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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Isle 2018 * * 1/2 Stars

The IsleDirector: Matthew Butler-Hart
Year: 2018
Rated NR
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Alex Hassell, Conleth Hill, Tori Butler-Hart

2018's The Isle is my latest review. Set to be released in April of this year, it's a pseudo-horror pic that's distributed by DC Films (no relation to DC Comics). Added to that, "Isle" has a cast of virtual unknowns to go along with its sunless and soil-like, 1800's setting.

So OK, The Isle comes off as the ultimate cinematic tease in trepidation fare. And yes, the movie contains flashbacks that readily deflate any of the story's put-on scare factors. Still, "Isle" is gorgeously shot and has just enough earthy atmosphere and goad determinants to keep you involved as a viewer. I would compare it to something spectral I might have seen on the BBC network circa 1983.

Anyway, The Isle contains almost no gore, characters with contemporary European accents, and plenty of foreboding fog. In all honesty, if you like your mystery components to have more layman style than substance, then "Isle" will give you your stand-in fix. And if you like your ghostly persona to have softened, Evil Dead-style voices, then The Isle will satisfy your psyche of all things that go bump bump in the night.

Directed by Brit Matthew Butler-Hart, containing an effective yet repetitive musical score, and harboring lush cinematography by rookie Pete Wallington (he's done mostly shorts and TV docs), "Isle" is about three shipwreck survivors who stumble upon a haunted island off the west coast of Scotland. Said island has only four living people on it and an uncannily cryptic past. Before long, mild chaos ensues in the form of frazzled women inhabitants with spooky blue eyes. As Jack Nicholson said in The Shining, "you got a big surprise coming to you". I guess so.

All in all, helmer Matthew Butler-Hart gives The Isle a slow burn quality, a whimsical remnant, and a sense that something dreadful is coming. It's just a shame that despite all that buildup, his flick never quite takes off. Heck, Isle of Dogs might be a better vehicle containing the word "Isle" (natch). My rating: 2 and a half stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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