December 12, 2014 Mercy (Movie Review)
Mercy is a Suspense Horror movie released across the US on October 7, 2014. Directed by Peter Cornwell (The Haunting in Connecticut 2009, Ward 2003) and starring The Walking Dead’s Chandler Riggs and American Horror Story’s Dylan McDermott, one might have high expectations for this movie. Not to mention that the original source material is “Gramma,” a Stephen King short story from his Skeleton Crew collection. The film also stars Golden Globe winner Shirley Knight (Indictment: The McMartin Trial 1996, As Good As It Gets 1997), Joel Courtney (Super 8 2011, R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour 2010) and Frances O’Conner (Blessed 2009, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence 2001), and was Produced by McG (Supernatural 2005-2013, Chuck 2007-2012) and Jason Blum (Insidious 2010, Paranormal Activity 2007). Matt Greenburg (Halloween: H20 1998, 1408 2007) wrote the screenplay for this tense if unfulfilling horror.
What happens when someone you have loved and makes you feel safe suddenly turns into a knife wielding, spell casting psycho? George (Riggs) is about to find out. When his best friend and grandmother, Mercy (Knight), has a stroke, George thinks she will come home from the hospital and everything will go back to normal, but he could not be more wrong. Mercy ends up catatonic and in R.L. Flag Home for the Aged; a Stephen King shoutout to his most notorious villain, Randall Flagg. There comes a point when the home cannot handle her anymore, so mom Rebecca (O’Conner) packs up her two sons, George and his brother Buddy (Courtney), and move them back to her childhood home, a place she thought she had escaped long ago.
Strange things happen that slowly convince George that his grandmother’s problem may not be physical or mental, but supernatural, involving someone or something named Hastur. As Mercy seems to get stronger and more demented, George does all that he can to save his grandmother from her own demons, even as she is standing over him with a butcher knife with eyes as black as pitch. Is there a way to save Mercy? Could a strange tome called The Weeping Book have the answers, or is it the source of the evil? If he can save Mercy, who will save George?
There are a few loopholes in the story that makes the watcher feel a bit unsettled once Mercy concludes. The viewer never actually finds out who or what Hastur is, or what it wanted George for in particular, or why some rules are explained as set in stone and then cast away like dust in the next scene. The acting was very well done, with Knight amazing in her role as Mercy, and Riggs proving he is able to break out of his tough guy Carl Grimes role. The action is high, especially toward the end, and the FX are decent if barely needed. The acting of Knight and Riggs carried this film and made it much creepier than it had any right to be. CrypticRock gives Mercy 3 our of 5 stars.