Taking the well-worn ‘rape-revenge’ model and giving it a new set of clothes, I Am Lisa delivers something a little bit different.

It’s not entirely successful – the film arguably loses steam when it tries to pick up the pace late on, but it certainly has a lot going for it.

Billing itself as ‘I Spit On Your Grave meets Ginger Snaps’, the film centres on Lisa (Kristen Vaganos), who has moved back to smalltown Missouri to run a used book store after a relative passes away.

Having studied in Spain and being a lover of culture, Lisa sticks out like a sore thumb among the beer-chugging, intellectually challenged folk around her, leading to a number of dust-ups with local sheriff Deb Huckins (Manon Halliburton) and a number of her lackeys, led by the sheriff’s daughter Jessica (Carmen Anello).

In fact, Lisa becomes such an inconvenience for the powers-that-be that they decide the best thing to do is to get rid of her completely, beating her to a bloody mess before dumping her in the woods, expecting the local pack of wolves to finish the job.

But the wolves don’t finish the job, instead imbuing Lisa with supernatural powers, powers that will allow her to take her bloody revenge…

Director Patrick Rea does a good job of scene-setting and building the mood and the first hour or so is really enjoyable.

There’s obviously a real push for a feminist angle here – after all, while the ‘victim’ being female is par for the course, the fact the goons are also female (save one deputy sheriff) certainly adds a fresh slant on things.

Also helping is Vaganos, whose performance as the threatened but steely Lisa really anchors the film (the film also scores brownie points for having Lisa be a big Vincent Price fan – there’s a Masque of the Red Death poster in her apartment and Lisa is shown watching a screening of The Last Man On Earth earlier on). Vaganos may be slender but she exudes determination and will fight her corner, whatever the odds.

The other characters (aside from Lisa’s friend Sam) are nothing more than pantomime villains really – but as the film focuses on Lisa’s thirst for revenge, it makes sense to have them as cardboard cutout ‘baddies’.

But, having laid the foundations well, the time comes for Lisa to take her revenge, and this is where things start to go wrong. Some ropey effects, some silly dialogue and over-the-top acting and the film descends into looking something cheap – a fact it had impressively managed to avoid in that first hour.

There is also an over-reliance on drone tracking shots across the small town, a trick obviously meant to add some gloss, but actually coming across as unnecessary.

I Am Lisa remains a watchable film – enjoyable even – but its flaws stop it from being must-watch material.

Arrow Video Frightfest Digital Review: I Am Lisa
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About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle