Tag Archives: Paris Zarcilla

The Horror of Microagressions

Raging Grace

by Christie Robb

When Filipina illegal immigrant Joy (Max Eigenmann) has to come up with an extra five thousand pounds to fund her quest to obtain a work visa, she’s thrilled to get a job offer that pays one thousand a week under the table. It’s a live-in housekeeping gig at a swanky British estate that hasn’t been given a once-over in quite a long time.

There are few downsides. First, she’ll have to hide her young daughter Grace (Jaeden Paige Boadilla) from her employers. Second, she’ll have to look after the dying old white guy upstairs. And that involves following orders barked at her by the dying guy’s total Karen of a niece. Only, maybe the niece’s intentions aren’t entirely well-meaning. And then there’s the racism…and the classism…and the sexism. But, while Joy may be stressed, she’s also stoic and resilient.

This updated Gothic thriller helmed by debut director Paris Zarcilla and co-written with Pancake Zarcilla effectively suspends the viewer in a state of wary suspicion. Dim lighting, spooky old sheet-draped antiques, a discordant musical score, and a kid with a penchant for pranks and squeezing into tight spaces provides ample opportunity for jump scares.

But it’s not the long shadowy corridors, or the judgmental eyes of the family portraits on the walls, or the suspicious locked doors that spook Joy. It’s the worry that her kid is going to get her in trouble with the boss and she’ll end up getting deported.

Toward the end, the social-critique/Gothic horror gets a little bit too complicated and hard to follow for a few minutes with character choices that seem alternatively forced or not dialed up enough, but ultimately it was an effective take on the traditional atmospheric horror.

Could have used more rage, though.