Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 29th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 2006
Director: Patrick Roddy
Screenplay: Patrick Roddy
Cast: Shelley Farrell, Julie Ann Fay, Carol Anne Gayle, Josh Marcantel, Charles McNeely III, Gary Shannon, Bryan Trahan
Approximate running time: 85 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Unearthed Films
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.99
Synopsis: John Mercy (Gary Shannon) struggles to deal with a past that haunts him after being released from prison.
Mercy is an independently made psychological horror film that was directed by a first time filmmaker named Patrick Roddy. The film is shot in a stark and times striking black & white. Virtually all films are now being short in color and being a fan of black & white it is refreshing to see a filmmaker use black & white especially when it suits the material better then color would. Roddy uses the films ambient score to help drive home the lead character John Mercy’s downward spiral.
While watching Mercy one influence of Roddy’s that immediately comes to mind Director David Lynch. Roddy uses sound and image in ways that are very similar to the cinema of David Lynch. In just one film Patrick Roddy had quickly shown that he is a talent filmmaker and I eagerly await too see what he has line up next. The film does tend to drag at times since there are few if any real horror moments and most of what is frightening it dealt with in a more psychological way. Mercy uses its surroundings and the seedy characters that populate the story to there maximum effect.
This film relies heavily one the performance of Gary Shannon who plays the films lead John Mercy. Gary Shannon does an admirable job portraying his characters isolation and the affects it has on his psyche. Also to the credit of director Patrick Roddy who also wrote the films’ screenplay the John mercy character is well defined and not your atypical one dimensional character. Overall Mercy’s surreal atmosphere is what sets it apart from your average horror film and for those who are looking for a more straight forward horror film will not appreciate Mercy’s more subtle charms.
Mercy is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. The black and white image looks stunning with its crisp razor sharp details and solid black levels. The transfer has also been flagged for progressive playback. Mercy a few years ago was independently released on DVD by the film’s director Patrick Roddy. This new transfer from Unearthed Films is a vast improvement over the last DVD release of Mercy which was not letterboxed image and not anamorphic.
One audio option is included with this release a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English. The audio sounds clear, evenly balanced and there are no audio defects.
Extras for this release include a six minute making of segment, a photo gallery and an eight page comic book that can be viewed on the DVD. The remaining extras consist of a trailer for Mercy and trailers for other titles currently available on DVD from Unearthed Films. One extra that was not carried over from the previous DVD release of Mercy is an alternate soundtrack for the film. Mercy is a superb film noir that can now be seen by a wider audience via Unearthed Films first rate DVD presentation.