There is something about Christopher Smith that makes him a true creator of gloom and muddle. However, unfortunately, most of his scripts are too ponderous with mind-boggling twists and mysteries. This is why even his much-talked-about film “Triangle” in 2009 failed to be a masterpiece, although it had huge potential. Similarly, “Creep,” “Black Death,” or “Severance” failed to charm the audience as promised. The inconsistencies in the narrative and complex twists continued with his latest film, “Consecration.” The recent film is Smith’s failed attempt to bring a fresh perspective into the age-old tiring religious horror scenario. However, he, too, fell into the trap of horror film misogyny. The film is about Grace (Jena Malone), an ophthalmologist who had to travel all the way to Scotland from West Virginia after the death of her brother, Michael (Steffan Cennydd). Michael was a true Christian and a holy man who was a priest in a very old church. Michael allegedly murdered a father who had come to visit the church and then committed suicide. The investigating officer, DCI Harris (Theoren Ferguson), tirelessly worked on the case only to find how futile any logical explanations were. Grace, on the other hand, had visions, and she started to feel like she was losing her mind. However, in the end, Grace placed all the fragments together and understood who she truly was. The constant swing between timelines could have been interesting; however, it ended up making the film unnecessarily longer than it should have been.
If we break the film down, we will see that there are two very different approaches that William Smith used to make Grace the central character. On the one hand, Grace seemed to possess every characteristics of a witch, and on the other, it seems she is capable of time travel. This juxtaposition of science and religion sounds interesting, but the film failed in the execution of the idea. All the other characters in the film were just there to strengthen the protagonist, Grace. Without further delay, here is everything you need to know about Grace.
Who Is Grace?
The film presents us with fragments of Grace’s unusual life. Initially, Grace was introduced as an atheist who works as an ophthalmologist. She seemed to be a very kindhearted person and a popular doctor among patients for her nature. She lived alone in her apartment, but it seemed she was constantly startled by something (or someone). We saw her devastated at the news of her brother’s death. As she walked into the church, it was clear that she wasn’t just an atheist but an ardent hater of the church. Grace’s story becomes interesting as soon as she begins reading her deceased brother’s journal. The journal was written in a code language that apparently was known to Michael and Grace only. There we learned that, at one point, Michael and Grace’s father was out on a ship during a violent storm. Someone came to their house to inform them that the chances of the people on the ship surviving were very slim. Grace starts praying for the safe return of her father, and as she begins to pray, a looming figure lurks behind her. Soon after, we see their father has caged Grace, Michael, and their mother. Grace devised an escape plan, and as soon as their mother was free, she ran out. The infuriated father runs after her and ends up killing her. But soon after, their father was convicted and put behind bars. Grace and Michael were next seen being adopted by Father Jacobs (Michael Brophy) and Sister Dianne (Charlotte Palmer). But for some unknown reason, Father Jacobs deserted Michael in the middle of nowhere and tried to use chloroform on Grace to make her unconscious. Sister Dianne was assisting the father in his horrendous act. In some divine (or satanic, if you prefer) intervention, their car met with a fatal accident, and Grace was saved. The teenage lives of the siblings are unknown.
Depiction Of Grace As A Witch
God’s fallen angel, Lucifer, commonly known as the Devil, is the advocate for all mortal sins. Unfortunately, “lust,” among all others, is mostly highlighted in literature and films alike. You don’t need to pick your brain to know who creates the illusion of lust—of course, women—because it’s too difficult to eradicate deep-rooted misogyny. Similar to most horror films, in “Consecration,” too, the source of negative energy is a woman, Grace. If we deeply analyze Grace’s character, we will find references to the medieval witch. During the medieval era, it was believed that certain women would summon the Devil and negative powers to gain immortality. In the process, these women would acquire powers that no human should have. There have been several instances where the then-patriarchal society burned women alive if they were suspected of being witches. In the film, we see Grace as a very young woman. Michael, on the other hand, seemed to have aged beyond his years in comparison to Grace. Also, when Grace meets her father in prison, he too hints at the fact that Grace is a witch. Her father believes that he was resurrected by Grace and that it is impossible to kill or harm Grace. Also, when Grace was plagued with her visions and wanted to get rid of her sins, The father wanted to lock her inside the tomb. The father and Mother Superior were sure that she was some relic that was dangerous if allowed to roam freely. All of these not only point out Grace as a witch but also elaborate on how religious horror films still functions on profound misogyny.
Grace’s Ability To Time Travel
Smith made it clear that there were two Graces. One was trying to find answers for all the surreal things that happened around her, and the other was the “guardian angel,” or “devil in disguise,” saving the former from any peril at all. So, towards the end of the film, when we witness Grace actually see visions of herself smeared in blood, saving her father, saving her brother and herself from their deranged father, saving herself from being chloroformed, and finally saving herself from the church, which believed she was a “relic.” Before seeing herself in the visions, there is a mirror scene that is similar to “Contact” ‘s iconic shot. Although the vision sequences are quite perplexing, From a religious point of view, you can rule out the time travel theory. The visions might have been some sort of supernatural intervention that helped Grace find the truth. But, again, it seems impossible for Grace to survive a fall if she cannot travel through different realities.
Grace—An Angel Or Devil?
So far into the film, the lines between religion and science seem to have faded in the most unimpressive way. Towards the end, we see Grace jumping off the cliff like her brother Michael apparently did (it was in her visions). DCI Harris tries to stop her from taking her life, but he fails. He confronts Mother Superior and accuses her of provoking Grace to take her own life. Mother Superior says she is not dead, which, weirdly, is a true prediction. Grace’s body was never found, and she was seen walking the streets of London. Mother Superior, who was hell-bent (read haven-bent) upon putting an end to Grace, follows her and points a gun. Soon, a car hits her, ending her life before she can finish Grace.
Well, the narrator, i.e., Grace quotes her brother Michael that Grace has an angle protecting her – the film feels incomplete and dull. It is unclear what the film wanted to portray. It is anti-Christianism or anti-theism; we shall never know. However, we do see an atheist, Grace turning into a believer in a higher power (good or evil, we cannot confirm). In a nutshell, the movie was an utter disappointment in every way. With mystic elements in play in a scenic Scotland church with hints of time travel and an attempt at recreating medieval horror, the movie turned out to be immensely confusing and unsatisfactory. The element of horror was too weak to classify it as a horror film. Nonetheless, the movie doesn’t disappoint in its universal depiction of a horror film by upholding women as negative characters. Throughout the film, Grace is threatened by the nuns and father in the church; she was treated as a relic, and in her own visions, she is all-powerful, yet she is no saint.