a film that’s literally difficult to watch.

The visuals are a little bit better. There’s some great use of framing and shadow, but it feels like it was shot by someone with no technical camera knowledge. The footage doesn’t seem to have been white-balanced, it’s frequently over-exposed and, in some cases, the film-makers seemingly forgot to wipe the lens clean between takes.

Thanks to the slapdash production, it’s so hard to actually follow what’s happening that you ultimately just let the movie wash over you. It doesn’t work as a narrative, but, to give it credit, it does achieve a certain degree of atmosphere and, paradoxically, the low production values actually heighten the impact of a few moments. The lack of Hollywood finesse makes it feel more real like you’re watching a home movie where a smoke-entity steps foot into the frame. Sadly, these moments are few and far between and, almost entirely, visible in the trailer.

Had the film told a great story, the technical shortcomings might have been forgivable, but there’s nothing new here – as the film even acknowledges. There are visual nods to the Evil Dead series and whenever our priest characters appear, they’re accompanied by a knock-off version of the theme from The Exorcist. Sadly, these homages just remind you that you could be watching a much better movie, instead.

The film does come across as a real labour of love that has been scraped together by a small handful of people with genuine belief in it. There even seems to be a modicum of talent hidden away behind the incomprehensible, garbled execution. It’s just a shame that more care wasn’t taken to put their vision forward coherently. You know the worst sort of Hollywood fight-sequence, where fast shots of shaky camera footage are too close to the action for you to be able to tell what’s going on? Imagine an entire movie of that, but, also, half the film is too dark to see anything. That’s Fall of Grace.

FALL OF GRACE / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: MICHAEL CRUM / SCREENPLAY: GERALD CRUM / STARRING: JOSHUA WINCH, GERALD CRUM, SHERI DAVIS, SKYLER BLODGETT / RELEASE DATE: TBC

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