A true indie film, made in Kansas City with a small cast and crew for a very small budget – I AM LISA is a refreshing entry in the “revenge” subgenre.
After inheriting a used bookstore from her grandmother, Lisa (Kristen Vaganos) decides to return to her small hometown to manage it. The town’s mean girl trio — Jessica (Carmen Anello), Dana, and Millie — arrive at the bookstore and immediately start making trouble, calling Lisa a loser because … well, it’s not immediately clear, but a big reason is because she’s queer … and steal an expensive, rare book before leaving.
Things get even worse when Jessica confronts Lisa alone and comes on to her. When Lisa declines her advances, Jessica gets violent causing Lisa to go to the Sheriff to report her assault. This is a BAD move, and honestly, a bit puzzling – as the Sheriff happens to be Jessica’s mother. Sheriff Deb (Manon Halliburton) wastes no time having the girls beat Lisa almost to death, and then instructs her son (a Deputy!) to dump her body in the woods for the wolves. Yup. Deb’s a power-mad, sadistic cop, and both of her offspring are just as bad.
While dumping Lisa’s broken body, Deputy Nick also decides to rape her – which, to Director Patrick Rea’s credit, happens off screen. Lying in the pitch black, dying, Lisa is bitten by a wolf and awakens the next morning feeling a little different. Full of rage and wanting some serious revenge. With the help of her best friend Sam (Jennifer Seward) and guidance from a regular bookstore customer with an affinity for the occult, Lisa realizes the wolf that bit her was not an ordinary animal and she’s becoming a powerful werewolf.
Alright, look, YES this sounds ridiculous – and it is! But, if you lean into that, you’ll enjoy it. I saw a lot of TRUE BLOOD influence in this, including it’s very over-the-top villains, which TBH, is hella entertaining. I also appreciate the skillful use of practical F/X, and you know I’m always here for empowering female-led horror.
You can tell the cast had a ton of fun making this, and watching this interview with the Director and actress Manon Halliburton (Deb) definitely confirms that. Everyone can, and should appreciate all the love that went into making it. A surprisingly entertaining watch!
I AM LISA is streaming on pretty every major rental platform now.