I AM LISA Review – A Compelling Female-Led Werewolf Story With Bite
Check out Michelle Swope's review of the werewolf horror I AM LISA!
Starring Kristen Vaganos, Jennifer Seward, Manon Halliburton
Written by Eric Winkler
Directed by Patrick Rea
March is Women’s History month and what better way for horror fans to celebrate than with a female-driven werewolf story. The independent film comes at a time when werewolves seem to be experiencing a resurgence. Written and executive produced by Eric Winkler and directed by Patrick Rea (Nailbiter, Arbor Demon), I Am Lisa follows a young woman as she is bullied and ultimately finds herself in the process of fighting back. Kristen Vaganos (Mommy Would Never Hurt You, Bulge Bracket) gives a standout performance as Lisa, who is unwillingly turned into a werewolf. Manon Halliburton gives a devilish performance as the evil Sheriff Deborah Huckins and Carmen Anello is great as the Shefiff’s equally awful daughter, Jessica.
Lisa runs a bookstore and except for hanging out with her best friend Samantha, played by Jennifer Seward, she keeps to herself. That doesn’t stop a gang of locals from regularly harassing her and their ringleader just happens to be the Sheriff’s daughter, Jessica. Jessica is a drug dealer and seems to have gotten her horrible personality from her mother. The Sheriff’s sister, Mary, comes into the bookstore and buys books about the supernatural, and unlike her relatives, she’s nice to Lisa. With the exception of a mysterious man named Dolphus who spends too much time in the woods, the Sheriff doesn’t like anyone and enjoys making people suffer. After being relentlessly bullied by Jessica and her gang, Lisa attempts to stand up for herself. Apparently, this was a mistake, because the incident causes the Sheriff to beat Lisa up and then leave her, bleeding, in the woods for wolves.
When Lisa wakes up the next day, she remembers being bitten by a wolf and realizes she suddenly doesn’t need her glasses to see clearly. Even more strange, Lisa also realizes she is drawn to the smell of blood. Her best friend, Samantha, knows something is wrong with Lisa, but also knows that the Sheriff wants her dead, so she reports Lisa as missing. This causes the Sheriff and her goons to begin hunting for Lisa so they can kill her, but Lisa has already begun taking out the gang who bullied her one by one.
I Am Lisa may be an independent film, but the cast, especially Kristen Vaganos, are incredibly talented and the special effects are simple, but effective. This film once again proves that you don’t need a big budget to make a good movie. The werewolf makeup looks fantastic and it’s easy to be impressed with how wisely the filmmakers used their small budget in making this movie. Lisa’s transformations are minimal, but the resulting practical effects are killer.
Lisa becomes physically ill after killing someone and confides in Samantha that she feels like she is losing herself. Mary tells Lisa she knows what she’s going through and gives her a book that explains the mental and physical transformation Lisa has been experiencing and warns her about the approaching full moon. The Sheriff grows tired of the cat and mouse game she’s been playing with Lisa and kidnaps Samantha in an attempt to get Lisa to come to her. The result is a violent, final showdown between the Sheriff and Lisa, which ultimately makes Lisa realize that she may not have lost herself, but instead she could be embarking on a journey of self-discovery.
I Am Lisa features an amazing performance from Kristen Vaganos, outstanding practical effects, and tells a compelling werewolf story which would make for a perfect triple feature with other spectacular female-led werewolf movies like Ginger Snaps (2000) and Good Manners (2017). I Am Lisa succeeds in making producing an expertly done low budget movie look effortless. I really enjoyed this one. I Am Lisa will be available on digital, on demand, and DVD and Blu-ray on March 16th from Mutiny Pictures.
I Am Lisa features a talented cast, gnarly makeup effects, and tells an intriguing werewolf story from a female perspective with bite.