Patrick Roddy’s “Mercy” is a cerebral horror film that delves into the inner sanctums of the twisted human mind and really does call out flashes of Lynch quite constantly. The world set before us is one of great claustrophobia and surreality that our character John Mercy experiences fresh out of jail. “Mercy” is a film that doesn’t seek to preach about the ex-con, but instead depicts the world as a nightmarish, cold, and rather stark environment to the newly freed Mercy that is only indulge by the gritty black and white photography that emphasize such feelings within the character.
As witnessed by the comic book supplement on the DVD, “Mercy” is in fact a purely nightmarish tale of a convict whose own karma inevitably gets the best of him. While he’s spent his entire life taking from people, he soon finds an unforgiving presence in his life begins taking from him in the way of body parts.
He awakes with a tooth mysteriously missing, and as more from his body disappears, he discovers the madness of the outside world is much more harrowing than the world behind prison walls, especially when he garners a monotonous job that garners the same routines and demands from him, along with a strict parole officer as he discovers he’s still imprisoned even after he’s left the barred windows behind.
Roddy definitely has a clear and unique visual style adding a quasi-noir atmosphere paired with excellent David Lynch plot aspects that hearken back to “Eraserhead.” Roddy is obviously in the school of Lynch with “Mercy” but that thankfully never serves as a caveat to the overall production. Roddy’s direction and cinematography are excellent and the film really holds up to repeated viewings, as the first time the audience enters Roddy’s world, it can be very overbearing.
“Mercy” is a horror story, but one that never needs a clearly defined monster to terrorize its character. The monster is the world outside the environment our character John Mercy has to be forced to adapt to, and this world he’s in is cold, dank and completely unforgiving even though it’s what he’s craved all of his time in jail, and it’s in freedom where he’s forced to confront the sins of his past and lose something of himself as his victims have.
And then there’s Mercy who is at once the victim and the villain who has finally found that his crimes have caught up with him; Gary Shannon’s performance is powerful, and he delivers a strong glimpse into the mind of this violent individual who isn’t so apologetic about his misdeeds and may have to be once he wakes up without an eye.
“Mercy” could be and should be a festival hit, and it’s a definite word of mouth gem.