The Isle Image

The Isle

By Alan Ng | February 8, 2019

When night falls, Gosling, Ferris, and Bickley must solve the mystery of the isle and figure out a way to go home. While attempting to sleep the crew begins to hear strange whispers, see and not see mysterious figures, and meet a crazed woman, Korrigan (Alix Wilton Regan).

The Isle is a supernatural thriller, as opposed to a horror film. Ghostly things happen on the isle, and the ship’s crew serve as our guide to figure it out. The isle hosts are tightlipped and hiding a secret, and everything escalates to a conclusion. Any gore or jump scares are tame and kept to a minimum.

“…it’s a nice film that could have used a lot more edge.”

The film’s writers Tori and Matthew Hart tell a tale based loosely on Scottish ghostly folklore with inspiration from Greek sirens. The mystery of the film is revealed to us by Gosling ultimately saying to his hosts “Tell me what’s going on.” As opposed to just dropping clues and letting it audience figure it out. This is the only significant weakness of the film. If you’re going to tell audiences what the mystery is, it turns us into passive viewers watching events unfold as opposed to active viewers working out the mystery.

The film is beautifully shot…as beautiful as a foggy isle gets. The costumes and sets feel real for the period and the environment, which is remarkable for low-budget filmmakers to pull off. The acting is excellent all around. The film’s suspense comes mostly from ghostly appearances acting as little bits of spice in a slow-paced Victorian drama. The final reveal ties everything nicely together. It’s a nice film that could have used a lot more edge.

The Isle (2018) Directed by Matthew Butler Hart. Written by Tori and Matthew Butler Hart. Starring Conleth Hill, Alex Hassell, Tori Butler Hart, Fisayo Akinade, and Graham Butler. The Isle played as part of the 2018 Irvine International Film Festival.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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  1. Bonnie Kidd says:

    I thought it was edgy enough. The plot required Oliver, the lone survivor, to know what had happened on the isle so that he could resist the siren song of the two girls and the murdered woman who controls them from beyond the grave. He can’t resist them, and they sacrifice themselves to save him and free themselves from the curse that has been imposed upon them. The plot is slow, but that is no problem for horror buffs like me who like to see character development and lots of atmosphere (and very little blood and gore) in our horror films. The cast is wonderful, and the film is very well written and beautifully photographed. For a low-budget indie, this film is a real winner. I highly recommend it to horror buffs who prefer the films from the forties and fifties, before Special Effects became the star of countless movies and gore found its audience of sickos with endless appetites. What a refreshing change it is to see a horror film with artistic merit to spare and no gratuitous violence.

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