mercy black | owen egerton | sophianna smith | jamy lentz | elke boucher-depew | mystery | thriller | united states | janeane garofalo | daniella pineda | elle lamont | creature | monster | curse | ritual | miles emmons | dylan gage | austin amelio | lee eddy
Film: Mercy Black
Director: Owen Egerton
Writer: Owen Egerton
Starring: Sophianna Smith, Jamy Lentz and Elke Boucher-Depew
This was a film that caught my eye while I was on Netflix looking to keep pace with watching at least one 2019 horror film each week. It was really new at the time that I saw it and knew pretty much nothing about it aside from that Blumhouse was behind it. The synopsis is 15 years after stabbing a classmate to conjure an imaginary phantom known as Mercy Black, Marina Hess (Daniella Pineda) is coming home. She will have to deal with the real world and if this entity is real or just a figment of her imagination.
We kick this off getting some flashes of back-story. Two children, Marina and Rebecca stabbed their friend Lily in order to conjure up a supernatural entity known as Mercy Black. The lore behind this we learn is that if give her a body and your sadness, she will take them from you. The two girls though are sent away to mental hospitals for their crime.
The film then jumps fifteen years in the future. Marina learns from Dr. Ward (Janeane Garofalo) that she is going home. She will be staying with her sister, Alice (Elle LaMont) and her son Bryce (Miles Emmons). Marina is nervous about leaving, but her doctor thinks it is for the best.
Once home, we learn that Alice doesn’t really have her life together. She tells her son quite a few lies in order to protect him. His father left her, but he thinks that he is a member of NASA and on a secret mission. Alice is dating Will Nylund (Austin Amelio), who seems nice, but rough around the edges.
Marina continues to think she is haunted by this entity and it doesn’t help that Will is into true crime and wants to know more from her. People from the area decide to mess with Marina as well. They are pranked with a doll that looks like the entity. This sparks Bryce’s interest in it as well and he starts to research into it with the help of his school librarian.
This brings the question, is Marina crazy or is Mercy Black real? There was nothing found in the woods, but she will continue to look for the truth. When Bryce starts to see it and something visits Will, what is really going on here?
Now I’m glad that I could come into this one as blind as possible, because I definitely enjoyed it. This film borrows heavily from the Slenderman lore and the crime that was committed by a couple of girls from it as well. What makes this film interesting for me is that we don’t know if what we are seeing is real or not. There are things that happen to Marina, but there is no one else there. Being that she just is released from the hospital, she is an unreliable narrator. The film does get quite interesting during the third act to reconcile this.
Something else I really liked about it is that we have two generations who are dealing with this entity. It is established that this lore was started by Rebecca along with her two other friends. They are all dealing with different things as children that they don’t fully comprehend so their way to cope is to think up this supernatural being that will take their sadness. Marina as an adult is plagued by it and she passes the idea off to her nephew, who is growing up in a broken home. His mother is also lying to him to shelter him, but it is doing more harm that good.
This brings me to the pacing of the film. It has a short running time coming in at 88 minutes, so it really does move through things at a good pace. I did like the mystery that the film builds and trying to piece together what is really happening here. There was a solid reveal that also happens in the film that I didn’t see coming. Some aspects of it don’t make sense, but it doesn’t ruin the film. I also liked how the film ended, as it does give us an explanation what is happening.
I thought the acting of the film was pretty solid as well. It was crazy to see Garofalo, who I know a dry comedian from when I was growing up. I thought she did a fine job as the doctor. Pineda does a solid job as someone who has been away from technology for 15 years and is behind on it. It came off as very believable as does her fear of this entity. I found myself feeling bad, because she doesn’t know what is real and can’t seem to prove what she is seeing. LaMont was solid as struggling single mother as well. Emmons I also thought did a solid job and he had an interesting role to play as the film progressed. I feel that children actors are normally hit or miss, so I’d have to say that his role as Bryce fell on the former. The girls in the past were also solid as were the rest of the cast as they rounded out the film for what was needed.
To the effects, I have to say that there weren’t a ton. We do get a little bit of blood that looked good. I thought the creature design was interesting and when we learn more about it, it makes sense. There was some CGI that came with the creature in the third act that wasn’t great, but we don’t get a lot there. It definitely doesn’t ruin the film. I also thought practical effects with it were solid.
Now with that said, this was a fun little film that I knew little about. It has an interesting story that is drawing parallels to a real event that happened as well an entity that has basis on the internet. I thought the idea of is this real and what is really happening was good. It helped to build the mystery and tension for me. The pacing was good and I never found myself bored. Acting for the film was solid for what was needed and the effects were the same way. The score of the film really didn’t stand out, but it also doesn’t hurt it. I did find this to be above average and I’d recommend giving it a viewing.
My Rating: 7 out of 10