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Id, The

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    Mark Tolch
    Senior Member

  • Id, The



    Released By: Hutson Ranch Media
    Released On: October 25, 2016
    Director: Thommy Hutson
    Cast: Amanda Wyss, Patrick Peduto, Jamye Grant, Malcolm Matthews, Karen Leabo
    Year: 2015
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Film:

    A new film Directed by Thommy Hutson is something that I have to admit I found intriguing. If you're not familiar with Hutson, he is responsible for writing and producing (among other things) the outstanding horror documentaries Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy, and His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th. Granted, being involved in those particular projects does not a compelling director make, but add the appearance of Amanda Wyss, one of my first screen crushes ever, and I figured that The Id was a film that definitely needed to be seen.

    Meredith Lane (Wyss) is probably not living out the life that she had planned for herself during the glory days of high school; fond memories that she holds onto in the form of the numerous joyful pictures she has plastered all over her bedroom mirror. The attractive teenaged girl with the attractive teenaged boyfriend that figured prominently in her senior yearbook now wears her age uncomfortably, worry lines and an unsure demeanor dominating her facade. The cause of this advanced decline becomes quickly apparent, as it's revealed that she is the sole caretaker of a profane and mentally abusive ailing man; Meredith's father. Having never left her childhood home, and with her mother long-gone, Meredith's frequent dalliances into daydreams of the past are cut short by her role as cook, nurse, and verbal punching bag by the nasty old man, who passes by no opportunity to call her an assortment of horrific names.

    The abuse doesn't stop at the spoken word, either; try as she might, Meredith's efforts are rewarded by food flung in her face, physical attacks, well-aimed saliva, and intentional urination, all followed by the mocking laughter or the man she is condemned to take care of for the rest of his life. Assistance may be available were she willing to take it in the form of Tricia, a social worker who delivers meals and genuinely seems to care, but Meredith seems more comfortable in blocking out potential interlopers. Soldiering on, Meredith takes the abuse, retreating when she can to her yearbook and a time when romance was all that mattered to the young girl.

    A ray of sunshine appears when the phone rings out of the blue, the man on the other end of the line identifying himself as Ted, Meredith's high school sweetheart. Arriving in town in the coming days for a convention, Ted is anxious to meet up with his old flame and catch up, and Meredith is all too willing. Certain that Ted is the answer to her prayers, the knight in shining armor who will rescue her from her life of servitude, Meredith begins preparations to remind Ted of the good old days, while playing out endless fantasies of soap opera lovemaking. Once again, reality intervenes, with her father reminding her that she's let herself get bigger and saggier, along with his ever-continuing threats to do himself in with his straight razor; playing on his daughter's insecurities and fear of unknown repercussions.

    The Id, for a first-time Director and first feature writer (Sean H. Stewart) is quite an accomplishment; setting aside the simplicity of the plot, which is more suited to a short film, the fact that so much is done essentially within the confines of a single room with two actors is admirable. Hutson's unorthodox approach works for and against him here...which will also work for and against different viewers...but nevertheless shakes up the monotony with skewed camera movement and angles. Of course, a lot of this has to do with the leads, as well, with Peduto pulling off stomach-churning old man to great effect, with his greasy hair, bad skin, foul mouth, and the subtly creepy sexuality directed toward his daughter; and Wyss running the full range of emotions from emotionally battered woman to full on psychotic effortlessly. In Wyss' case, the transformation is downright unsettling as the film heads into the third act; through makeup, wardrobe, and facial expressions, she deftly quashed my 30 year-old crush. Other lesser roles do well, also, with spoiler-free nods to Meredith's "visitors" midway through the movie, and props to the prop people as well, who created a house trapped in time, with a whole lot of neat stuff to look at.

    Ultimately, however, The Id manages to overshadow the competence on display through repetition, which, in the short running time, reminds viewers in multiple scenes that we JUST saw this. Yes, it is essential to repeatedly show Meredith gazing at her reflection and contemplating her existence. Yes, it is important to see the father repeatedly berate her to highlight the abuse. But too many scenes mirror earlier scenes, bogging the picture down. We know that Meredith dreams of a time when romance was key; these fantasy sequences, which appear to take place behind a haze of vaseline, are not needed in such numbers. We understand that other images of the past torment Meredith; again, we don't need multiple examples of this to hammer the point home. Strip away this excess, and perhaps we're left with The Id as a superior product, a powerful short film with all of its strengths concentrated, the fat trimmed away to reveal a new director with an eye for aesthetic, and some fantastic performances from very competent actors.

    Video/Audio/Extras:


    Hutson Ranch Media brings The Id to Blu-ray in an AVC-encoded 2.35:1 transfer that looks as good as it should for being digital video; blacks are solid, lines are sharp, and the colour palette is displayed appropriately. The format takes advantage of the low-light situations during interior scenes by remaining clear and defined even at their dimmest. Clarity will either work for or against Wyss' Meredith character (depending on your impression of the film) by making every line and blemish on her face dazzlingly apparent to creepy effect. No compression issues or other artifacts are visible.

    Audio for this release is a bit confusing; the commentary and stereo 2.0 track both get the LPCM treatment, while the primary audio track is a lossy English Dolby Digital 5.1 offering. It's not too much of a concern, as the subs and surrounds are either utilized very sparingly or not at all obvious, and the largely dialogue-driven soundtrack is perfectly adequate in either the 5.1 or 2.0 selection. No hiss, distortion, or pops are evident, and the spoken word is mixed well with the score and rest of the soundtrack.

    A number of extras are included on the disc as well. Aside from a Trailer for the film, we also have a Photo Gallery of over 50 images, a slideshow set to music from the film.

    Next up are five Audition Clips, where you can see the audition tapes for Patrick Peduto, Jamye Grant, Malcolm Matthews, Brent Witt, and Stefanie Guarino.

    A Behind The Scenes (8:55) is made up of various scenes being filmed on-set, but no cast interaction with the camera means that this is basically a look at the filming, and not much else.

    Needs, Wants, and Desires (25:25) is a much more thorough Behind the Scenes, looking at clips from the film and containing on-screen interviews with all of the major players...Hutson, screenwriter Sean H. Stewart, Amanda Wyss, Patrick Peduto, and others. The group talk enthusiastically about the development of the characters and the story, the individual roles, the dynamic and relationships between characters, and some aspects of the movie that may not have occurred to viewers. Anyone interested in the film would do well to skip right to this feature, as it also condenses a chunk of the valuable information found in the commentary.

    Ten Deleted and Alternate Scenes (6:29) are also available, some featuring title cards that explain why the scenes were cut. Overall, they don't add much to the film.

    A commentary, with Director Thommy Hutson and actress Amanda Wyss is also available, although it is somewhat lacking in technical detail. Wyss and Hutson do discuss the colour sceheme of the film as well as set dressing, but stick largely to discussing what's on the screen and what they were thinking while they were shooting the scene. There are some more discussions about the relationships between characters and some anecdotes from the set, but you'd be better off checking out the 25 minute featurette for a condensed version.

    The Final Word:

    The Id can be described at best as a good try by new Director Hutson; unfortunately, even with some solid acting and a curious aesthetic, it falters far too early to leave a lasting impression.


    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!






















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