Release Date: 2018.
Director: Matthew Butler-Hart.
Producers: Matthew Butler-Hart and Tori Butler-Hart.
Written By: Matthew Butler-Hart and Tori Butler-Hart.
Cast: Conleth Hill, Alex Hassell, Tori Butler-Hart, Fisayo Akinade, Alix Wilton Regan, Graham Butler and Emma King.
Running Time: 1 hour and 36 minutes.
The year is 1876. A merchant ship has sunk off the coast of Scotland. Three weary survivors are lost in the fog desperately scanning, searching for a safe harbor as one of them is severely injured.
Mother Nature’s mood brightens, the fog dissipates and the survivors rejoice as they find the isle of the title. Their happiness and relief is quickly replaced by confusion and fear once they discover all that is left of the isle’s inhabitants are two fathers and their daughters.
The survivors are warned not to go out at night, not to roam the isle alone and to beware of the voices whispering in the trees.
Torn apart by their duty to solve the mystery and their desire to take their chances on the open sea and flee the isle as quickly as possible, the survivors find themselves the targets of a dark and vengeful force.
Based on that description alone you might guess that The Isle borrows heavily from the likes of The Wicker Man and The Village. You would be right although it does so in spirit only. The Isle stands on its own as a creepy albeit deliberate and unhurried supernatural tale which weaves in a mythological element or two.
That measured approach is what might throw some restless viewers off as the pacing is somewhat erratic too. For the most part the filmmakers follow a patient clip that could be too calculated for restless horror fans, however, towards the final act things unspool rather rapidly, maybe too rapidly as there are some simple questions that rise to the surface concerning some of the unexplained plot points, unsolved mysteries.
Where is Robert Stack when you need him, eh?
Those lingering questions might sink the entire film for you, they might not.
Like all gothic horror it is the setting and tone which will either pull you in or have you catching a few Zs. You are either a fan of relaxed and moody gothic horror or you are not. The Isle won’t win over any naysayers out there.
Taking his cues from The Evil Dead and Cabin in the Woods, director and writer Matthew Butler-Hart has assembled a strong cast, including Conleth Hill, Lord Varys from Game of Thrones, and has put them in a familiar environment with familiar trappings.
That is part of the problem though. Even though it won Best Sci Fi/Horror Film at the London Independent Film Festival, The Isle might be just too recognizable, too routine due to its predecessors to keep your interest despite the skillful talent at work in front of and behind the camera. For those who can shake the feeling of déja vu and overlook the plot holes, a tour of The Isle on a rainy afternoon might be worth it for the atmosphere alone.
Two people fall to their deaths.
Two people are found dead.
A victim is choked to death, drowned.
One tame simulated sex scene, one PG rape scene.
Jim Bickley: It is a good job I love porridge.
Douglas Innis: This is a dead isle. We are only here because we have no choice.
Lanthe Innis: There is nothing out there…not any more.
Pints of Blood