Friday, February 29, 2008

Identity on DVD

"True story, for those who are interested; when I saw this film upon it's theatrical release I was literally scared senseless since the theater was having electrical problems and the lights in the entire theater were flickering on and off through then entire movie. The sound was distorted and the speakers kept cracking on us, and I saw this in a rinky-dink theater that was probably near being condemned (I've since moved, so I'm not sure if it is still there or not) so it all added to the atmosphere that is created so vividly in this film. Some may balk at the `rainy night' setting and claim it is an overused cliché, but that cliché is rarely used to such brilliant effect.

Leave all the `flaws' at the door since this film more than makes up for them in sheer terror.

The film is a nice twist on the typical `standard' horror film, and while the twist has been spoiled by everyone and their mother, I am determined to remain silent on the midway reveal as well as the final ending `shocker' that took my by surprise.

The story revolves around a group of strangers who band together in a dusty old hotel while they strain to survive a killer in their midst. They are picked off one by one and they are all determined to find out who is behind the slaughter, but pin-pointing the culprit is harder than it looks.

Blink and you may die.

The cast works well within their character definitions (which is important to the flow of the story and the eventual revelations at bay) to create something organic within all the horror. John Cusack (an actor who gets slightly more respect and admiration than I deem neccisary) is actually very solid here, anchoring the films moral center without ever appearing to be the natural spout of clarity. He is a subtle, yet profound look at the `good' in us all. Ray Liotta is his normal clichéd self, but at least he is offset by the other actors around him. Amanda Peet is a diamond in the rough as far as I am concerned. I kind of love her in everything she does, even though I know that she needs to work out her acting bugs. I can't wait till she masters the talent she so obviously possesses. Clean DuVall is a standout for me here, mainly because the `scarred teenage girl' routine is overdone so much in these films that it was nice to see her completely OWN it so effortlessly. It felt fresher than it should have.

And Rebecca De Mornay was a total treat.

In the end, `Identity' has enough atmosphere to keep you in nightmares for days. It is dripping with natural fear factor, and the tweaked script allows the audience to feel two very distinct types of fear; the kind that comes from scary things creeping in the night, and the kind that comes from scary thoughts bouncing around in your head."

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