The Isle Review – Convincing Characters, Gripping Story, Spellbinding Thriller

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The Isle, from Brainstorm Media, brings to the screen the story of revenge from the beyond, as once bustling family isle becomes inhabited by the death song of one they didn't protect from the violent among them.

Directed and co-written by Matthew Butler Hart, The Isle stars Conleth Hill, Alex Hassell, Tori Butler Hart, Fisayo Akinade, Alix Wilton Regan, Graham Butler, Emma King, Dickon Tyrrell, Joe Bannister and Ben Lee.

Set in Scotland in 1846, the film opens as three men, Oliver, played by Alex Hassell, Jim Bickley, played by Graham Butler, and Cailean Ferris, played by Fisayo Akinade, are finally realizing they are lost at sea. The ship Oliver commanded broke apart in the storm and the three managed to survive.

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A thick mist surrounds them as they pause, unsure, scared, injured, disoriented not knowing what is next, suddenly Cailean peers ahead, astonished, and announces, nee declares with authority, "Land!"

With renewed energy the men begin rowing. The next scene we find them huddle on the shore line, looking with amazement over the dark, unforgiving ocean. The survivors are making plans to explore the island when he turns and nearly has a heart attack as a local, MacLeod, played by Dickon Tyrrell, is standing so close if he were planning to kill the survivors, they'd be dead.

Shocked MacLeod told them they could come to his house to warm up, rest and figure out what to do now that their ship is destroyed and a supply ship to the island may be long off. After the men have been refreshed.

He explains he can move them to the Farm, which belongs to Douglas Innis, played by Conleth Hill. We also meet his daughter, Lanthe, played by Tori Butler-Hart. Who is dutiful and helps the men with dinner, and sleeping accommodations.

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Having met three of the islands residents, the harbor man Fingal MacLeod, farmer Douglas Innis, his daughter Lanthe, they're interested to know how many others live on this ghostly Island which seems to take on a life of its own when the sunsets and the mist rolls in off the sea blanketing the island in deep fog.

Oliver finds a journal and is so drawn to the record that he feels compelled to investigate. The story of brighter days on the island is acted out, which is when we meet the other members of the family who have fallen victim to unexplainable tragedies.

Several ships wrecks that occurred five years previously caused several young men from the island to die. Who or whatever is killing off the islands inhabitants won't stop as Oliver's two shipmates meet with accidents, the myth of a ghostly siren haunting the island leads him to uncover the truth while he battles to save his own life.

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The Isle, a supernatural thriller, with haunted house pop up's throughout has a strong attention-grabbing story that compels the viewer. The female rage is underlying and early on is determined to be the voice that drives the characters to insanity.

The gripping question follows the origins of the song of death, are the voices that of drowning victims or is the island hiding more sinister secrets?

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The acting is solid, and while the Scottish accents are strong they are distinguishable and don't detract, for the unfamiliar ear, from hearing the plot lines or themes as the spellbinding story moves along and each word or nuances adds to the explanation.

The Isle opens February 8, 2019. It is a solid alternative to the slow box office and is also available on VOD.

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