Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Film Review: Mercy (2014)

Mercy (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...not necessarily a bad film, but it is definitely a disappointing film."

When her mental health begins to deteriorate, a single mother takes her two sons to help take care of their grandmother.

Mercy mainly follows George (Chandler Riggs), who has a very close relationship with his grandmother, Mercy (Shirley Knight). George, his brother, and their mother move into Mercy's home to take care of her as she nears death. All is seemingly normal -- or, at least as normal as it can get in this situation -- until George starts digging into his grandmother's past and finds that she's not exactly what she seems. The story becomes hectic and cliché during the final act, but it was a much needed boost for the film. The ending was okay -- a little cliché and cheesy, though.

I really wanted to like this film. In fact, I liked quite a bit about the film, so let me cover that first. The music is great, I liked the introduction thanks to the music. The plot is interesting. I always appreciate films that become more than "just another supernatural" movie. There are quite a few creepy scenes, too. Honestly, there were some very chilling scenes here involving Mercy, and I was impressed. If you're a fan of jump-scares, the final act packs in plenty. The short runtime is also attractive, it doesn't feel like a complete waste of time.

Okay, so let's go over the bad. The buildup is mostly ineffective. The "close" relationship between George and Mercy only has one scene of development, which was very disappointing. Other than the character, the plot doesn't buildup well, either. It's slow-paced, but without the necessary burn. So, there wasn't much suspense or tension, either. Furthermore, it's a bit on the uneventful side, which is odd considering the very short runtime for the film. In fact, most of the story unravels during the latter half, which makes the first half feel like a chore. I didn't really like any of the characters, either.

The acting was also hit-or-miss. Shirley Knight hits with a creepy performance, but her screen time is limited. Chandler Riggs misses with his performance, he has very little range, which was disappointing. The supporting cast barely have any time to shine, but they're at least decent. The music, which I genuinely enjoyed during the intro, was great -- during the intro. The rest of the runtime, I didn't actually notice a strong music presence, which was also disappointing. This film is adapted from a Stephen King story I haven't read, but it seems like the filmmakers either cut too much out of the story or stretched the story too thin -- this is based on a short story, after all. Director Peter Cornwell is decent. I think he captures the atmosphere well and creates some genuinely creepy scenes here and there, but the story feels disjointed and uneventful, the buildup is ineffective, and the lead actor is a dud.

Overall, Mercy is a mediocre film. It's not necessarily a bad film, but it is definitely a disappointing film. I applaud the film for being more than another jump-scare ghost story, but it unfortunately offers less horror than some of those very same films. If you have the hour and 15 minutes to kill and you're a fan of either Stephen King or Blumhouse Productions, this is at least worth a stream.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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