Director Peter Cornwell’s adaptation of Stephen King’s short story “Gramma” is a wonderfully well done and beautifully shot film. While this story has been adapted for television once before in a condensed episode of The Twilight Zone, writer Matt Greenberg let the story come to screen with much more wind in its sails.
Chandler Riggs, Dylan McDermott, and Mark Duplass stand out with wonderful performances. It’s obvious that these characters have those quirks that Stephen King is famous for. I have not read the short story, so I’m not sure how much was from King himself, Greenberg’s screenplay, or Cornwell’s direction.
Having seen the episode of The Twilight Zone, I can say that Mercy is superior for reasons like the dialog, the setting and the casting. The Twilight Zone episode is big on scares, doesn’t make you try to solve any mysteries, and keeps the pace moving, but that’s expected of a 40 minute episode. Mercy doesn’t run much longer than that actually; With only 79 minutes to pack in a back story, conflict, and resolution, it does quite well. It never really seems to drag along, but it also never reaches the level of terror that the made-for-televison episode managed to.
All in all, I’d say that this was a pretty successful film — we get some awesome performances by some great actors, an intense atmosphere, and some truly frightening moments. You should give this one some attention. If you’re a fan of Cornwell’s other work like Haunting In Connecticut or Stephen King’s short stories, you will be pleasantly surprised.
I personally give this film 3 tears out of 5.