[Review] Mercy Black (2019)
Mercy Black – Fifteen years after stabbing a classmate to conjure an evil and imaginary phantom known as Mercy Black, a woman is released from psychiatric care to return to her hometown and is sent to live with her sister and young nephew. Now, she’ll need to confront her past and face her fears in order to save her nephew, who has become obsessed with the phenomenon, before Mercy Black claims him.
People who are fascinated by urban legends might enjoy this film more than some folks. That being said, I feel that Mercy Black is the perfect story for a 12-year-old sleepover night with your daughter and her school friends, or a Halloween special treat for the family. Seriously, what’s creepier than the woods when we were young and alone? What’s scarier than hearing your child talking to something, or someone that’s not even there? From the trailer, I thought it looked like it might have some production value so my daughter and I watched it. We really ended up enjoying this movie to be quite honest.
Mercy Black starts out showing some flashbacks of the back-story where two young girls in the woods, Marina and Rebecca, both somewhere between 10 and 12 years of age, lured another friend by the name of Lily out into the woods with the intent to stab Lily and cut off one of her fingers, leaving her for dead and intending all of this as a sacrifice to create what they called Mercy Black, an entity that would protect and watch over them but who also demanded a hefty sacrifice in return. The youngest girl, Marina, who is motivated by a sense of deep sadness and the desperate desire to try to save her ailing mother, falls under the influence of a somewhat older and bigger girl, Rebecca.
Rebecca promises to be able to save Marina’s mother by performing a murderous sacrificial ritual on the third young girl as long as Marina promises to fully participate and do her part. Supposedly, by completing the ritual, a creature called Mercy Black will be given life and will relieve Marina of her pain and sadness and save her mother. The lore behind this we learn is that if you give her a body and your sadness, she will take them from you. The two girls though are sent away to mental hospitals for their crime.
Next, Mercy Black fast forwards fifteen years in the future where a troubled Marina Hess, who has been in a mental institution all this time, learns from Dr. Ward that she is, at last, being released to go home so that she can attempt to reconnect with her sister, Alice and her nephew Bryce. Marina is nervous about leaving, but her doctor assures her that she thinks it is for the best. Once home, we discover that her sister doesn’t really have her life as together as one would hope, and she tells her son quite a few lies in order to protect him, as she claims.
Bryce’s father left his mother, but he thinks (another lie he’s been told) that he is a member of NASA and is on some big secret mission. Meanwhile, Alice is dating some other guy named Will Nylund, who seems okay, but is more like some kind of tough guy who tries to push Marina into selling her story to make money. The story begins to reveal flashbacks throughout the film, depicting the events which unfolded and brought the fates of Marina and Mercy Black at the forefront.
At some point, Marina believes that she is still haunted by this Mercy Black entity and it doesn’t help that Will is into true crime and wants to know more from her, but is actually pushing her closer and closer to the edge. People from around their town also begin messing with and harassing Marina as well. They are pranked with a doll that looks exactly like this Mercy Black entity. This is also the reason that sparks an interest in Bryce and he starts to do research while at school, and with the help of his school’s librarian.
At this point, we truly begin to wonder if Marina is still crazy or not, and is this Mercy Black real? Nothing was ever found in the woods, but she continues to look for more answers that will hopefully bring her the truth. There’s also another matter to deal with, as her young nephew, Bryce, begins seeing Mercy Black for himself, and something dark also visits Will. The film flows pretty well from there and does get quite a bit more interesting during the third act of the movie. The final reveal was a complete twist that I truly did not see coming. It was sort of shocking, to say the least.
All in all, however, it was an interesting story that I felt drew parallels to the real event that happened as well as an entity called Slenderman that has a basis on the internet. This film really does borrow heavily from the Slenderman lore and the crime that was committed by a couple of girls from it as well. There was also some CGI that came with the Mercy Black creature in the third act that wasn’t too great, but it definitely doesn’t ruin the film, or at least it didn’t for me. I also think that this film might have benefitted from being a bit longer to hash out a few more plotlines because there were some holes and flaws, but of course, they really didn’t have much of a negative effect either way.
The entire cast of characters was perfectly played and totally convincing throughout the story, they truly all gave great performances and were all believable and likable. The creature on the other hand severely lacked any real impact on me, it certainly wasn’t as visceral as other movies of this nature. Mercy Balck, while not amazing, does have plenty of twists and turns that are assured to keep one interested throughout the whole movie, and for this, I have to recommend it for at least a one-time-watch.
Title: Mercy Black
Release Date: March 30, 2019
Runtime: 1 hour, 28 minutes
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Studio: Blumhouse Productions
Starring: Daniella Pineda, Austin Amelio, Elle LaMont
MPAA Rated: TV-14
Director(s): Owen Egerton
Reviewed by: Kathryn Price
Our Rating: 3.4 /5
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