[Review] Welcome to Mercy (2018)
Welcome to Mercy – A young woman struggles against the unholy forces that possess her in this terrifying occult thriller. After being stricken with stigmata, single mother Madaline (Kristen Ruhlin) is sent to a remote convent where nothing is what it seems and her friend August (Lily Newmark) is seemingly the only person she can trust. Together, they must confront the demons inside Madaline before she becomes the Antichrist.
Madaline is a single mother who returns to her native land of Latvia, along with her young daughter in tow, to visit her extremely ill father who she has long been estranged from. A harsh argument with her mother takes place immediately upon her arriving when she demands that Madaline must not stay in their house. She suggests that there is a hotel not far down the road that they can walk to. Madaline is shocked by her mother’s words and yells back to her that it is too cold for her young daughter to walk. The mother in return replies that “Children are stronger than you think.” It was pretty creepy the way she said that.
Madaline does not have a good relationship with her parents, especially her mother, blaming them both for abandoning her as a child. Her mother, Alyona, screams at her “I did not abandon you, I wanted you to have a better life!” This statement is something that one must remember while watching the entirety of the film because it is the heart of this film. We eventually see that the mother ends up allowing Madaline and her daughter to stay, but later in the evening Madaline goes trance-like and begins showing signs of stigmata, the same wounds Christ received on the cross. During this episode, she violently attacks her little girl, throwing her across the room and hurting her.
Desperately trying to save her daughter, and herself, she is sent off to a convent to learn the simple ways of the nuns in hopes that they can identify Madaline’s strange signs, along with her angry outbursts and to learn how to control the divine power she has. Not only does it seem that Madaline’s mother and her dying father don’t want her around, but even the nuns Mother Superior at Mercy Convent don’t take too kindly to her either.
Madaline eventually befriends a fellow postulate named August (Lily Newmark), who is creepy as hell. But at least August does seem to have some sort of clue as to what has caused Madaline’s bizarre stigmatic experience. Madaline starts to become terrified and she begins to hear ominous whispers, along with having flashbacks and dreams related to her childhood, and of a well that sits inside a shed somewhere on her family’s property.
Madaline wants to run, to leave this dark and dreary place, but she decides to stay longer at the convent because she fears to pass on her problem to her daughter. She discovers, over the course of the story, that she has important connections with her own mom that she never knew about. We see these two women one way at the beginning and a completely different way at the end. We redefine our view of them, just as they redefine their views of each other. But of course, the devil is always lurking just within the shadows.
Here, he could even be hiding in plain sight, however, as she discovers that visiting her mother or even contacting her daughter has become much more difficult than she anticipated, and what’s more, she begins to suspect that the nuns’ devotions are not wholly of the Christian kind. Many of them even play cruel tricks on her. Her new friend August hints that there’s a secret hidden somewhere in the library that may help put this puzzle together and for everything to finally make sense. And then the film takes a turn that is wholly unexpected and greatly surprising.
The best parts of the film definitely deal with twisting the viewer’s expectations. Is the film about possession? Is it a cult of supernatural nuns? Is it a psychological nightmare dealing with trauma and delusions? The film leads in so many directions it’s easy to get wrapped up in your own hypothesis of what will happen next. It did have some very scary moments but nothing bloody or too violent. The film is also artistically and visually stunning, I truly enjoyed watching this one and I loved all the dark visual effects. The overall story was captivating, psychologically thrilling, scary, and surprising.
The acting is superb with every character being very believable and they can really pull you into their world. The interesting story-line of this film had you constantly unsure of which direction it was going next. Welcome to Mercy is a very well directed movie, and it’s clear that a lot of thought was put into the suspense and atmosphere, and the way it left you with a feeling of unease and dread was unreal. The sound and cinematography were amazingly used to help keep you on the edge of your seat. The movie has many layers of intrigue and provides a number of twists that you won’t see coming. I highly recommend you see this one!
Title: Welcome to Mercy
Release Date: November 2, 2018
Runtime: 1 hour, 43 minutes
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Drama
Studio: IFC Midnight
Starring: Lily Newmark, Eileen Davies, Marta Timofeeva
MPAA Rated: Not Rated
Director(s): Tommy Bertelsen
Reviewed by: Sarah Hopkins
Our Rating: 4.0 /5
What did you think about this Movie? Tell us below.
Or discuss it with us in our Horror Group!
*This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, if you click through and make a purchase or sign up for a program, Grim Magazine may earn a very small commission. This is at no additional cost to you. The small fee goes toward keeping our website free of advertisements and other product banners. It also helps in funding our contests and giveaways, and pay compensation to our content contributors for their reviews, articles, and stories. Please don’t hesitate to use our affiliate links!