Mercy Christmas – Review
When Michael Briskett meets the perfect woman, his ideal Christmas dream comes true when she invites him to her family's holiday celebration. Dreams shattered, Michael struggles to survive once he realizes HE will be Christmas dinner.
We are 11 days into our Awful Advent 25 Days of Christmas feature. Today we have a hilarious horror comedy for you. Mercy Christmas has flown under the radar a little bit in my opinion. Released in 2017, it has been around for awhile but I have only heard it mentioned in passing. Nobody seems to have talked a great deal about what a fun Christmas movie this is.
Directed by Ryan Nelson. Mercy Christmas follows Michael Briskett as he spends Christmas with an attractive woman. Only to realise that she is not all she appears to be. It is funny, violent, and super gory. It also has buckets of Christmas charm. Playing on tropes of the perfect Christmas, family traditions and togetherness. Mercy Christmas places the holidays as a central theme rather than simply as a setting. Without further ado, let’s take a look.
We’ve been on a bit of an end of the year run of themed features. We had K-O-Ween 31 Days of Halloween in October. We had a Fall Themed Horror movie month for November, Now It’s December and that can mean only one thing. It’s Awful Advent. We are reviewing a new horror for each of the days leading up to Christmas. That’s not all, we will also review a bonus movie for Christmas day itself. 25 horror movies to make your December just that little more frighteningly festive… Or should that be festively frightening? I am not sure, whatever.. It’s going to be scary.
The catch? All of the movies must be set around or feature Christmas. Movies based on a specific Christmas theme are even better. Christmas and horror have always gone hand in hand. There are tons of movies to look at and I expect you can probably predict a few right now. With that being said. Check back every day of December for something new.
Mercy Christmas – Synopsis
Mercy Christmas follows the story of Michael Briskett. He is a cheerful, but somewhat lonely, guy. It’s approaching Christmas and he is handing out invitations for a small party. His ruthless boss Andy suddenly drops a pile of work on his desk. He needs it finishing by December 26th. Michael was looking forward to the Christmas break. He now realises that is off the table so agrees to do the work. Andy says he will send his assistant down to give him the reports he needs completing.
Michael sits at home with a modest spread waiting for people to show up at his party. Obviously, nobody does. Suddenly, he hears a knock at the door. It is Andy’s assistant Cindy. She picked the invitation up off of Andy’s desk and thought she would join the fun. The pair spend the evening together sharing Eggnog and secret Santa presents. To Michael’s surprise, Cindy invites him to share Christmas dinner with her family. He accepts and she says she will pick him up the next day.
The next day arrives and Cindy picks Michael up. The two head on over to the house where Michael meets Cindy’s family. Sitting around the table, the family share a meal of some peculiar looking ribs. When the food is done, Cindy’s dad offers Michael some eggnog. Michael accepts and wishes to propose a toast. Standing up, he thanks the family and gives a greeting to the holiday. Taking a sip from his drink. He begins to feel dizzy. He notices his boss from work appear at the table before he passes out. It’s would seem that Michael wasn’t actually coming for Christmas dinner. He was coming to be Christmas dinner.
Hilarious Comedy Horror
Mercy Christmas is a wicked Horror Comedy with some brutal violence. Focusing on a whiter than white, cannibalistic, family. It plays out as a weird mix of a Hallmark Xmas film and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. As mentioned above, this doesn’t get nearly enough love. As far as Christmas horror comedy goes, you will struggle to find better. In fact, I would consider this to be one of the better horror comedies period.
It is hilarious provoking some genuine laughter in a number of scenes. Mercy Christmas never takes itself too seriously. It also manages that rarest of accomplishments in actually feeling like a Christmas movie while still being a horror. Unlike many comedy horror movies, it is barbaric. Definitely not afraid to spill some mulled wine. This actually feels like a proper horror movie. Too many films from this sub-genre are just comedy with horror tropes. Don’t get me wrong, it is not all that scary, but it is violent. Limbs get chopped off, people’s faces are caved in, someone is beaten to death with a rolling pin. Mercy Christmas has no mercy at all when it comes to shocking the viewer.
A Familiar Feeling
We have all seen those Hallmark or Lifetime Christmas movies before, right? They are doing the rounds everywhere at this time of year. In fact, the UK has a free channel that shows nothing else for the two months leading up to Christmas. You know the type of movie. A hopeless woman works a menial job. She happens to fall in love with a rich dude who she serves in a café or something. He is an eligible bachelor who can’t wait to support both her and her kids for the rest of their lives. They spend Christmas together and the only thing whiter than the snow is the family around the table.
Now, how many of you have watched one of those and thought “Hmm, imagine if this rich, handsome dude was a serial killer”? I know I have. It would take that trope of the charismatic lead man and flip it on its head.
Well, Mercy Christmas doesn’t follow that exact formula. It does, however, start off exactly like a Hallmark Christmas movie. Everything from the camera work to the acting feels so familiar. Michael is the down on his luck protagonist. Andy is the smarmy, handsome business exec cracking wise and acting narcissistic. Cindy is the gorgeous secretary who just so happens to like her guys with a bit of extra meat. For a few minutes there, you would think you have put on the wrong movie. Sure, some of the roles are reversed, but the feeling is unmistakeable.
All of a sudden, it switches tone and you are watching people getting kidnapped and murdered. This is only a hint of what is to come, however. Without warning, we are back to the world of Lifetime Christmas movies. Michael is sharing a meal with the family. Everyone is happy. Cindy is looking picture perfect, and everything seems right with the world. It is a mix of familiar genres that many of us are sure to pick up on straight away. I love it.
Mercy Christmas, as mentioned above, is a brutal movie. While garnishing its violent trappings with a dash of humour. Some of the scenes are actually quite shocking. We have brutal beat downs accompanied by mutilations, dismemberments and merciless stabbings. This is a movie about cannibalism, after all. Human parts are served up in delectable dishes prepared by the family. Naturally the meat has to be fresh so victims are kept alive until serving time. This leads to some genuinely horrific scenes.
Characters have body parts harvested from them while they are still conscious. Mutilated people lie on the floor to rot, whether alive or dead. Anyone that objects or fights back is severely beaten. On top of this, Michael still has a job to do. Andy’s reports are due on the 26th of December and he thinks this could be his big break. He needs Briskett to get the work done. Andy offers him a little encouragement with this via electrical torture. It’s a bloody and extremely gory movie.
Many horror comedies tend to avoid going too deep into the violence aspect. I can’t think of a huge amount that are even particularly gory. Comedy often comes at the cost of the horror element. That just isn’t the case with Mercy Christmas. It maintains its blood lust throughout and absolutely nobody is out of the firing line. Men, women, the old and infirm. Everybody here is a potential victim. If you enjoy gore, you are going to really enjoy this. It helps that the practical effects are brilliant. Chopped off limbs prepared into meals look creepily real. The violence is convincing and wounds look horribly authentic. It’s great work from the effects team and helps lend legitimacy to the horror. Yet, that doesn’t mean that the comedy takes second place.
Absolutely Hilarious in Parts
Mercy Christmas is a legitimately funny movie. The setup itself is quite amusing. The way the movie plays off like an old fashioned Christmas film makes for some great laughs. This is a group of people that believe in traditional family values. They are almost sickly sweet in their commitment to each other. This is the first time they have all been together for Christmas in awhile. They want to make the most of it. Trips to church are a must and there will be no swearing at the table. Patriarch of the family Abe is overjoyed to have everyone back in the house. Cindy now takes over the matriarch role after Abe’s wife passed away. There are meals that need cooking and meat to harvest. The wicked contrast between happy family gatherings and horrifying violence is hilarious.
Michael and Andy’s interactions are always amusing. Andy’s methods for motivating his employee play a consistent theme. He is relentless in reinforcing Briskett’s work ethic leading to plenty of chuckles. The relationships between the family members start to break down in comical ways. This is Christmas after all, there is always tension. The real hilarity ensues during the last 20 minutes, however. I can’t go into detail but it is, by far, one of my favourite ending acts from any comedy horror. My fiancée and I were in hysterics. It is a mix of violence, incredibly funny visual comedy, and slapstick silliness.
Mercy Christmas features some excellent performances. This seems to be a relatively unknown cast with only small parts to their names. Casey O’Keefe is fantastic as Cindy. I loved her initial presentation as a typical Hallmark leading lady. It was very reminiscent of many of these movies that have appeared over the years. When tasked with switching to the comical, highly strung, sister of the family. She is entirely convincing and moments where her personality flips are always comical. Cole Gleason, as Andy, is fitting in his role. Playing the handsome business exec with a narcissistic personality disorder. He wouldn’t feel out of place as the smarmy boss in a Christmas movie. Probably the most ruthless of the family. He will inspire a great deal of hate in the viewer. Exactly as a bad guy should.
David Ruprecht is brilliant as the head of the family Abe. His saccharin joy at his family being together is hilarious. The hidden darkness of his character is occasionally revealed. Garnering Ruprecht a few laughs. The real stars of the show, however, are the victims. Whitney Nielson, as Katherine, has some genuinely decent, dramatic, emotional moments. It’s hard not to feel sad for her. D.J. Hale, as Eddie, is absolutely hilarious and puts his all into the character. His part in the final 20 minutes is side splitting. Steven Hubbell, as Michael, is thoroughly likeable and easy to root for. Again, his contribution is possibly the biggest. He totally gets how to portray an unlikely hero. It’s a great cast and they all, obviously, completely bought into the movie. They appear to be having a great time and all do a fantastic job.
Not For Everyone
So I have raved a fair bit about the movie. As I said before, I had a great time. I thought it was hilarious and was caught off guard by how gory it is. Still, it may not be for everyone. This is low budget and the limited locations may leave a few people wanting more. Some aren’t going to enjoy just how slapstick it can be. There is a heavy focus on the comedy aspect. This type of humour is always a bit hit or miss and some will dislike it. The movie can feel very budget at times. The early parts are more noteworthy for this. I think some people will simply not enjoy the setup. They may not feel entertained by the self contained, family around a table, nature of the movie. Comedy horror is simply not for everyone.
For anyone else simply looking to have a great laugh around the Christmas season. There aren’t many better options than Mercy Christmas. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, has buckets of gore and tons of violence. Mercy Christmas is legitimately funny, as well, and features decent acting throughout. Check it out, you may love it.
Is it a Knockout?
Mercy Christmas is a comedy horror movie focusing on a man spending Christmas with a beautiful woman. Invited to Christmas dinner, it turns out everything may not be as it seems. In fact, it looks like, this year, Michael himself is on the menu. Genuinely hilarious and surprisingly brutal. This is low budget comedy horror with an edge.
Featuring a family of cannibals dining on their guests. Expect beatdowns, mutilations, and dismemberment. Practical effects are absolutely fantastic and there are buckets of gore. Acting is brilliant and the movie offers up tons of laughs. The last few scenes, in particular, dial up the laughs and are some of the funniest I have seen in a comedy horror. A new annual fixture in our house. This may be a bit too silly and a bit too low budget for some. Everyone else should check it out. For Christmas horror laughs, there is little better.