Reviews | Written by Martin Unsworth 28/08/2020

I AM LISA [FrightFest 2020]


Patrick Rea’s take on the werewolf legend is a brutal watch, full of mean-spirited folk who you can’t wait for them to get what they deserve.

Lisa (Kristen Vaganos) is a quiet girl who has returned to her small, home town to run the bookstore her grandmother left when she died. She’s beleaguered by Jess (Carmen Anello) and her gang, who make her life a misery. She can’t even report her since she’s the daughter of sheriff (Manon Halliburton), who is an even nastier piece of work. She does try, but gets beaten (and worse!) and left for dead in the woods; food for the wolves, or so they think. Lisa is bitten, but survives and now possesses powers she could never dream of. For Lisa, it’s time to get even.

We’ve seen lycan films often, but I Am Lisa brings a more streamlined look to the snarling beasts, mostly just giving them fangs and strange eyes. This doesn’t make them any less scary or effective, though. Lisa’s a likeable character, as are her friends, but luckily, this doesn’t go into Teen Wolf territory.

Eric Winkler’s script provides some really evil characters, only just stopping short at pantomime level, and Rea’s direction gives us enough to be horrified about without going over the top with showing us (particularly in a nasty scene involving the sheriff’s deputy), which we’re thankful for.

While it might not be the hairy wolf we’re used to, I Am Lisa has plenty of bite and will resonate with much of its audience.