Although I do enjoy possession films, they are not my favorite horror subgenre. There’s just so many out there filled with too much regurgitated material, so it takes a compelling story to peek my interest. IFC Midnight has released several killer titles this year, and when I heard about Welcome to Mercy, I was actually intrigued. The trailer gave me goosebumps.
Was this just another case of the trailer being 10 times better than the film, or did it deliver a story that stands out? Find out in my spoiler-free review!
This exciting new horror thriller was directed by Tommy Bertelsen and written by Kristen Ruhlin. Ruhlin also stars in the film along with Lily Newmark, Sophia Massa, Eileen Davies, and more.
Official Synopsis for Welcome to Mercy:
A young woman struggles against the unholy forces that possess her in this terrifying occult thriller. After being stricken with stigmata, single mother Madaline (Ruhlin) is sent to a remote convent. When arriving, nothing is what it seems and her friend August (Newmark) is seemingly the only person she can trust. Together, they must confront the demons inside Madaline before she becomes the Antichrist.
Welcome to Mercy took me by surprise. It’s a bit of a slow burn, and it took awhile until for me to fully understand what was going on, but once I did, I was captivated by the brilliance of it all. The film is beautifully written, complete with exquisite cinematography, captivating characters, and a haunting atmosphere from beginning to end.
Madaline is lost. She has no clue what is going on, and the audience is right there with her. We go on a journey to discover the horrifying truth about her past and everything that goes with it. In doing so, the viewer’s connection to Madaline is strong, which is also due to the brilliant performance delivered by Kristen Ruhlin. She stuns as she goes through hell and back, trying to discover what is real, what isn’t and if she’s losing her mind.
Along with Ruhlin’s performance, I must give a shoutout to Lily Newmark, Eileen Davies, and Marta Timofeeva. This film is driven with strong female performances, and these ladies all killed it. I’ve seen Lily Newmark in other features, but this role shined a light on how talented she really is. Eileen Davies is always brilliant, and her presence fills the room when she’s on the screen. Lastly, little Marta Timofeeva blew me away. Her performance was riveting, and after my interview with Director Tommy Bertelsen, I’m even more impressed by her. We will see great things from her in the future.
Although there is some blood, Welcome to Mercy doesn’t rely heavily on it. The story is more of a psychological thriller that is meant to mess with your head, question everything, and embrace the unknown. It excels on all of this, and shows what a dedicated team can do on a small budget.
Final Thoughts on Welcome to Mercy:
If you love films that get into your head, make you question things, and will terrify you… Welcome to Mercy is definitely something you should check out. It will be coming to select theaters, VOD and via digital platforms in the U.S. on November 2!