Meridith (Miranda Wyss) is the long-suffering carer of possibly the world’s most miserable and manipulative dad in the history of father-dom. Now in her 40s the only memories which Meridith cherish are those from her teenage years, where boys found her attractive, each brief liaison ending in awkward and unloving sex. Indeed, continual care of her father has rendered her all but house bound and as such the only reference for a normal life she has is from her experiences some 20 years ago. Sadly, time has eroded not only her father’s ill health, but her sanity also. All her father’s hate and fears have been directed at her for years, each foul-mouthed insult etching further and further at a self-esteem barely existent. As the relationship in the house begins to reach breaking point one phone call from an old lover is enough to send Meridith’s oppressive world into a spiral as she begins to take measures to see that the single barrier in her life is removed for good.
Sadly, her woes are far from over, as clever writing and characterisation brings Thommy Hutson’s stripped back indie chiller to a fraught and tense conclusion.
Character is the order of the day here, and the two leads Miranda Wyss (of Nightmare on Elm Street fame) and Patrick Peduto play off one another with frightening effect. The outright bullying and emotional manipulation is horrible to watch. Wyss pitches her character so well, constantly treading a line between vulnerable and borderline psychotic. She’s a complex character, and whilst the movie does well to avoid lengthy expositions we see evidence of her traits in various scenes – from the pharmacy of pills she ingests to the obsessive catalogue and sexually explicit scrapbook memoirs from her school years, indeed even her fantasy’s (played out in one hell of an awkward masturbation scene) reflect a mind which is far from balanced. In contrast to that her father who is a one-man assault on dignity, decency and humility. Each scene where these characters engage in a power-play delivers a textbook example of actors, directors and screenwriters working with one vision to create something far greater than the sum of parts. Indeed, when you consider the film takes place almost exclusively within one claustrophobic house, it is further testament to how well these elements work together.
The run time is swift clocking in at around 80 minutes’ memory serves, and whilst the first half of the movie plays out as described above, the more classic ‘horror’ part of the film comes into play in the last half; after all, murder is bound to take its toll on even the most balanced of people. With Meridith being as fragile as she is, it’s not long before the inference of a nosy delivery girl and incursions from police and the aforementioned ex-lover sees her world fall apart at the seams. Owing to the unique concept, it was difficult to see where this film would go, but rest assured as events unfold, and the tension ramps up you quickly come to the solemn realisation there is only one way it could ever end; and boy, does it stay with you.
With that said, it’s not perfect and my only real criticism comes from an odd subplot which sees an overly interfering delivery girl. Each time she and Meridith share screen time the tension dissipates and I am left wondering as to why a delivery girl would be persistent and suspicious. Her character is required later in the film, but sadly these scenes put a pause on the tension which is a shame considering how tightly knit the rest of the film is.
Overall, however, ‘The ID’ straddles a line between hard-drama and ‘horror’ and as such, it will have a divided fan base. I enjoyed the film, but you must recognise that this is a character based horror, where the horror comes from the psychological torment then breakdown of the lead character. There are a mild spattering of jump scares and a couple of bloody scenes but for the most part people will want to watch this film as an example of an indie film done right. ‘The ID’ is released on Blu-ray 25th October 2016.