I am Lisa (USA, 2020)

A bullied woman exacts revenge on her tormentors after she is given a new power in this thriller from director Patrick Rea.

Lisa LeRoux is a small-town bookstore owner who just loves being there for the community. However, she finds trouble in the form of Jessica Huckins, the town bully who with her friends Millie and Dana, run the town and it is no surprise why. Jessica’s mother, Deborah, is the sheriff of the town and along with her brother Nick, run the town as if they own the town themselves. When Jessica pushes Lisa too far, Lisa complains to Deborah only to get a surprise.

Deborah punches Lisa out and has Jessica and her friends beat her up so bad. Nick brings Lisa’s pummeled body to the forest, where she is set to be “left for the wolves”. However, when Lisa does encounter a wolf, she gets bitten instead of eaten. Lisa soon learns she is becoming a werewolf. She decides to use her newfound powers to exact revenge on Jessica and her friends as well as get revenge on the sheriff and her brother. However, along the way, Lisa is worried she may never be the same and lose her humanity in the process.

A story that’s part-horror, part-emotional drama, this is quite an interesting werewolf tale from director Patrick Rea. Eric Winkler’s script shows our titular character Lisa, played by Kristin Vaganos, not only seeking revenge on her tormentors but also attempting to deal with balancing staying human along with her newfound wolf abilities. It’s great to see that duality of Lisa showing her werewolf side, complete with yellow eyes and fangs, getting her revenge in various ways while the next minute you see her vomiting and scared knowing what she has done.

The villains of the film are stereotypical. The sheriff, played by Manon Halliburton, is the one who abuses her authority to serve and protect and only cares about hurting those who stand up against her. Even worse, she lets her daughter practically bully the whole town along with her two cohorts. Funny enough, one of those cohorts tend to be more sympathetic but because she didn’t do anything during Lisa’s beating, Lisa makes her the first victim of her werewolf rage and it’s done in an Exorcist-style manner.

The only characters you feel for aside from Lisa are her bestie Jen, played by Jennifer Seward; and Mary, a regular customer at the bookstore, played by Cinnamon Schultz. Mary and Jen attempt to help Lisa cope with her newfound powers and how she can both keep her humanity in check while still keeping her wolf powers in check. It is clear that Lisa is only using her powers for revenge and lets her humanity and good heart keep her sane with the support of both Jen and Mary.

I am Lisa brings nothing much new to the werewolf genre. However, to see someone afflicted with lycanthropy attempting to balance between her quest of revenge and keeping her humanity in check is pretty good enough, thanks in part to lead star Kristin Vaganos’ performance in the titular role.

WFG RATING: C+

Mutiny Pictures presents a Feed the Queen production. Director: Patrick Rea.  Producers: Patrick Rea, Tony Ontiveros, Jake Jackson, Jackie De Wispelare, Sara DeMore, and Kipp Feldt. Writer: Eric Winkler. Cinematography: Hanuman Brown-Eagle. Editing: Patrick Rea.

Cast: Kristin Vaganos, Jennifer Seward, Carmen Anello, Manon Halliburton, Chris Bylsma, Cinnamon Schultz, Sarah McGuire, Millie Milan, Shawn Eric Jones, Brooklyn Funk.

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