A little over a year ago now Mercy Black was released on Netflix without any notification and little fanfare, and in doing so, remarkably, it sparked the intrigue of an audience eager to lap up new media from a company that was seriously threatening the “standard” format of film distribution (or so some would have you believe).
Equally shedding light on the movie was that it was produced by Blumhouse Productions, a company who by now have more than proved that they are capable of knocking out some hard-hitting and engaging horror.
Fast forward to present day though, and it isn’t even listed under the Netflix viewing. My surgical senses are tingling that we may be staring at a movie that didn’t hit its mark, but I’m a glutton for punishment and will always find myself delving into the genre for a taste of the unknown, even if I may regret those actions.
It didn’t take me long to find out that I should have taken heed of my reservations.
Mercy Black paves the story of Marina, who as a young girl stabbed a fellow classmate, supposedly as a sacrifice to awaken a ghost so that she could cure her mother’s illness. All of this is told through the use of a series of flashbacks as a device for the audience to piece together. Unfortunately, this just muddles the impact that this supposed apparition has and fails to haunt or scare.
What is perhaps more troubling is that we pick up the story some 15 years after the incident took place, learning that Marina has been in a psychiatric facility.
Now released back into the general population, she moves back into her old home with her sister, Alice and her nephew, Bryce. I mean.you gotta have some quirky kid in there right?
The rest of the movie follows Marina attempting to settle back into a lifestyle and community that are only too aware of the story behind Mercy Black and how the mythology has bled beyond the folklore and into the ‘known’ world.
Marina continuously questions where her illusions end and reality begins and we as an audience are supposed to be content in being taken along for the ride and the dots are all too familiar and obvious to resonate.
Definitely should have trusted my instincts.
Mercy Black is simply lazy writing and rests on tried and tested scares that are all too obvious.
It’s the same as there is a kernel of horror embedded deep in the true stories that inspired director Owen Egerton, but he gets lost in the formula rather than produce the unnerving and disturbing imagery from the child killer origins.
Sometimes real life can be just as horrific and mind-bending at the depths that humanity can go to. For me the true psychology comes from how messed up that would leave someone and I would have loved to have seen them go there in the storytelling.