Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 1st, 2007
Theatrical Release Dates: 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
DVD released: October 2006
Approximate running time: 85 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $11.99
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 a 1.85:1 letterboxed aspect ratio that preserves the films original aspect ratio. The black and white imagery looks sharp and free on any print damage. The black levels remain strong throughout and there are no problems with compression or artifacts. Overall this transfer looks amazing.
This release comes with one audio option English and it is presented in a Dolby Digital stereo. The audio mix is well done as the music and effects sound evenly balanced with the rest of the mix and dialog is crystal clear and easy to follow. The audio source is free of any distortion or defects.
Extras for this release include slide show of behind the scenes stills, a brief six minute behind the scenes segment shot on the films final day of shooting, an eight page comic book and an alternate soundtrack for the film.
For more information about Mercy and Patrick Roddy visit his website here.