Regular guest contributor Paul Stevenson is back to share his thoughts on Adam Wingard’s The Guest and Tom Denucci’s Almost Mercy.
Hello friends. Thanks for checking out my latest musings. I have mentioned before that I’m a very big fan of movies and even recommended a couple movies some of in my previous articles. I have been wanting to start to write a separate piece about quality movies that are easy to find, so here’s my first attempt at keeping an ongoing theme. I’m going to call this “the streaming movie treasure trove.” This is just a platform to recommend movies, new or old, that I find interesting that are available for streaming with subscription via Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. I spend much of my time browsing these services and I’d like to share them with you. Most of these movies will be something that isn’t extremely popular or well known because anyone can recommend a classic like Silence of the Lambs or First Blood, but I like to dig a little deeper.
Up first is The Guest (2014) starring Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) and Maika Monroe (It Follows) and created by writer Simon Barrett and director Adam Wingard—the same team behind You’re Next (another awesome film on Netflix).
I first saw The Guest a few months ago and I haven’t stopped talking about it since. It’s an amazingly well-paced action movie. Dan Stevens plays a perfect balance of charming and polite, mixed with serious and deadly. He is an ex-soldier, returning from combat to deliver a message to the family of his best friend who died in battle. This message quickly turns sinister when we learn that there’s more beneath the surface of this soldier’s back story. Maika Monroe plays the dead soldier’s sister and with a great performance in this film and It Follows on her résumé, she’s on her way to becoming a top-level scream queen. All the actors are solid. The creative team is fantastic. The music is outstanding and it carries the tone and mood perfectly. The Guest is available for streaming on Netflix and I highly, highly recommend it.
The other movie I’d like to suggest is not as well acknowledged. That movie is Almost Mercy (2015). It’s written and directed by Tom Denucci, who doesn’t have many credits in the movie-making business, but he really nailed it with this one.
Almost Mercy features a couple horror of icons in Bill Moseley (The Devil’s Rejects, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) and Kane Hodder (Jason X, Hatchet) but the rest of the cast is composed mostly of up-and-coming and unknown actors. Almost Mercy is a anecdotal story about our two main characters, Emily, played by Danielle Guldin (The Opposite Sex), and Jackson, played by Jesse Dufault (The Sins of Dracula). The entire movie is narrated by Emily and it follows their growth from childhood friends to high school teens. The story revolves around the various forms of abuse they suffer in their small Rhode Island town and how their personal tragedies shaped them into tormented and disturbed young adults, yet their bond as friends remains strong and constant. It plays out as a sort of countdown to destruction, with the viewer waiting to see who will snap first.
I really enjoyed Almost Mercy and I’m glad that I noticed it and gave it a shot. Danielle Guldin puts in a very strong performance in the film and I very much look forward to seeing more of her work. Denucci did an excellent job with the story and direction and I hope he continues on this path. The movie is extremely cathartic—it keeps you engaged the whole time, has a pretty good music score and a good amount of gore and cringe but it is tempered enough so as not to be over the top. I definitely encourage you to check this one out. Almost Mercy is available on Netflix as well.
That’s all I’ve got for now. I hope you check these movies out and feel free to leave comments on this article to let me know what you think. Also check me out on Instagram @paultstevenson and twitter @paultstevenson.