The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Identity

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Judy Thorburn

Identity

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

MULTIPLE “IDENTITY” CRISIS

Picture this. A group of strangers are stranded in a creepy place - case in particular, a dingy motel,  isolated from the outside world.  Phones are down, and exiting is useless, due to flooding from a torrential downpour.  The atmosphere is dark and brooding and the worst is yet to come. One by one a character gets eliminated, murdered by an unknown assailant.

If it all sounds a bit familiar, that is because variations on this scenario has been done numerous times before in storylines from Hitchcock’s Psycho to Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians. But, this time around, writer Michael Cooney tosses in a clever twist that unless you pay close attention to the preceding clues, will throw you for a loop. It’s a manipulating set up that at first has you believing this is going to be another gory slasher/horror movie. But, it takes an unexpected turn when another plotline falls into place, fits the missing pieces together, and ends up being a mind blowing psychological thriller. The recent flick Basic, tried to pull off  a final “gotcha”. But, that resulted in a confusing mess that was undecipherable. Identity, succeeds where Basic failed, grabbing you with a shocking, but logical conclusion.

The opening sequence shows us a psychiatrist (Alfred Molina) listening to tapes from some of his sessions, while going through papers and headline stories that involve one of his patients (Pruitt Taylor Vance), a mass murderer. Next, the camera switches to a series of incidents on a desert road as the weather turns into a rainstorm.  The nearest shelter is a seedy motel, run by manager Larry (John Hawkes) where each of the travelers find themselves seeking help. This tragic bunch consists of the York family, husband George (John McGinley), his mute son, Timothy (Bret Loehr), and severely injured wife, Alice (Leila Kenzle). There is also hooker, Paris (Amanda Peet) on her way to Florida to live out her dream of starting an orange grove, fighting newlyweds, Ginny (Clea DuVall) and Lou (William Lee Scott), former cop Ed (John Cusack), limo driver to has been movie star, Caroline Suzanne (Rebecca DeMornay), and Rhodes (Ray Liotta), a cop transporting convicted killer Maine (Jake Busey), to prison.

As the rain gets stronger and they get settled in to wait out the storm, it’s just a matter of time before the horror starts and someone is about to become victim number one. The question is, who is the murderer? Why is everyone being killed in a numerical fashion?  How are these people all connected?  Fingers are pointed as everyone suspects each other.  Just when your frustration reaches a peak about figuring out the killer….that’s when the story takes a twist.  You see, there’s a link between this motley motel crew and the mass murderer whose shrink is hoping to save him from the death penalty. But, no sir!  You won’t find me giving away the twist. I’m no spoiler.

Director James Mangold (Kate and Leopold) uses all the typical scare techniques to rile you up. Suspicious sounds, shadows,  and slow tension build up are the classic plot maneuvers that are supposed to get you squirming in your seat. And, most of the times it succeeds creating enough suspense and jolts. The ensemble cast led by the quirky, but fabulous John Cusack is perfect. Especially interesting is the casting of Rebecca DeMornay, with new inflated boobs, apparently poking fun at her own “what ever happened to this star” career.  Too bad, Clea DuVal spends most of her time  as the “scream” factor, and we don’t get to see much of the wonderful, Alfred Molina (outstanding in Frida). But, these are minor complaints.

Slick and intriguing, Identity had me fooled, breaking away from the classic gore/thriller mold and trying a new angle.  What a neat and unexpected surprise! In recent years, we’ve had the “Scream” trilogy, which mixed horror and comedy for a new generation. And, it worked . Now, we can add a thought provoking and intelligent zinger to this horror genre, giving it  a new “Identity”-  all its own.