Review: Mercy (2016)

Mercy (dir. Chris Sparling, 2016) – Four estranged brothers return home to visit their dying mother, but are thrust into a fight for survival of their own.

Verdict

Bungled execution takes the spark out of an ambitious film, where potential sadly peters out.

2/5

Review

Netflix original Mercy is a risk-taker. Lavish with twist and turns, the film leaves conventions at the door and provides little clue as to where the plot is heading. Such unpredictability can often make a mystery gripping. Frustratingly, unwieldy execution leaves us with nothing but a thoroughly perplexing enigma.

Things start off slow in the familial affair, where four brothers convene in their old home. Their mother Grace is dying. A visitor shows up with a mysterious bag, urging the family to end her suffering. Speculations lead to an ensuing moral dilemma of euthanasia. But that theory comes to naught as masked men intrude and threaten a restless night ahead.

Mercy
Spare the grass.

A genre switch-up lifts the film out of malaise, though never relieving it of tedium for long. Minimal suspense plays to a mundane waiting game, where the characters wait around to be snuffed out. Lush visuals never measure up to the storytelling, where there is no real protagonist to root for.

None of the interchangeable brothers (and one token girlfriend) invite any sympathy for their predicament. After all, the morally corrupt family has spent half the time preoccupied with a potential inheritance, more so than their mother’s ordeal. What follows is more filler than thriller. Impatience emanates for the reveal of impetus behind the violent intrusion.

Mercy
Winter fashion is getting ridiculous.

A slight glimpse of hope arises when the story is retold at mid-mark. Events play out anew from a different perspective, gradually filling in gaps and unveiling the identities of the inept criminals. Might things get interesting from here?

Sadly, no. The inventive approach is not only repetitive, but turns out entirely unsatisfying in its answers. Those holding out for compelling antagonists will be sorely disappointed. Out pours their bizarre motivations behind an over-elaborate ploy, which fails to hold up to scrutiny.

Coming at the tail end of a disappointing streak in Chris Sparling’s recent screenwriting efforts (ATMThe Atticus Institute), Mercy is yet another forgettable entry in the crowded home invasion genre, which has seen better days in recent additions like Don’t BreatheThe Strangers, and Hush

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11 thoughts on “Review: Mercy (2016)

  1. I agree with you, I’ve seen many movies with a similar premise with the masked intruders and it can get a little tedious. I did enjoy The Strangers since it was the time when such a storyline had been newly created in a modern day thriller and I liked how it panned out but then came all the re inventions.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is disappointing. I had added this to my list thinking it might be worth a watch (may well have watched it last night had I not discovered the existence of Stake Land 2!). I’ll keep it on the list, but keep it aside for one of those 90 minute movie nights!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad to see that I can also skip a movie (seeing as my to watch list erm encyclopedia lol, is already way to big 😂). I honestly always like home invasion movies the Strangers abd Hush were briljant, but after reading this I will pass on this one. Looked promising enough though, so too bad it was not worth the watch 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I can totally relate to your XL to-watch encyclopedia. Glad to be of help. 😊 And yes! Hush and The Strangers both did a brilliant job with a minimalist plot. I love that Mercy tried to do something different. Just a pity it didn’t work out for me!

      Liked by 1 person

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