04th May2021

‘We Still Say Grace’ VOD Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Holly Taylor, Bruce Davison, Rita Volk, Arianne Zucker, Dallas Hart, Frankie Wolf, Xavier J. Watson | Written and Directed by Brad Helmink, John Rauschelbach

The last five years or so of horror movies have shown a rise in films that are bleak and sometimes difficult to watch. Perhaps Ari Aster, with Hereditary and Midsommar, has popularised this style but big hits such as The Quiet Place, alongside classics like The Nightingale have shown that there are many great films to come from this. We Still Say Grace tries its best to sit alongside the best of them.

That dark and ominous tone is here right from the first scene as we see an apparent suicide pact with a father and his daughters. It doesn’t go quite as expected though and when a group of three guys get stranded nearby when their car’s tyres get punctures, one of the daughters seems eager to escape.

The setting does all feel very familiar. It’s that classic cult leader figure and a home miles from anywhere else with a person that wants to see the real world beyond their small world. Bruce Davison is a good choice for the lead role. The father character needed an experienced actor and although he has clearly based his acting on alike characters, it’s a style that works well. You can understand while people listen to him and follow him but there’s always this undercurrent of evil. You know he’s not a nice person and it’s not really hidden.

Religion plays a big part in We Still Say Grace, it covers the motives of the father but also creates one of the best images of the whole film as there’s a strange but very cool-looking re-enactment of Jesus’ death.

There’s plenty to enjoy about how the movie is made too. Scenes seem to be very bright and white or very dark and this is deliberate, it works nicely and each use of lighting is well thought out. In the background is that always dark, slow and generally downbeat score which although sounds great would be a kind of depressing watch without the movie.

Although the script doesn’t throw in too many surprises it does remain strong. It doesn’t fall into traps that a lot of low budget horror falls into. One scene is a good example of this. It’s a simple moment but one I liked. The father has the three stranded friends and explains as there’s no phone and no other home for miles, they’ll have to stay with him and his family for a while. He then starts to ask them to do things like help pluck an chicken and chop it’s head off. One character simply says no and explains his back off to the car. The car which the father should be helping to fix. It seems like nothing but felt like such a natural reaction to what was happening and not a written character that continues to make dumb decisions.

We Still Say Grace might not be top-tier bleak horror but it’s not too far behind and it’s an enjoyable watch. Directors Brad Helmink and John Rauschelbach have clearly learnt plenty in the last ten years since their previous movie was released because this is a big improvement and I’m looking forward to what they do next.

*** 3/5

We Still Say Grace is out now on digital in the UK from 101 Films.

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