Netflix has picked up a new title from the horror masters at Blumhouse Productions, and it launches on the streaming service today.
The company announced Sunday it has struck a deal to distribute Mercy Black from Austin writer-director Owen Egerton (Follow, Blood Fest).
The concept is loosely inspired by the Slenderman phenomenon and the U.K. Mary Bell child killer case, but with its own unique twists. “It’s the story of a woman 15 years after she stabbed a classmate,” Egerton says. “She committed this horrendous act to conjure a phantom called Mercy Black. She’s just now getting out of a mental asylum and presumably cured but she’s beginning to see all the things she never thought she’d see again. The creature becomes a viral success, even her young nephew is becoming obsessed with this Mercy Black, and she has to, perhaps for the first time ever, face what she’s done and the power of this mythical creature.”
Daniella Pineda (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) stars along with Austin Amelio (The Walking Dead), Elle LaMont (Alita: Battle Angel), Lee Eddy (Camp Camp), Janeane Garofalo (Wet Hot American Summer), and newcomer Miles Emmons.
The film is the third from Egerton, who’s also a novelist (How Best to Avoid Dying) and a stable in the Austin comedy scene as a longterm performer in Alamo Drafthouse’s popular live movie-mocking troupe Master Pancake (their shows are a must-see).
In making Mercy Black, Egerton says, “I’m trying to scare myself with concepts and moments, more than shock myself, but really scare myself with film situations that make me feel horribly uncomfortable. It’s filled with scares and surprises and all the stuff I love in horror movies, but some of the most terrifying moments are when two people are talking and a truth comes out that’s just too hard to take.”
Egerton notes that getting Blumhouse (Get Out, Insidious franchise) on board was almost literally a dream come true, having long imagined how much he hoped to see the company’s logo at the start of the film. “One of the things Jason Blum said was, ‘If you can tell a story that if we took away all the scares, all the monsters, all the special effects but you still had a story that was rich and felt like a Sundance independent film, then you got a film — because then the scares are tied to character,'” Egerton recalls. “And that’s what we tried to do.”
Next up for Egerton: “I’m working on a new script, a little more of a thriller, with some sci-fi and dystopian stuff, I’m excited to lose myself in it. There are robots.”
Mercy Black is streaming now on Netflix.