(director/writer: Matthew Butler Hart; screenwriter: Tori Butler Hart; cinematographer: Pete Wallington; editor: William Honeyball; music: Tom Kane; cast: Alex Hassell (Oliver Gosling), Fisayo Akinade (Cailean Ferris), Alix Wilton Regan (Korrigan MacLeod), Conleth Hill (Douglas Innis), Joe Bannister (Jacob MacLeod), Tori Butler Hart (Lanthe Innis), Graham Butler (Jim Bickley), Dickon Tyrell (Fingal MacLeod), Ben Lee (Billy Innis), Emma King (Persephone/Lorna), Louis Deveroux (Drowning Sailor / Dead Sailor); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Tori Butler Hart/Matthew Butler Hart; Brainstorm Media; 2018-UK)
“Low-budget earnest but bland attempt at a horror/suspense thriller that just can’t overcome a stale, predictable and unimaginative plot.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The Isle is a low-budget earnest but bland attempt at a horror/suspense thriller that just can’t overcome a stale, predictable and unimaginative plot. Though intelligently conceived, atmospheric, passionately acted and technically competent, I never felt excited about the Scottish ghostly revenge folklore tale (one that features sirens), that seemed like a film previously seen. The family affair production, with the British husband and wife team of Matthew (“Two Down”) and Tori Butler-Hart, that has him directing, both co-writing, and Tori starring.
In 1846 three shipwrecked merchant sailors–the captain Oliver (Alex Hassell), the black sailor Ferris (Fisayo Akinade) and the nice guy Jim (Graham Butler)–are lucky to find in their rowboat a tiny remote island off the west coast of Scotland. They are relieved to find people on the isle who welcome them and provide food and living quarters on a farm. Fingal MacLeod (Dickon Tyrell) takes charge of making sure the sailors have a place to stay. He brings them to the home of Douglas Innis (Conleth Hill) and his troubled daughter Lanthe (Tori Butler Hart). The fourth resident is the madwoman Korrigan MacLeod (Alix Wilton Regan), Fingal’s love-sick daughter.
But the men soon become suspicious of the place when everyone on the isle seems fearful, and at night they hear strange whispers. They come to the conclusion that ‘something really weird is going on here.’ Eventually the residents will tell them what’s going on (no longer do we have to guess), The sailors decide that if they are to survive they must flee the haunted isle immediately, even if advised by the residents it’s too dangerous (as a supernatural vengeance on the isle is called for by a disenchanted former resident now a ghost – Emma King). We learn her sad story through flashback.
REVIEWED ON 7/30/2019 GRADE: C+ https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/