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Mercy Black is a film that seems to have come out of nowhere. Written and directed by Owen Egerton, (Follow, Blood Fest), and backed by genre powerhouse Blumhouse it turned up on Netflix with no fanfare. That’s not a good sign.

The plot seems to be more than a little influenced by the real life case of the two 12-year-olds who killed a classmate to impress the fictional Slender Man. As a child, Marina (Daniella Pineda, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) and a friend tried to kill a fellow student in an effort to conjure a spirit, Mercy Black.

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Now fifteen years later, she’s been released and is staying with her sister Alice (Elle LaMont) and her son Bryce (Miles Emmons). In the years since, Mercy Black has become an internet phenomenon. Alice’s boyfriend presses her for details about the crime, and Bryce begins researching it at the library. As strange events start occurring and bodies start to drop, the question becomes is Mercy Black real, or has Marina relapsed into madness? Or has Bryce’s interest in Mercy Black crossed a line?

It becomes obvious pretty quickly why Mercy Black was dumped onto Netflix. While it’s not an awful film, it’s not that good either. The plot plays the usual games, trying to make our suspicions go back and forth between the idea of a human and a supernatural killer. There are some jump scares that are reasonably effective but pretty predictable.

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The characters are all very familiar, and it’s easy to guess their next move and the motivation for that move. There’s also none of the humor Egerton used in Blood Fest, even though Mercy Black could certainly have used it. Spoofing some of the overly familiar material here would have been quite an improvement. They even cast Janeane Garofalo, (Mystery Men, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion), as Marina’s psychiatrist Dr. Ward but don’t do anything with her.

If you have Netflix, then Mercy Black might be worth a watch. It’s not actively bad, but like American Poltergeist: The Curse of Lilith Ratchet, and so many other recent films, it’s just way too familiar.

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