Directed by James Mangold (Girl Interupted, Kate and Leopold), Identity tells the story of a group of strangers, thrown together in the middle of the Nevada desert, in the middle of a storm, in a dingy motel with only the owner as current resident. The movie opens with snippets of their separates lives, and within minutes the initially confusing threads are fused together and we see the events which cause everyone to arrive at the motel. The cast is a plethora of mainly B-list (and the odd A-list) actors and actresses - amongst others we have Amanda Peet as the attractive prostitute, Ray Liotta as the policeman escorting a serial killer, Rebecca De Mornay as the spoiled actress who's just stormed off set, and John Cusack as DeMornays chauffeur. Sound clichéd so far?
If it does, it's for good reason. The opening - whilst containing some nice touches to link the characters to the scene - could be lifted out of any number of previous "thrillers". A group of people, stranded in the middle of nowhere, guess what happens? Yes, it goes without saying that one by one people start dying, and as the body count rises the hapless victims start wondering why they're being targeted and most importantly, who amongst them is the killer.
Identity is a brooding, dark film, with the majority of its running time set during the night, and in the middle of a thunder and rain storm. Both script and performances are adequate, whilst never really edging into the "this is gripping" territory, with everything feeling solid rather than inspired. Whilst containing some genuinely creepy moments, very few of the chills will come as a surprise to most people (see the laundry room scene for an example), although it must be said events are competently executed. It's a testament to the skill of the director that just as the viewer decides yes, we've been here and seen all this before, that he gives the ending an original - if somewhat confusing - twist. It works - to a point - though the premise tangles itself up slightly too much.
Overall this is a competent thriller, with a good cast, liberal sprinkling of blood and the obligatory Hollywood twist in the tail. Worth a look.