SISTER MERCY (William Boodell, 2019)

With its eerie dread and mysterious titular character, William Boodell’s Sister Mercy (2019) is perfect post-spooky season viewing.

Late one night, Sister Mercy Lopez arrives at the door of a home unannounced. She is greeted by several malevolent characters; their eyes glinting with wolf-like blood-lust. Gentle and soft-spoken, the nun asks the unsavoury group if they know of the whereabouts of a missing woman for whom she is searching. From there, the saintly nun is engulfed into their dark den.

Once Sister Mercy plunges into the angry depths of the home and its sly inhabitants, the film snakes through the story of Sister Mercy’s mission with an underlying whine of eerie dread, building up to a whirring adrenaline rush. Boodell deftly crafts a hellish underworld within the walls of a seemingly benign suburban home.

The titular character of Sister Mercy is enchanting and enigmatic. Dominika Van Santen’s beguiling performance crafts a completely endearing character. It’s highly refreshing to see a hero who is soft-spoken, gentle, altruistic, ethical – while also perfectly capable of throwing down in the name of her mission. Sister Mercy embodies all of these shifting and contradictory traits. Though Sister Mercy wrestles with her own demons, we’re completely bewitched by her and are rooting for her success.

A nun stands in profile in a white room. The room behind her is bathed in a purple light.
BTS: Dominika van Santen as “Sister Mercy Lopez” in between set-ups.

Sister Mercy ushers a new type of hero into the paranormal thriller genre – and I couldn’t get enough of her.

You can check out Sister Mercy at STUFF MX FILM FESTIVAL in Mexico City in the Narrative Short Film Competition. The festival runs from November 7, 2019, to November 17, 2019.

Photos are courtesy of the Sister Mercy team.

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