2023 100 mins
Subtitles : English
“Genuinely unnerving... Zarcilla is an exciting new voice with something vital to say”
– Nikko Baughan, SCREEN DAILY
“A domestic thriller that explodes into a feverish nightmare of vengeance and catharsis... Genuinely scary” – Jules Cabot, AIPT
Joy (Max Eigenmann) is an undocumented Filipina immigrant living in London. She has a feisty daughter named Grace (Jaeden Paige Boadilla), whom she is determined to provide for, and the only work she can find within her situation is housecleaning. She’s saving to buy a visa to stay in England, but the road to the endgame is a long one since she must endure wealthy, white employers who are typically offensive with the usual affronts — insulting Joy’s intelligence, indulging blatant racism and casually exploiting her.
When a plum opportunity arises, she takes a chance and moves into a large estate owned by Mr. Garrett (David Hayman), an aging, wealthy man dying of cancer. He is cared for by his cold, condescending niece Katherine (Leanne Best), who leaves Joy to do her work while she travels for business. The only catch is that Joy must hide Grace from the strange duo but does so in the expansive home quite easily. What becomes difficult is keeping Grace under wraps since she’s a curious and rambunctious little girl who likes to play tricks on her mother. There’s also the fact that Mr. Garrett must stay in a heavily medicated, near-comatose state, and Joy soon discovers an incredible family secret that connects to her in an uncanny and horrific way.
Seen through the lens of a horror/suspense film with well-placed, heart-stopping thrills, Paris Zarcilla’s debut feature is a haunting commentary on the impact of inequalities people of colour endure. Joy is a figurehead for undocumented immigrants and the colonial patriarchal systems they must battle to prove their worth. With great performances from Eigenmann and Boadilla, their characters create empathy and challenge the status quo of these real-life horrors. It’s the crux of the 2023 SXSW Grand Jury Award-winning RAGING GRACE
, exposing inequalities and injustices in ingenious and unique ways. – Carolyn Mauricette