Movie review: Mercy
I was cycling through Netflix last night and saw this new exclusive film titled Mercy. It looked interesting, clearly some kind of masked killer movie, which is usually right in my wheelhouse. Today I had some free time to myself and decided to put it on so I could write this review. Not long into it, I found myself distracted and I started to worry that I would be too confused to write an in-depth review, perhaps missing key moments because I couldn’t help but look away. Luckily (or perhaps unluckily), the movie repeats itself so I was able to get those key moments the second – or even third – time around. I’ll talk more about that in a minute.
I’m still a little concerned about coming up with enough words to make this a full and complete review, but now it’s not because of a lack of attention on my part, but rather a lack of content in the movie itself. Let’s start from the beginning. Four brothers – Brad, Travis, George, and Ronnie – come home to tend to their dying mother, Grace. You quickly come to find out that ol’ mommy dearest is worth a sizable sum. Two of the boys’ father (the other two are half-brothers) tells them that they are the only ones who will get any kind of inheritance and only after he dies. He gets the money now, they get what’s left when he’s gone. The two who are not his spawn? They get jack. So we already have a lot of in-fighting. Then a large group of ski-masked intruders break into the house and start causing trouble. Why? Well it doesn’t take long to realize that it has something to do with the doctor who visited the house earlier in the day, offering to help put Grace out of her misery and leaving a black bag behind so the family can do it themselves.
The first act of this movie is straight up exposition, giving you all the backstory of these characters and the events at hand in a purely dialogue form. The second act is where those repeats come in. The characters all split up. Each scene from then out is repeated from each character’s point of view. It’s an interesting cinematic device, except that we have to see the scenes we’ve already seen if only for time sync purposes in our minds. Despite that, it’s not clearly explained and I was confused how it went from night to day without things being wrapped up until I realized it had moved back to the same evening. It’s curious that a movie that is nothing but exposition for the first half hour isn’t sequential in the second. Then the third is again. What?
The third act features the masked men revealing their identities and motives, not that any of it matters. The end features a slight twist that, I’ll admit, made one of my eyebrows perk up. However, it’s a very short-lived peak in curiosity that doesn’t really affect the outcome, the motive, or the way I felt about any of it. Over all, this movie is pretty flat. It felt like there was a strong influence from movies like You’re Next, except it didn’t feel nearly as clever or as well executed. It also lacks any good or original gore effects.
If you’re into slow, creepy thrillers with little gore and don’t mind a dramatic directorial change in the middle of the movie, that then changes back for the finale, Mercy might be worth your time if you already have a Netflix account. Otherwise, I’d probably look for something else.