This film was made in 2005 and screened at the Fantastic Fest film festival a year later, winning best picture and best director. It deserves it. There are so many gems like this that get overlooked, and it’s also one of those films that you recommend to everyone you know – thus this review.
For some reason it was a new release at my local Blockbuster, but we do tend to get films later than everyone else in Australia. I like the odd horror film and this is nothing like any other recent entry in the genre. There’s no masked killer, no attractive girls running through the forest and no creatively vicious deaths.
Isolation is an Irish film written and directed by Billy O’Brien (who has criminally made nothing since for some reason). It really is an edge of your seat thriller with an indie film approach and the suspense of Hitchcock at his best. There’s not a huge cast, or lots of eerie music, and it’s arty look makes it immediately leave all standard slasher films in its wake.
Now, here’s the hard sell. Isolation is set in a remote farm where a genetically engineered cow gives birth to something rather nasty, and blood and terror ensues. It may seem like a laughable concept but it’s anything but. There’s definite nods to the classic Alien and even though it’s set in a somber and muddy place the farm looks textured and claustrophobic. I was genuinely surprised a few times and the make-up effects are subtly gross, but don’t worry there’s nothing resembling a cow on its hind legs squirting acid from its udders. It’s a slow burn with engaging characters in a desperate situation.
Just watch this film if you see it on the shelves. It’s a daring approach in a genre that too often tries anything but.