The Id Blu-ray Review

Director Thommy Hutson’s first movie is a psychological thriller starring Amanda Wyss

A woman loses her grip on reality caring for an abusive father in director Thommy Hutson’s psychological thriller. From people behind the excellent Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy documentary, The Id explores blurring the line between fantasy and reality. Amanda Wyss (A Nightmare on Elm Street) gives a strong lead performance as her character spirals into a terrifying world of madness, paranoia and pain. This is okay genre fodder with a few mistakes by its rookie director.

Middle-aged Meredith Lane (Amanda Wyss) cares for her elderly father (Patrick Peduto). Both are living together like virtual shut-ins, as a care service comes by weekly to deliver food. Meredith is tormented and taunted by her father, trapped in his tyrannical control over her. It’s an unhealthy living situation that would drive almost anyone crazy. Her isolation from the world and her father’s constant barrage of demands has finally pushed Meredith’s mind near its breaking point.

Meredith retreats more and more into fantasy scenarios of happier times. When an old boyfriend from high school calls her up for the first time in many years, she begins fantasizing about their sexual encounters. When Meredith’s father tries to stop their potential meeting, her broken dreams coalesce into a terrifying nightmare that soon become reality. Unable to cope anymore with the constant abuse, Meredith starts fantasizing about killing her father. From that point things spiral out of control. A concerned care worker starts questioning Meredith’s behavior as the police get involved.

Meredith’s transformation from doting daughter to psychotic caretaker is credibly handled

The Id is a psychological drama that takes things a step farther than usual into horror. It’s intimate storytelling about a woman slowly losing her mind and predictably turning to violence as a response. Meredith is strongly played by Wyss with a sympathetic portrayal. The audience is supposed to feel for her plight even as she turns completely insane. Meredith’s transformation from doting daughter to psychotic caretaker is credibly handled. The plotting and characterization tends to go over the top. There is nothing subtle in how things develop for Amanda and her father.

What doesn’t really work is Meredith’s father as a character. He’s a completely unsympathetic monster, a stock caricature pulled from prior movies. Their dynamic is rough to handle as a viewer. Which makes the entire first act tough to digest as we learn about Meredith’s repressed nature. The constant verbal abuse she receives sets up the film’s unfolding suspense.

The movie repeatedly hits you over the head with the father’s cantankerous nature. At one point he urinates on himself to anger Meredith. We are to believe that Meredith would have hung around all these years despite decades of mistreatment from him. It doesn’t really pass the smell test as believable.

The Id is convincing psychological horror, if unpolished. The intensely emotional script could have been tightened up, undercutting Amanda Wyss’s strong lead performance. I expect a tighter next movie from Thommy Hutson after he learns from these mistakes.

The Id Blu-ray screen shot 10

Video

The Id is truly an independent production. New distributor Hutson Ranch Media’s first Blu-ray effort looks serviceable in HD. Those expecting dynamic, vivid picture quality are likely to be disappointed by the low-budget movie’s video. The 87-minute main feature is encoded in sub-par AVC at mediocre video bitrates, averaging in the lower teens. Found on a BD-25, this disc shows an inexperienced label at transferring movies to Blu-ray. Faint chroma noise and mild macroblocking soften its video. It is presented in its appropriate 2.35:1 scope ratio at 1080P resolution.

The actual cinematography is a dismally flat experience, lacking a strong color palette. Definition is okay. Close-ups are fairly sharp, showing moderate levels of fine detail. There aren’t significant problems. This flat video appears to be intentional. Much as Meredith seems trapped in her high school memories from the 1980s, there isn’t much to the video that signifies modern HD. A few highly stylized dream sequences are shown in soft, diffuse lighting.

Independent filmmaking on a budget rarely produces stellar video quality on home video and The Id is no exception. This is adequate HD with a Blu-ray transfer that is slightly rough around the edges.

Audio

A fairly limited 5.1 Dolby Digital surround track at 448 kbps is the primary audio option. It does offer some channel separation and discrete, rear surround cues. The 2.0 PCM stereo soundtrack actually sounds better in terms of fidelity and active bass. The lossy DD mix lacks the crispness of the PCM sound. I have a feeling the surround mix was added after the fact, since the stereo mix’s more coherent soundstage and tighter dynamics have a cleaner feeling. The Dolby Digital audio also has softer dialogue.

The Id has standard fidelity for a new, independent production. You’ll have to make the call between a stronger stereo mix or the more open surround mix.

No subtitles are included.

Extras

The Id certainly receives a plethora of supplements for an independent film, including an engaging making-of documentary and commentary. These are worth checking out and in some ways end up more entertaining than the movie itself.

Audio Commentary with Director Thommy Hutson and Actress Amanda Wyss – This is a lively, fun discussion with Amanda Wyss being more involved than most cast members on a commentary. She recalls her experiences during filming and various personal anecdotes.

The Id Trailer (01:58 in HD)

Photo Gallery (02:00 in HD)

Audition Clips (08:45 in upscaled SD) – Auditions for Patrick Peduto, Jamye Grant, Malcolm Matthews, Brent Witt, and Stefanie Guarino

Behind The Scenes of The Id (08:55 in HD) – Footage from the set that shows the inner workings of the director and cast.

“Needs, Wants & Desires” (25:25 in HD) – A behind-the-scenes featurette with the director and several prominent cast members. This is a full-blown making-of documentary worth watching.

Deleted and Alternate Scenes (06:29 in HD) – Ten scenes that didn’t make the final cut.

Trailers (03:50 in HD) – These play before the main menu: Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy, Crystal Lake Memories, More Brains: A Return To The Living Dead

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not influenced DoBlu’s editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

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