Mercy Falls is a 2023 Scottish horror/thriller written by Meliá Grasska and Ryan Hendrick (Minds of Glass, Lost at Christmas), who also directs.
Filmed against the dramatic backdrop of the Scottish Highlands, this brooding thriller is now available on UK Digital Platforms courtesy of Bingo Films.
“Ah, my strange f**kwit of a father died. The man had about twenty pounds to his name and a cabin that’s a days trek into the woods.”
When Rhona (Lauren Lyle – Outlander (TV Series)) inherits a cabin in the Scottish Highlands from her late estranged father (Gilly Gilchrist – Rob Roy, Starred Up), she decides to hike out there, risking bringing up childhood trauma in the process. For moral support, she drives to the nearby town with her best friend Heather (Layla Kirk – The Nest) and her boyfriend Scott (James Watterson). Once there they meet up with her new boyfriend Donnie (Joe Rising – Annika (TV Series)) who annoyingly brings his friend Andy (Eoin Sweeney), who no-one likes.
En route, they pass a hitchhiker, but decline to stop, you can’t be too careful. As it happens though, they meet up with her at the local pub anyway. Her name is Carla (Nicolette McKeown – Convergence) and she has been to Mercy Falls, their first destination, so she reluctantly agrees to act as their guide, much to Rhona’s dislike (smart girl, our Rhona). As it happens, Carla isn’t as innocent as she seems to be.
Following lots of bed hopping, arduous trekking and general bickering, a tragic accident and massive overreactions from all concerned lead to a death and a desperate race through the Highlands to get to the safety of the cabin and the only radio for miles. Who will survive the wilderness?
“Oh, Carla please. You’d be doing us a solid and you said earlier that you wanted to lose yourself in the woods. So, why don’t you lose yourself in the woods with us?”
Mercy Falls is an enjoyable film to watch, although it’s not without its issues. Chief among these is the very annoying decision making processes among the group. When faced with almost any problem, this horny bunch solve it by rogering a random member of the party. No. Concentrate on the job in hand, that’s how you got into this predicament in the first place. There is some brutal bloodletting, although it takes a while to get there, first we have to wade through numerous quotes from Homer and traumatic flashbacks.
What was pleasantly surprising is that they bump off the characters in order of most to least annoying, as well as in order of acting ability, meaning that the final showdown is really quite impressive and worth waiting for.
Where this film really shines is in the magnificent cinematography, the sweeping vistas of the hills and valleys of the Scottish Highlands are nothing short of breath taking and add brilliantly to the sense of isolation. There is also an unobtrusive but effective score from Stephen Wright.
All in all, although it doesn’t bring any fresh ideas, it’s still enjoyable and well worth a watch.
“They say that it happens on cold moonless nights, when there’s not a whisper of wind around. Lone, lost hikers look to the water for solace.”
Mercy Falls is available now on UK Digital Platforms.
|Starring||Lauren Lyle, Nicolette McKeown, James Watterson, Layla Kirk|