Netflix Now: Mercy Black (2019) - Reviewed

Based on tales like Slender Man, Bloody Mary and other modern folk horror bits, Mercy Black is now streaming on Netflix. 

The film mixes numerous tropes into a creepy tale about a woman who returns home years after being involved in a cult based attack on one of her friends. Things turn ugly as the supernatural evil of Mercy Black is once again unleashed on a small town. When all hell breaks loose, the bodies start to stack up as the terrifying title character is once again on the prowl, adding to the main player's PTSD and causing all types of havoc and death. While it's not going to go down as a classic, Mercy Black definitely has its moments, even if they're few and far between. 

Surprisingly premiering as a streaming release instead of in theaters, horror fans will find much to like about this latest film, but will ultimately be let down by some haphazard writing and a rather convoluted delivery system that rests on story that seems far too simplistic and expected.  Where it does seem to find some type of balance is in its cast. Actress Daniella Pineda carries most of the movie with little work while young actor Miles Emmons offers up some convincing moments as the young boy, Bryce. Strangely enough, Janeane Garofalo makes an appearance here as Dr. Ward, the psychiatric doctor to Pineda's character, Marina Hess. 

Centered around a past attack and a mystery that's never been fully solved, Mercy Black is another Blumhouse feature that takes many positive steps forward with some creepy exposition, but then steps it back and doesn't quite stick the ending. Other than some jump scares and a few moments of shock and terror, Mercy Black doesn't do enough in its short run time to expand or create a great mythology. Where most films like this typically succeed is by giving the audience a sense of dread that's firmly based in a creative new lore, this movie doesn't give us much other than a few tidbits that establish but don't do enough to convince us of the terror that awaits. 

By now, director Owen Egerton is starting to carve out his own little niche in the horror market. However, he's only delivered a couple mediocre films at this point. You can tell that he might be working towards something great in the future, but his first two full length films, Mercy Black and Blood Fest, have both been rather derivative, just skirting the fine line between seeming like a tribute and originality. Mercy Black definitely has its moments, but it falls far too heavily on the repetition that seems to drag so many horror entries down. 

Go into this one with the blinders off. You might find something to enjoy. But you will undoubtedly notice the many retreads also. It's a fair release that just doesn't do anything fresh for the genre.