Isolation

Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Essie Davis, Sean Harris, Marcel Iures, Crispin Letts, John Lynch
Director: Billy O’Brien

The term Irish horror movie is not something that you would come across often, if ever. Writer/director Billy O’Brien uses a number of influences from growing up on a farm and his love of science fiction to come up with an interesting story that on the surface seems original but does owe a nod to at least a number of classic monster movies, ALIEN and THE THING being two that come to mind.

Not all is what it seems down at the farm. With a couple of travellers illegally parking their caravan on the outskirts of his farm, Dan (John Lynch) has enough problems on his plate with a cow that is in the middle of a difficult birth. Needing help, he asks the travellers for their help. In order to stay on Dan’s good side, Jamie (Sean Harris) tells Mary (Ruth Negga) that he will be right back. When Dan finally separates the calf from its mother, Dan checks the calf’s mouth who then bites off part of Dan’s finger.

Jamie helps Dan bandage his wound up and returns to Mary. Orla (Essie Davis), the vet, visits Dan to see how he is getting on with the experiment. When Orla realises that the experiment has gone wrong, she kills the calf. Doing the autopsy, Orla finds that the calf was already pregnant and she begins to question what John (Marcel Iures) was trying to do with this experiment. Orla tells Dan to keep the cow separate to the rest of the herd in case there is a spread of infection to the other livestock.

The next morning, Jamie and Mary check in to see how Dan is from the previous night’s ordeal. Dan asks Jamie if he would feed the cows for him and as he does this, something bites him on the ankle. Dan then gets a visit from the local police and finds out that Orla is missing. Surprised by this, Dan discovers that Orla returned to the farm during the night. John eventually appears and starts checking through Orla’s autopsy of the calf. Meanwhile, Dan is not feeling well and is throwing up and Jamie is running a fever. What is this experiment and could it possibly kill everyone on the farm?

It is not clear at the start of the movie as to what is actually going on but you can easily figure it out in no time. The direction and camera work take you down to the same level the characters have to go through and at times, you do feel like you are almost there with them. With the actors taking on a script like this, their performances are convincing and that somehow makes what could have easily been a cheap looking horror movie into an atmospheric and enjoyable one.

The DVD includes a couple of short documentaries; one on how and why the actors took on their roles and the other is about the movie’s production and design.

4 out of 6 stars

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