Sunday, October 25, 2015

Overlooked Film of the Week- "Identity" (2003)

Overlooked Film of the Week- #101

There are some movies that I can't believe didn't get  the respect and viewership I think they deserve. This was a movie that generated some minor buzz, but vanished soon after. I can't believe somebody can watch this movie, and not have a huge, satisfying reaction from it. The horror genre is so ordinary right now, with a found footage movie released seemingly every month. Last decade, the horror genre was just as ordinary, but for different reasons. Filmmakers seemed to have a competition in them to see how many people they could kill in a movie in how many different ways. I never understood how lots of gore somehow meant scary. I understand that lots of horror is based upon shock, but when you see one horrible scenario after another, its almost as if you build an immunity from a disease. I feel several horror fans became horrifically desensitized to human depravity last decade that when we saw something that truly tried to be scary, we didn't know what to make of it.

"Identity" features death, but its not so distasteful that it takes out of the experience. Much like "Devil" which I talked about during the last Overlooked Film of the Week, this is a movie that feels very much cut from cloth of Agatha Christie. It follows a group of people stranded at a Nevada motel in a horrid rainstorm. The group suddenly realizes that the group is oddly connected to each other, but they are also dying one by one. Someone in the group is killing everybody, and the group is trying to find out who. There is one cop, one ex-cop, a prostitute, a newlywed couple, a family, and the cop is carrying a inmate to a prison. Its so easy to pin the deaths on the inmate, but is that what is happening?

The cast is incredible, which features John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet, Clea DuVall, William Lee Scott, John Hawkes, Jake Busey and John C. McGinley. Every actor brings their A-game to the table, they make some fairly one-dimensional characters shine bright on the screen, and their enthusiasm for their characters keeps the story moving, keeps the audience guessing as to who the killer is. A horror movie can be elevated by the whims of a cast, and this one does very well together and with their characters.

Then there is the twist. There weren't too many twists last decade, and I feel like it has been awhile since I have seen a good twist. Granted, the twist in "Identity" isn't on the same level of "The Sixth Sense," "The Crying Game," "Fight Club" or "The Usual Suspects." But the twist in "Identity" did have my friends and I discussing it well after the movie was over. Its definitely something that was creatively crafted and wisely visualized. Maybe its just me, but I certainly did not see this coming the first time I saw this. I really enjoyed it, and for anybody that like a mystery movie with a good twist, check this out for sure.

"Identity" took the mystery at a dinner party in a spooky house movie, and moved it to a rainy motel. It works in the newer reversal. If you like fun mystery movies with a killer on the loose, check this out. If you like watching a great cast set off fireworks, check this out. If you are a twist junkie, check this out. I can't believe this wasn't as popular as it should have been, but perhaps we can bring it back!

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