Written by: Matt Molgaard
Directed by: Billy O’Brien
Cast: Sean Harris, Marcel Iures, John Lynch, Ruth Negga
For some odd reason very few people are familiar with Billy O’Brien’s twisted little creature feature, Isolation. It hit shelves back in ’05 and garnered immediate attention from hardcores, but fizzled with commercial audiences. It shouldn’t have. The flick is pretty damn creepy, perfectly acted and generally very well-shot. For a flick that essentially boils down to the attack of a mutilated cow… thing, this is actually a stellar production.
A quick rundown of the story sees a borderline crazed scientist experimenting on cattle. The goal is accelerated growth, but the result is something sinister. The growth process is accelerated too much, and before viewers know it there’s a creepy creature crawling about Daniel’s (John Lynch) barn and it’s awfully hungry. For cattle and human flesh alike.
O’Brien, who also pens the script, shows significant care for the story details. Not everything seems perfectly logical (the decision to drive a tractor directly into 5-feet of liquid muck still leaves me scratching my head), but for the most part, Billy shows a willingness to flesh things out, and furthermore, he shows a sound understanding of cohesive storytelling. The fact that he’s working with an assortment of extremely talented thespians doesn’t hurt. And whether household names or not, make no mistake, there is some quality in front of the camera.
John Lynch (who surfaced in the underrated gem, Black Death) is astoundingly comfortable in front of the cameras, and he’s tackling a character that affords him the chance to showcase a wide variety of emotion and emotional response. Sean Harris (Prometheus fans will recognize him as Fifield) is as rugged as need be, Ruth Negga (World War Z) is an excellent survivor girl and Marcel Iures (Interview with the Vampire) may be a little too convincing as the sleazeball with an ulterior motive. You can’t ask for a much better ensemble without dipping into a pool of official Oscar winners.
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!