->"''As I was walking up the stair''
->''I met a man who wasn't there''
->''He wasn't there again today''
->''I wish I wish he'd go away''"
->[[OlderThanTheyThink "I wrote that."]]
''Identity'' is a 2003 psychological thriller starring Creator/JohnCusack, Amanda Peet and Ray Liotta.
Malcolm Rivers is a psychotic killer awaiting execution for the grisly murders that took place at a motel. His psychiatrist Dr. Mallick finds a new piece of evidence: a journal that may explain what actually happened that night and could exonerate Malcolm of the murders. With this evidence in hand, a new hearing takes place in which Dr. Mallick must persuade the Judge to spare Malcolm.
Meanwhile, 10 strangers arrive by chance at a motel run by the manager Larry Washington in the middle of the Nevada desert, each with their own agendas. The ten strangers are a limo driver (Ed Dakota) chauffeuring an 80s TV star (Caroline Suzanne), a cop (Officer Samuel Rhodes) transporting a convict (Robert Maine), a prostitute (Paris Nevada), a pair of newlyweds (Lou and Ginny Indiana), and a family (George, Alice and Timmy York). When bodies begin to pile up one by one with little explanation, the survivors must discover what connects them in order to save themselves from their fate.
'''This movie depends on a major TwistEnding. Proceed with caution.'''
!!This film provides examples of:
* AlienGeometries: The desert.
* BatmanGambit: The killer tricks one of the guests into getting hit by a truck by [[spoiler:standing directly in its path. His mother is similarly manipulated earlier by luring her into the road with an affectionate hand gesture through the window glass.]]
* BookEnds: The film opens with a recording of Dr. Malick's session with Ed Dakota, where Ed tells the doctor the "man going up the stairs" poem. At the very end, [[spoiler:Timmy, Malcolm Rivers' only remaining personality, forces Malcolm to murder Dr. Malick, and whispers the poem just before the screen fades to black.]]
* ChildrenAreInnocent: [[spoiler:Timmy horrifically subverts this]].
* ClosedCircle: Initially it's a conventional example, with the roads blocked by flooding and the phones and radios down because of the storm, but later becomes a little weirder (see GoingInCircles below).
* ContrivedCoincidence: At first the birthday reveal seems this way. Adding to the fact that all the names come from U.S. states, it turns out ThereAreNoCoincidences.
* CreepyChild: Timmy.
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: Roger Maine took an entire baseball bat down his throat.
* CruelTwistEnding: [[spoiler:It appears that Ed has managed to kill [[SplitPersonality Malcolm's murderous identity]] while sacrificing his own life and leaving only one survivor, making the movie seems like a BitterSweetEnding. But then it turns out that Ed had killed the wrong person, his sacrifice was in vain, and the murderous identity was still alive to kill the FinalGirl while causing Malcolm to kill one of the psychiatrists.]]
* CynicismCatalyst: The suicide of the Mexican girl that Ed fails to stop is what causes him to leave the LAPD.
* DirtyCop: Officer Rhodes shows signs of this, due to his brutality of Robert Maine and his interrogation with Larry. [[spoiler: As it turns out, the real cop is found dead in the police car's trunk.]]
* TheDogWasTheMastermind: [[spoiler:The entire plot consists of a [[TheReveal massive build up]] to who the murderer will be. Upon reaching the happy ending, it turns out it was the kid all along, and the viewer is treated to a hilarious montage that involves a grumpy looking kid walk away from an explosion and an obese maniac talking in a high voice.]]
* DownerEnding: [[spoiler:All of the other personalities are dead, leaving only the killer personality to take over and force Malcolm to strangle the therapist. At least the viewer can find some consolation in the fact that Rivers is highly unlikely to evade responsibility for the murder, and most similar downer endings wouldn't allow even that.]]
* TheEndingChangesEverything: [[spoiler:None of the people at the motel are real. They are only the figments of Malcolm Rivers' imagination, each of them a separate personality of his mind.]]
* EnemyWithin: [[spoiler:The entire treatment is set up to deal with this.]]
* EnfanteTerrible: [[spoiler:Timmy committed all the murders.]]
* EveryoneIsASuspect: Everyone, that is, except for [[spoiler:the true killer]].
* EveryoneIsATomato: About two thirds into the film, it's revealed that [[spoiler: every single character at the motel is a personality of Malcolm Rivers, and the whole movie was a plot to kill off his alternate identities, curing his Multiple Personality Disorder.]]
* FakePregnancy: Ginny confesses to her new husband that she lied about being pregnant [[DevelopingDoomedCharacters immediately before he is murdered]].
* FakingTheDead: The killer manages to elude the remaining guests this way, until [[spoiler:the very end]].
* FinalGirl: [[spoiler:Subverted. At the end it seems like Paris is the only one who made it... but then Timmy shows up to violently kill her with a rake]].
* FlatWhat: Ed's reaction when Dr. Malick tells him that [[spoiler:he is one of the split personalities of Malcolm. As it turns out, [[TomatoInTheMirror he wasn't kidding]]]].
* GenreSavvy: Ginny has a moment of this when she brings up the possibility of there being a connection between them all.
* GoingInCircles: What happens when one character tries to escape the hotel on foot.
* HellHotel: All the characters are stranded at a motel in the middle of nowhere that no one can leave. Then people start dying...
* TheHeroDies: [[spoiler:Both Ed and Paris, being the main heroic characters themselves, were killed in the end.]]
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:Ed pulls a TakingYouWithMe against Rhodes to save Paris. [[SenselessSacrifice Too bad Timmy's the real murderer.]]]]
* HookerWithAHeartOfGold: Paris Nevada.
* HopeSpot: They think they have things solved and under control a couple times.
* HostileWeather: By the time everyone arrives at the motel it is dark and storming.
* InterruptedSuicide: Ed Dakota describes how he failed to stop a suicide, and it caused him to crack up and leave the LAPD. As he describes it, the girl planning to kill herself gave Dakota the perfect opportunity to save her: She asked him for something worth living for. Dakota froze for just a moment, unable to think of anything, and the girl jumped.
* IronicNurseryTune: "Antigonish" by Hughes Mearns, as shown in the page quote.
* KillEmAll: [[spoiler:By the end of the film, every split personality in Malcolm, except Timmy, is dead.]]
* TheKillerInMe: [[spoiler:The ultimate goal is to eliminate Malcolm's killer personality.]]
* LocationThemeNaming: All characters are named after U.S. states.
* MentalStory: [[spoiler:It's presented as being weird events happening in the real world until the reveal.]]
* MutualKill: [[spoiler:Ed and Rhodes kills each other this way in a gunfight, with Ed himself dying after talking to Paris.]]
* NoBodyLeftBehind: One of the major clues that something is off happens when [[spoiler:the bodies of the victims up to that point completely vanish]].
* NotHelpingYourCase: When Rhodes accuses Larry of being the killer, he responds by holding Paris at knifepoint while babbling that he did not kill anyone.
* NothingIsScarier: Played straight when [[spoiler: Ginny's boyfriend goes from frantically pounding on the door to sudden total silence.]]
* OedipusComplex: Rivers's mother was a prostitute, and [[spoiler: one of his personalities]] is as well - and most of the male characters find her very appealing.
* [[OffWithHisHead Off With Her Head]]: The first victim's head is found in one of the laundry dryers.
* OneSteveLimit: Averted with Larry who shares the same first name as [[spoiler:the actual motel owner]].
* OntologicalMystery: All the guests are trapped in the motel during a bad rainstorm that knocked out the power lines, ensuring that no one can call for help.
* RabidCop: Officer Samuel Rhodes.
* RedHerring: Numerous examples.
** [[spoiler:The B-Plot is set up as being related to Roger Maine, until Malcolm Rivers shows up and the proceedings begin]].
** [[spoiler:The hotel is supposedly on an ancient IndianBurialGround]].
** [[spoiler:Nearly every character is set up to be the killer except for the actual killer]].
* SelfMadeOrphan: [[spoiler:Timmy kills both his parents over the course of the story.]]
* SplitPersonalityTakeover: [[spoiler:After his treatment all of Malcolm's alternate personalities are gone... except for the single psychotic one.]]
* TenLittleMurderVictims: The usual formula is played with in that there are [[spoiler:two unrelated killers.]]
* TomatoInTheMirror: [[spoiler:With an actual mirror. TheReveal was done using a pretty slick editing technique. Ed Dakota picks up a mirror, sees Malcolm Rivers in the reflection, and drops it in shock only for the camera to pan back and reveal Malcolm]].
* UnflinchingWalk: The killer pulls one off when the vehicle that Ginny and Timmy run to explodes.
* TheVoiceless: Timmy. He makes sniffs of sadness when Larry and Rhodes were arguing with each other, was shocked to [[spoiler:find his mom dead in her deathbed]], and [[spoiler:spoke to Paris before killing her.]]
* VorpalPillow: How the killer finishes off [[spoiler:Alice York.]] Played slightly more realistically since [[spoiler: he uses hands instead of a porous pillow]], and [[spoiler:Alice was already seriously injured in a car accident]].
* WhiteShirtOfDeath: [[spoiler:Ed himself at the end.]]
* YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle: [[spoiler:At the end, when it looks like Paris made it out alive as the final survivor, Timmy came out of nowhere to kill her.]]