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Almost Mercy

USA 2015
produced by
Chad A. Verdi, David Lussier, David Gere, Tom DeNucci, Michael Chase, Seth Rosenblit (executive), Dawn Van Zant (executive), Taylor Van Zant (executive), Michelle Verdi (executive), Joshua Sason (executive), James Cillizza (executive), Fadlo Haber (executive) for Woodhaven Productions, LDI Entertainment, Magna Entertainment
directed by Tom DeNucci
starring Danielle Guldin, Jesse Dufault, Bill Moseley, Kane Hodder, Fred Sullivan, Alexander Cook, William DeCoff, Eric Nyenhuis, Tommy Dreamer, Tanja Melendez Lynch, Beth Campbell, Tess Degen, Eva Senerchia, Jonah Coppolelli, Sean Leser, Michael Zuccolo, Gerald Lovelace, Tammy Brown, Noah Tully-Sanderson, Brandon Garvey, Quenten Mangum, David Gere, Melissa Randall, Ian Lyons, Rj Heim, Mike Bennett, Kelby T. Akin, Nick Principe, Bernard Dolan, Diana Porter, Jose Guns Alves
music by Bernard Dolan, DS3K, Adam Schneider, Roz and the Ricecakes, special makeup effects by Ben Bornstein, visual effects by Sam Eilertsen

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Emily (Danielle Guldin) and Jackson (Jesse Dufault) have always been the outsiders of their school: They behaved slightly oddly, didn't like what the mainstream liked, had macabre predilections, were no cheerleader and football crack respectively, and thus were the prime target of bullies - not only students bullied them of course but also teachers like the dim-witted coach (Kane Hodder) - but they had each other, were each other's respective anchor. But then, after a vicious piss bomb attack, Jackson snaps and beats up good three of the bullies ... and is thus taken out of school, serves some time, undergoes anger management classes, is taught how to fire a gun by his parole officer ... in other words, nothing is done to improve his situation.

Emily in the meantime grows to be a woman - with all that comprises of in this day and age, including having meaningless sex, getting wasted on alcohol and drugs and the like. Then one day the football team get their hands on her, drug and gangrape her ... and when Emily wants to report it to the police, her school's principal (Fred Sullivan) tries to talk her out of it, emphasizing on the importance of the football team as such, and the importance of the jocks' parents for the community in particular - in other words, he tries to buy her silence without even bothering to offer compensation, appealing to her "common sense" instead of using his own. She turns down the offer of course, but the sheriff (William DeCoff) is in on the thing with the principal so there are no consequences.

Eventually, Jackson comes back into Emily's life, but he has grown disillusioned and a gun fetishist - the only thing that hasn't changed is that he's very fond of Emily and hates his school. So she and he plan to stage a high school shooting, but while for her planning's just a game, he really tries to go through with it one day ... but ultimately can't shoot anybody and is arrested before the fact - no media frenzy, nothing. Emily on the other hand is much more unscrupulous, picks up his guns and decides to have her revenge on those who have wronged her and Jackson - only with a slightly different (and more effective) plan ...

Horror veteran Kane Hodder plays a priest who has raped Jackson as a kid, when he was an altar boy.


Almost Mercy is a very audacious little film, first and foremost because it does not take the easy approach to its subject matter and just condemn the perpetrators of a school shooting but actually asks questions, and gets into the heads of these perpetrators for a bit to find out what's wrong with not only them but mainstream society at large to even grow such characters. Now it's almost certain that some will find this approach alone controversial even if the film never condones the actions of its main characters, just dares to show them as victims of a heartless society.who are not content with the place given to them - but there's never any doubt left that their ways to change that are pure madness, not their motives though.

And that all said, this makes the film sound like a brain-heavy and boring exposé - but Almost Mercy is anything but, it's a rather entertaining and well-paced genre film that winkingly borrows from grindhouse cinema, shows quite a bit of love for its own gory excesses (again, without actually condoning them), never shies away from irony (Emily's off-screen narration alone is a hoot), is light-footed in approach, and features a pretty great key cast.

Sure, it's not what would be considered as 100% politically correct by mainstream society, but exactly for that it's all the more thought-provoking ... and also all the more entertaining!


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD