ISOLATION (2005) Reviews and overview

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‘The quarantine has begun.’

Isolation is a 2005 Irish-British-American science fiction horror feature film written and directed by Billy O’Brien (I Am Not a Serial Killer; The Hybrid). The movie stars Essie Davis, Sean Harris, Marcel Iures and Crispin Letts.


Broken farmer Dan rents his farm for the scientist John from the Bovine Genetics Technology that is researching genetic modifications of cattle to increase its fertilisation. Veterinarian Orla is bitten by the calf while helping the cow to deliver, and she feels that something went wrong with the experiment.

During the night, the cow has a narrow passage for the calf, and Dan asks the young couple Jamie and Mary that is parked in a trailer in front of his farm’s entrance to help him in the delivery. When the offspring is born, it bites Dan; Orla arrives later and realises that it is a genetic anomaly and she sacrifices the calf.

During the autopsy of the animal, she discovers that the fetus is pregnant and she destroys the freak hybrids. However, one of them escapes and attacks a cow first and Jamie later…


“You may not have heard of Isolation, but that doesn’t change its position as a quality picture. Fans of nasty killer critters are going to find solid entertainment here, and those on the hunt for unheralded diamonds are about to unearth something valuable. Familiarize yourselves!” Addicted to Horror Movies

“Released with little to no fanfare here in the States, this is the kind of underground sleeper that demands the attention of horror fans everywhere: Original, believable and memorable. (Heck, the “birthing” scene alone is worth the rental price.)” Horror 101 with Doctor AC

“This movie has plenty of faults, but it was such a welcome surprise. Right off the bat, the soundtrack is incredibly haunting, and fits the dreary Irish setting and disturbing plot. This is truly an unsettling movie. Every scene leaves you wanting to curl up and stay warm and clean, just to escape how horrible the situation on the screen is.” Horror Habit

” …there are no bright colours anywhere throughout. In the opening few scenes alone, with John Lynch and Sean Harris trying to deliver a calf, you end up learning more about the grimy, gore-soaked business of animal husbandry than you probably ever wanted to.” Richard Scheib, Moria

“Handsomely shot pic is heavy on atmospherics and generates mild suspense. But despite O’Brien’s aggressive solemnity, formulaic plot abounds with inadvertent hilarity — auds won’t be able to resist wisecracks about mad cow disease — and the slimy killer creatures are far too reminiscent of similarly nasty parasites…” Joe Leydon, Variety

Cast and characters:

  • Essie Davis … Orla
  • Sean Harris … Jamie – Prometheus
  • Marcel Iures … John – Interview with the Vampire
  • Crispin Letts … Doctor
  • John Lynch … Dan – Black Death
  • Ruth Negga … Mary – World War Z
  • Stanley Townsend … Garda Hourigan

Filming locations:

Manor Kilbride, County Wicklow, Ireland

Production companies:

  • Film Four
  • Lions Gate Films International
  • Bórd Scannán na hÉireann – Irish Film Board

Technical credits:

95 minutes | 2.35: 1 | Dolby Digital


Isolation was released direct to DVD on 26 June 2007.

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