In Raging Grace, we meet Joy (Max Eigenmann), an undocumented Filipino immigrant struggling to do the best she can to support her daughter, Grace (Jaeden Boadilla). She is desperate to get ‘papers’ in order to live legally in the UK. Thanks to a friend, an opportunity presents itself and she secures the perfect job, taking care of an extremely wealthy but terminal old man.
The new job pays well and guarantees a roof over their heads, all Joy needs to do is care for Mr. Garrett (David Hayman) and tends to the house for the old man’s niece, Katherine (Leanne Best). Soon after they arrive at the house, Joy and Grace start to notice something is not right… not everything is as nice as it seems.
Using elements from gothic horror, writer/director Paris Zarcilla gives us a film with tension, haunted house atmosphere and for some, a few jump scares while also addressing some socio-political themes head on. Parts of the film are more successful than others, as some audiences may guess why Joy’s new job and new clients are not as great as they appear. Nonetheless, Raging Grace is a film that uses these elements to discuss a universal story from a nuanced, cultural point of view which is a good addition to the genre.
Joy’s character represents the many undocumented workers across the ‘developed world’ working to care for others’ homes and families while sacrificing the well-being of their loved ones and themselves. There are various scenes in the film where we, as audience members, feel tense and angry. This is due to the small ensemble cast that works well together in this huge yet confined space.
As the story unfolds with its various twists and turns, we realize there are much more ‘sinister’ entities surrounding Joy and Grace. Will they ever catch a break? Will the ‘evil’ that surrounds them eventually be destroyed? These are questions that get some answers within this sort-of genre film, but come loaded with double meaning. I am curious about how various audiences will take to the film.
I had the opportunity to speak with the film’s writer and director. Paris and I had a great, albeit short, discussion where he spoke candidly about his inspiration for the film, its casting and collaborative process.
Raging Grace is now available on demand.