Identity Starring: John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet Director: James Mangold The film: It was a dark and stormy night ... Such a cliched beginning would trigger suspicion among most viewers, but sadly the beginning of Identity is the only compelling part. The fast and graphic opening scenes (with special effects that allow people to be hit by cars with skin-crawling believability) will reel you in, but frustratingly, director James Mangold (Girl, Interrupted and Cop Land) fails to keep you on the hook. He wastes no time introducing the 10 main characters who are stranded in a fleabag hotel in a flood-bound Nevada town. Those holed up include ex-cop (John Cusack), hooker (Amanda Peet), cop (Ray Liotta), a washed-up actress (Rebecca DeMornay), a family of three and a nervous hotel manager. Then, one by one - and in room-number order - they die. It's during the ensuing bloodbath that we see the characters discover more about themselves (a simple task given how one-dimensional they are). While the plot thickens, well, curdles, and the body count rises, a parallel plot unfolds on the other side of town where a psychiatrist (Alfred Molina) is bidding to win a last-minute stay of execution for his swivel-eyed client (Pruitt Taylor Vince) who may or may not be suffering from a multiple-personality disorder. The storyline harks back to John Huston's Key Largo (1948), but here Mangold mixes noirish thriller with slasher horror with nods to Alfred Hitchcock's Pyscho (1960), and throws in a head-in-the-dryer scene that would give any splatter movie a run for its gory money. All the staples of the horror genre are here, including characters wandering off alone to the darkest parts of the hotel where they - shock horror - meet a gruesome end. There are also lots of twists and turns along the way, but most will have you scratching your head wondering where it's all going. The extras: Nothing special about this Special Edition. The highlight is an option to view the exclusive branched version of the film with an alternative ending and additional scene. But don't blink or you might miss them. There's a discussion from Mangold on his perspectives regarding different aspects of filmmaking and a flimsy 'On The Set' short. The verdict: Don't judge a DVD by its cover.