SXSW – Raging Grace – a tepid thriller

I love mystery thrillers, so I was drawn to Raging Grace, a film touted as just that, and yet, I was not thrilled, and I found the mystery transparent. Regardless, director Paris Zarcilla manages, with the help of a solid cast, a creepy, slightly suspenseful flick. She pulls out all the necessary elements – crazed spinsters, evil aristocrats, and innocents caught in spooky mansions houses and a reasonably interesting plot even in its predictable.

At its core, Raging Grace is the old tale about class and status, and Joy (Max Eigenmann) is on the bottom rung, desperate enough to take a job (under the table) taking care of a strange aristocrat (David Hayman) who is bedridden and seemingly on death’s door. His niece Katherine (Leanne Best), who doesn’t know Joy has a daughter, leaves Joy alone for a few days while Kathrine takes care of business. During this time, Joy discovers, or so she thinks, that Katherine is drugging her uncle to get his estate. She soon realizes her misunderstanding of the situation, and she and her daughter are in a battle with evil.

I did not hate the film, but I wouldn’t say I liked Raging Grace either. I had one of those meh feelings after I watched – not boring or exciting, just meh. I attended the screening with my granddaughter, and she seemed thrilled, nor did the movie scare us. The cast is strong, and Eigenmann carries the movie’s weight well. Jaeden Paige Boadilla deserves kudos for portraying Grace, Joy’s daughter. It was nice to hear them talk about their roles during the Q&A.

With the chance of hits and misses at SXSW, I feel fortunate to have seen more hits than misses, and Raging Grace is on the line – not great, but not wrong, either. Zarcilla indeed does an excellent directorial job. Her attention to detail is notable and visually engaging and while I am challenged to surprise, her efforts here impress too. She can’t seem to settle on a tone, and it ends up overly preachy about political elements regarding social status. I am placing a three up top for this one and honestly feel it will find a fan base. I am just not in it.

Leave a comment