THE ISLE (2018) Reviews and overview


‘Their song will haunt you’
The Isle is a 2018 British supernatural horror film directed by Matthew Butler-Hart (short: E’gad, Zombies!) from a screenplay co-written with Tori Butler-Hart. The Fizz and Ginger Films-Great Point Media production stars Conleth Hill, Alex Hassell, Fisayo Akinade and the aforementioned Tori Butler Hart.

1846: On the west coast of Scotland, a heavy storm hits, causing a ship to sink. Three survivors row through a thick early morning mist, lost and disorientated. The mist begins to clear and The Isle appears before them.

They soon discover that it is almost abandoned except for four sole residents: an old harbour man, a farmer, his niece and a young mad woman. Once rested and recovered the sailors are desperate to leave and return to the mainland, but the promised boat never appears.

One of them starts to investigate and learns of a tragedy at sea that occurred five years previously causing several young men from the island to perish. When his two shipmates meet with accidents, the myth of a ghostly siren haunting the island leads him to uncover the truth whilst he battles to save his own life…

“What works so well in The Isle is its merging of old and new, ancient and modern: sirens originating from Greek mythology, sailors’ traditions, a Victorian ghost story written by 21st century writers. Its aesthetic sensibility often feels, in its clean lines and muted colour scheme, stylistically modern.” Caution Spoilers

The Isle is a somber Gothic Horror piece that dances between fairy tale and Historical Fiction. Artfully authored and wonderfully performed, The Isle swims through some remarkably unique territory to create a tale that is nothing short of filmic literature.” Cryptic Rock

” …little actually happens for most of the film. But it’s the increasing sense of unease which makes this successful, in part due to the movie’s rural setting but also a small cast of actors whose muted performances keep things tense if for the most part unexplained…” Dark Eyes of London

The Isle is an effective thriller that uses its low budget to its advantage, producing something that is high on atmosphere and intrigue. If you find yourself with a craving for nineteenth century fog and gothic tendencies, it might just be worth a visit.” The Digital Fix

“The creepiness of The Isle is conjured through dream sequences, a thick mist and what seems to be a ghost. It is over-melodramatic at times but, as tales of its type go, I found it pretty engaging.” Every Film

” …whispers in the dark, half-glimpsed spectres in the woods, characters with shifty looks who’re not exactly revealing what they know […] The Isle is indebted to classic horror, but to its credit, always feels like its trying to do its own thing.” Flickering Myth

The Isle is exquisitely-wrought Gothic horror through and through, made all the more intense because of its location and the great use of detail, but also because of its exposition of the psychological too, a convention its shares with its Gothic predecessors, and part of what I mean when I refer to “sensory ambiguity”. The 405

“Despite the low budget, the production design, the sound of the film and the cinematography are all first rate, with a very good, haunting score from Tom Kane […] While this may not be as terrifying as some, it is still creepy and haunting.” The Grump of Horror

” …in some way the entire action of the movie could be seen as an extended bad dream. Butler-Hart shows great craftsmanship in his efficient use of location – he could even have afforded to be brasher in the scary moments, but I appreciated his cool approach.” The Guardian

” …The Isle is a welcome throwback to the slow burn paranormal yarns of old (both Victorian and ’70’s supernatural cinema) and will surely satisfy aficionados of Lovecraft or Poe while coming across as unique and special in this age of remakes and slasher fappery.” Horror Fuel

” …it makes for an atmospheric and intriguing story. The visuals and the music are both stunning, but unfortunately the acting and the script don’t quite match up to the vast potential of the idea.” Jump Cut Online

” …the picture’s a pleasure to watch throughout, largely because of Eilean Shona. The Butler-Harts built their story around the place, and don’t squander any of the spectacular scenery. This island looks like something from a dark fairy tale…” Los Angeles Times

“The cast, headed by Conleth Hill (Game of Thrones) is terrific and the tension builds as the thick fog of mystery is slowly evaporated revealing a dark and supernatural desire for vengeance. But the main character of the film is the Island itself.” Nightmarish Conjurings

” …the girls stole the show; Tori Butler Hart and Alix Wilton Regan were outstanding.  Both girls were stunning in both appearance of costume and makeup as well as acting.  They were intense, gripping and quite frankly, creepy as well…” Rosie Hughes Review World

“A film you won’t soon forget and a score that stays in your head like the most lovely earworm, The Isle is a seductive mistress. Stream this anywhere and prepare to be enchanted by this alluring movie.” Signal Horizon

“A truly homegrown labour of love, this is highly accomplished and passionate filmmaking. It’s refreshing, even heartening, to see a production standing out from the zombie-like crowd following mainstream horror trends, and carving its own spooky hollow where few films currently dare to tread.” Tony’s Folio

” … a successful ‘slow-burn’ style folk horror, whose pace fits almost perfectly with the very nature of its remote, grey, windy setting […] for those who love haunting atmospheres, captivating stories and that little bit of the supernatural, it’s safe to say this is a film you will love!” Viva Manchester

The Isle is a quiet, understated and almost austere supernatural tale – but it’s innovative, finely-drawn and confident, telling its story at the pace and in the way it chooses. Atmospheric and rewarding, it also leaves a judicious number of questions unanswered, but it’s the richer for this: the mystery is all part of the charm.” Warped Perspective

The Isle was released in North America by Brainstorm Media in movie theatres, DVD and VOD on February 8, 2019. A British release is slated for late Spring 2019.

Cast and characters:
Conleth Hill … Douglas Innis
Alex Hassell … Oliver Gosling
Tori Butler-Hart … Lanthe Innis
Fisayo Akinade … Cailean Ferris – Girl with All the Gifts
Alix Wilton Regan … Korrigan MacLeod
Graham Butler … Jim Bickley – Penny Dreadful
Emma King … Persephone
Dickon Tyrrell … Fingal MacLeod
Joe Bannister … Jacob MacLeod
Ben Lee … Billy Innis

Filming locations:
Eilean Shona, Scotland (location)
Suffolk, England (farmhouse interiors and the harbour cottage)

Technical details:
96 minutes
Aspect ratio: 2.35: 1


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