The loss of a parent is felt acutely no matter what the relationship between parent and child, whether it is one of loving respect and devotion or one that is more firmly rooted in abuse. The aftermath of this loss impacts the entire family regardless of age, but sometimes, external factors mark this experience as something borderline otherworldly. Such is the case in Abbey Grace, a film that chronicles unexpected events upon the death of a family matriarch.
A supernatural thriller, Abbey Grace tells the story of Stacey (Debbie Sheridan, of the forthcoming Fortune Defies Death), a woman who returns home in the wake of her mother’s death to care for her agoraphobic, obsessive-compulsive brother Ben (Jacob Hobbs, of The Butchers). The house, however, has a dark past — one that threatens the lives and sanity of Stacey and Ben, unless if they can unlock its secrets.
Conceptually, Abbey Grace has a good story and much room for both creativity and depth. The dynamic between a mentally ill man and his long-suffering sister is rife with the potential for expansion into how a mental disorder can cripple both the sufferer and the family members alike. The added component of the supernatural should have highlighted this tension with both style and imagination.
Unfortunately, Abbey Grace suffers on several fronts that cause damage to the whole film. Brought to us from Uncork’d Entertainment, director Stephen Durham (of The Butchers) teamed with David Dittlinger (of Head Game and The Butchers) to write the script, which fell flat in the areas of both logic and willing suspension of disbelief. The treatment of mental disorder contained itself to preconceived notions rather than research and understanding, which is understandably off-putting to some viewers. This aspect doesn’t necessarily spell doom for a film — sometimes, a story can be salvaged with a stellar cast that can breathe life into a tale that doesn’t read well on paper. Sadly, the acting combined with the skewed logic had the opposite effect. It leaves the audience longing for the third act of this film a while before it was even on the horizon, and when it finally arrives, it feels forced.
While it has the potential, Abbey Grace fails to bring a fresh take on a scary situation rooted in an everyday horror story.
Abbey Grace (1.5 / 5)
Abbey Grace arrives on Video On Demand on November 8, with a wider release to DVD on December 6.