Sunday, October 6, 2019

Movie Review: "Mercy" (2014)

Director: Peter Cornwell
Year: 2014
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 19 minutes

A woman and her two children become the caregivers for their mother/grandmother, who apparently had a stroke. As they spend more time with her, they discover her problems might not be medical, but supernatural in nature.

Chandler Riggs reads a forbidden book in a movie still for the 2014 horror thriller film Mercy
"It's hard being an outsider." (Image Source)
Just because someone made a pact with an unearthly demon to make their wildest dream come true doesn't make them an awful person...does it? "Mercy" is the second feature film from director by Peter Cornwell, who is best known as the director of the 2009 horror flick "The Haunting in Connecticut." The screenplay is written by Matt Greenberg, who has worked on films like "Halloween H20" and "1408." It is based on the short story "Gramma" by Stephen King. The story focuses on and is told by a young kid named George (Chandler Riggs), who is best friends with his grandma Mercy (Shirley Knight). The two always spent tons of time together until Mercy fell ill and suffered from what doctors believed to be a stroke. After her incident, Mercy gets placed in a nursing home, but due to some violent outbursts, she gets kicked out and released into the custody of her daughter Rebecca (Frances O'Connor), George, and George's older brother Buddy (Joel Courtney). The more time that passes, the more George realizes that his grandma's problem may be less physical and more supernatural in nature.
Mercy 2014 movie still where Rebecca (Frances O'Connor) watches and listens to her grandson George (Chandler Riggs) play the violin on a hill outside
"You think I'm a Class A butthole, don't you?(Image Source)
Whenever a Stephen King story gets adapted to the silver screen, there is potential for awesomeness because he is a terrific writer. After all, some of our favorite films of all time are based on King's novels. Each adaptation is different, and sometimes, his greatness gets lost in translation. When changes are made from his books, sometimes it's for the better, but usually, not so much. In the case of "Mercy," it's definitely the latter. The majority of this movie is pretty lackluster and unmemorable. Some characters serve little purpose in the overall narrative. For example, Jim Swann (Dylan McDermott) only exists in the story to be a connection between Rebecca and his wife Charlotte (Amanda Walsh), a minor exposition character who paints art modeled after creatures of the occult. Director Peter Cornwell and writer Matt Greenberg clearly tried to give Jim an integral part in this story, but by the time the film ended, he felt useless to us. Charlotte isn't the only exposition character here. There's also Pastor Luke (Eddie Jones), and even Rebecca's siblings are little more than plot devices when all is said and done. Don't get us wrong, there are some redeemable aspects, including its occasionally creepy atmosphere, moments of tension, and a few horrific-looking visuals, but these instances are fleeting at best.
Movie scene for the 2014 direct-to-video film "Stephen King's Mercy" where Mercy (Frances O'Connor) tries to stab someone with a knife
"If you can stand up to a beast, you can stand up to a bully." (Image Source)
Since "Mercy" is adapted from a short story, we didn't expect it to be a very long movie. It clocks in at only 79 minutes in length, but it still feels much more drawn out because the pacing drags and drags and drags. Combine this with a slew of dull characters and a host of jump-scares, and you've got a recipe for mediocrity. This film had a lot going for it, but unfortunately, it fell short of reaching its full potential, making it just another title in a series of underwhelming, unmemorable horror stories.

My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 4/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.0/10
RT Rating: ---%
Do we recommend this movie: No.

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