Mercy Black



 

Can I talk about Internet culture for a second? Sometimes, the Internet can be a great and wondrous place. Not just because any piece of information is instantly available at your fingertips, although it's mostly because of that. The Internet can also be a great source for original comedy, like memes or Creepypastas which then get turned into memes (just look up "who was phone?" if you don't believe me.) Sometimes though, those same Creepypastas go too far, and result in tragedy, like the Slender Man. Slender Man started off as a spooky story on the Internet that ended up convincing some preteens in Wisconsin to stab their friend a whole bunch of times. Since the Slender Man character is officially licensed and has already starred in two horrible films, Netflix needed to come up with a new character to tell the exact same story. Enter, Mercy Black and, don't worry about spoilers for this one, you can predict the entire movie from the first five minutes.


Mercy Black is the 2019 brainchild of writer/director Owen Egerton who, prior to this had only directed one feature length movie in Blood Fest. Approval scores were low at 40% from critics and 27% from audiences, which caught me off guard. Usually with horror movies the critic score is lower than the audience score unless it's something like The Witch that is more artistically driven. Starring who-cares-it's-a-Neftlix-original, Mercy Black is about two girls who lure a friend of theirs into the woods and stab her a bunch of times to try and earn the protection of the titular spirit. Sounds...a lot like Slender Man, don't it? The movie then skips 15 years into the future where one of the girls is getting released from the mental institution that she was in to go back home and try to restart her life. Spooky things happen, blah blah blah, you know where this is going. Let's break it down.


The first thing to note about Mercy Black is the acting. It's horrible. There was not a single good performance to be found in this movie, and that goes double for the kid. I had seen a lot of movies recently with child actors that weren't horrible that I was beginning to think that I should reassess my opinion of them but Mercy Black brought be back down to earth with the perfect example of why children largely should not be in movies, at least in speaking rolls. This kid is so deadpan and boring in his delivery it made this hour and a half long movie feel like three hours. This kid is on almost the same level of bad as The Phantom Menace, and that's not an exaggeration.


The Story is equally as pathetic. I gave you the broad overview up above, but there are some "twists" that the movie tries to throw at you that are either A) stupid and obvious, B) don't make any sense, or C) both. For example, The friend that gets stabbed a bunch at the begin of the movie and is presumed dead turns up out of the blue as the town librarian and the movie tries to spring it on you like we didn't totally see it coming. She's out to try and get herself killed because she believes in this whole Mercy Black story, even though it was all made up by a couple of prepubescent girls OR WAS IT because the last twenty or so minutes of the movie go back and forth a lot on the whole "is Mercy Black real or not" thing. By the final shot of the movie it looks like yet, she is real, but how? We don't know, and the movie certainly isn't going to try and explain itself now that it's over so why bother asking questions? The worse part is that the premise is a workable one! This could have been a very similar case to what happened with The Devil's Candy where it tells a pretty interesting story about mental illness (even though The Devil's Candy still kind of dropped the ball at the end in my opinion) but noooooo, Blumhouse had to go and make another by-the-numbers horror movie that is so bland and predictable that I was literally groaning by the end of it.


At the end of the day, I don't really have much to say about this movie. It was a wasted opportunity. A good premise sullied by horrible acting and a poor screenplay. If you want my opinion (and hopefully you do which is why you're reading this) steer clear of Mercy Black. But if you have seen it, I want to know your thoughts. Leave me a comment down below and as always, tell your friends!

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Horror movies have always served as a vehicle for social and political commentary. From the critiques of capitalism in They Live to the effects of an abusive relationship in The Invisible Man, horror