Liz’s Review: Raging Grace (SXSW 2023)

Scary DVDs! Woo!

★★★★ out of ★★★★★
🚫 out of 🩸🩸🩸🩸🩸

Written and Directed by Paris Zarcilla

Joy (Max Eigenmann) is a Filipina single mother who is working cleaning houses in order to save enough money to get British citizenship papers for herself and her charmingly mischievous daughter, Grace (Jaden Paige Boadilla). The two struggle, moving from house to house and sleeping wherever the homeowners are away. When she is asked to check on a man named Mr. Garret (David Hayman) by someone at her church Joy is surprised by Mr. Garrett’s niece Katherine (Leanne Best) who assumes Joy has been sent by an agency to be the housekeeper at the country manor.

Desperate for a room of their own, Joy accepts the job (paid under the table, of course) and smuggles Grace into the house where she has to remain hidden from Katherine. As the days pass, Joy realizes that Katherine may not have her uncle’s best interests in mind and when she leaves town for an few days Joy works to nurse the old man back to health. However, Katherine may not be the only one hiding a secret, and saving Mr. Garrett may cost Joy and Grace their lives.

Paris Zarcilla

Director Paris Zarcilla has a lot to say: Raging Grace is an immigrant story and a comment on racism and classism that breathes new life into the classic gothic horror story format. Its only flaw may be trying to cram so many weighty subjects into a 90-minute film, but with outstanding performances, especially from Eigenmann and its young star Boadilla, it is a treat to watch.

Raging Grace had its world premiere at South by Southwest and took home the top prize for Best Narrative Feature! It will be coming to Shudder later this year.

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