Mercy (2014) Movie Retro Review by Darrin Gauthier

Director: Peter Cornwell
Writers: Stephen King (short story “Gramma”), Matt Greenberg (screenplay)
Stars: Frances O’Connor, Shirley Knight, Chandler Riggs

Plot:  A single mom and her two boys help take care of their grandmother with mystical powers.

Running Time: 80 minutes

Why I watched it: It’s a horror film and it’s from a Stephen King short story, that’s enough for me.

IMDB Score: 5.0

Thoughts: I’ll be honest I had never heard of this film, I saw the poster on Netflix Canada and it looked like a cheap horror movie but when I clicked on it and saw the cast and the plot I decided to give it a try.  The director Peter Cornwell also directed “The Haunting In Connecticut” not a great movie but a decent horror film.

What I liked: The cast is the best thing about this movie, to warn you Mark Duplass and Dylan McDermott aren’t in it much but they’re good.  The standout is Shirley Knight has the grandmother, don’t be fooled by the plot outline it’s not so much mystical powers as strange and maybe evil powers.  Knight is good at the beginning as a sweet grandmother but when we jump a head in time she’s become sick and really mean, she doesn’t speak but trust me she communicates. This comes from a Stephen King short story called “Gramma” and there’s a lot of King cliches here, yes we have kids as the leads, we have older people who may or may not be evil or magical if you will and it’s a small town.

I would call this plot muddled but since we’re in the “What I liked” part I will call it interesting, the most enjoyable thing about the plot is we don’t know what’s going on and we don’t know what this family is up against so that builds the tension, the film doesn’t tell us right away what the evil is so we have to learn the backstory about this grandmother.  I also liked that even though the family hasn’t stayed together they still act and care about their family.  It makes the stakes higher, Grandma isn’t someone they just want to kill and destroy they want to help her.

What I didn’t Like: This film looks really cheap, and by cheap I mean bad.  It’s dark all the time and at points in the film it’s hard to see actually, I like atmosphere but I also like to see the film I’m watching. On the tech side this film isn’t very good, they got good actors but I think that’s where the budget went.

In the acting department Frances O’Connor is the weak link here, she doesn’t flesh out her character very well and she seems slight and not in the same film, she’s not acting with any purpose or energy.  Shirley Knight is literally chewing the scenery and O’Connor doesn’t seem to know what type of film shes in.

The whole mystery and what’s going on isn’t bad but it’s not explained that well, I was frankly confused at points at a couple of things, what is this force and what’s the end game.  I do believe they through too much in and like I said earlier it’s muddled.  There is tension but near the end it got a little silly lost focus.

Final Thoughts: A watchable film, if you’re a horror fan and it’s the horror season (October) it’s an alright time waster.  The acting is good and it’s got some tension going so it’s not a total loss.

Rating: 5/10

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