Mercy Falls Movie Review

Written by Samantha Andujar

Released by Bingo Pictures

mercy falls poster large

Directed by Ryan Hendrick
Written by Meli√° Grasska and Ryan Hendrick
2023, 103 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
Released on 6th November 2023

Lauren Lyle as Rhona
Nicolette McKeown as Carla
James Watterson as Scott
Layla Kirk as Heather


When one considers drama and romance filmmaker Ryan Hendrick's previous Christmas favourite Lost at Christmas and short films Sundown and Perfect Strangers, one might wonder how he would fare when venturing into the uncharted territory of the horror-thriller. In his latest picture, Mercy Falls, a group of friends go out to find a lost cabin in the woods, where tragedy strikes and one terrible decision leads to suspicion, treachery, and murder.

mercy falls 01 mercy falls 02

While this premise seems intriguing and on paper and has all the makings of a hit, Hendrick backs the picture with a great idea and a terrific cast, but the tone and execution spoil what would otherwise be a well-thought-out film. When a filmmaker has quite a few things working for them that don't require much embellishment in terms of setting the tone for a psychological thriller, there is something to be said that the magic is already there; breathtaking scenery and the all-too-familiar sub-genre in which a bunch of buddies walk off to the woods and everything goes wrong. With all of this in mind, Hendrick must creatively employ both to keep horror fans interested in what he is selling since, as the great Wes Craven once stated, " You don't enter the theater and pay your money to be afraid. You enter the theater and pay your money to have the fears that are already in you when you go into the theater dealt with and put into a narrative."

mercy falls 03 mercy falls 04

Mercy Falls subverts multiple tropes by having the antagonist be someone you least expect with a relatively intriguing past. Furthermore, the spectator is obliged to put themselves in the shoes of the protagonists for a while, suspend their norms, and cope with some grisly deaths as well as a somewhat unconventional and diabolical enemy. The weak spots of the movie are its dialogues, arguments, and sexual interactions, which could have been utilized to flesh out the supporting characters and provide insight into the antagonist's motives. The reason behind the killer's actions seems contrived and unconvincing.

Although there are times when a killer's motives may not require deep justification, providing a structured reason can enhance the audience's experience. While people may have problems with slasher films such as Friday the 13th, even Jason Vorhees has plausible reasons for why he kills his victims, and it makes sense. The portrayal of the antagonist in Mercy Falls leaves much to be desired. The character's motivations are not well established throughout the film, leaving the viewer confused as to why they are acting the way they do. Furthermore, the showdown between the protagonists and antagonist lacks any tension, failing to engage the viewer in any meaningful or impactful way. As a result, the climax falls flat, leaving a disappointing impression on the audience.

mercy falls 05 mercy falls 06

While Mercy Falls does its job of keeping the viewer invested with gorgeous visuals, a somewhat decent cast, and what seems like a decent plot at first, it's far too long a film to keep one invested towards the end. This is not to say that Hendrick doesn't have the makings of potentially making a good horror film somewhere down the line, because this film certainly has a few good points, it just falls short in some critical areas.

Mercy Falls is in cinemas now and arrives on digital on 9 November 2023.


Movie: 2 Star Rating Cover

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Samantha Andujar
Staff Reviewer
A music journalist and artist with an appetite for rock music, videogames and horror, Samantha Andujar is the creator of Into the Void and a writer for Outburn and Spill Magazine when she's not binge watching and analyzing horror films or drawing the characters that inspire them for work of her own.
Other articles by this writer


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