Movie Review: Thommy Hutson's THE ID

The most important man in a woman's life is her father...

I would imagine that there are few things in life harder than watching your parents fall ill.  To watch their minds and bodies slowly begin to betray them, and morph them into something else, must be one of life's greatest tragedies, however, being granted sole guardianship for an abusive and cruel man surely tops the list of ways that life can shit on you.  Directed by Thommy Hutson and written by Sean H. Stewart, THE ID is a dark and intelligently written film that tells the story of Meredith Lane, a lonely woman who has been placed in that very scenario.  She has nothing but herself, dirty linens and a depressing house filled with the demands and profanities from a man who could care less that she has essentially given up her entire life to care for him.  Eesh.

This film is not your typical horror film.  I hesitate at even calling it that.  It's a thriller that relies on more than gore and shock (there's little to none of that either) in lieu of toying with some of the most innate emotional ties and responsibilities that one can feel.  Those of family.  Blood is, after all, thicker than water.  Meredith, played by Amanda Wyss, is an otherwise obedient and kind woman.  As the film opens, we see her day to day life in which she cooks, cleans and cares for her father, a boarish man who insults her, makes lewd comments about her body and barks various commands at her in attempts to keep her under his thumb.  It is a very stark look at what is, very likely, the lives of many people around the world.  Her father is ill, so ill in fact that he cannot stand on his own.  She cannot simply walk away or cast him out onto the streets, after all, he is her father.  He uses this to his advantage, as it is his greatest strength considering he is wheelchair bound.  Guilt is a pretty powerful manipulative tool, more so than muscles and grit. 

This is Meredith's life.  Day in and day out.  She does not leave the house, groceries and medications are delivered, she simply caters to the will of her father.  When an unexpected phone call from a ghost of Meredith's past shatters her father's trance over her, things take a very unexpected turn in this film, and we then see one of the most emotional power sturggles I've seen on film in recent years, and I must say, it was a treat to watch.  What starts as a very stark film, quickly takes on a very quirky tone, in all the right ways.  As the events unfold, it's akin to watching a car wreck that you simply can't tear your eyes away from.  Wyss's performance is amazing, giving this film the genuineness that it so needs to avoid becoming campy, while Patrick Peduto's take on the father almost causes you, at moments, to sympathize with his character's plights (just as Meredith does).  This is very much a film that relied on these two performances and both carried them very well.  I ultimately walked away from this film having felt like we have been robbed of 20+ years of killer lead performances from Amanda Wyss as she more than carries this film to the finish line, she fucking runs it there.

While the soundtrack screamed of "Lifetime" movies, THE ID delivered on every front.  A solid screenplay that keeps you guessing (and I really mean that) was backed by solid performances resulting in a film that deserved it's Best Thriller win as the 2016 Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival.  You can catch it on VOD, or over at Amazon, today.

Keep it spooky,
Ryan Wilkins