Review: THE ISLE Is Creepy Historical Horror


Although it is a bit slow at times, The Isle benefits from being an eerily atmospheric horror film based on interesting mythology.
Technical Merit

The Isle is a new period horror film co-written and directed by Matthew Butler-Hart. A twist on a classic myth, the film follows a group of three sailors who find themselves lost at sea when a heavy storm hits. When they finally reach a remote island, they discover that there may be more to their newfound refuge.

The concept of this film is truly interesting. The sirens have always been an interesting aspect of mythology, and the script takes advantage of that to create a creepy and intriguing movie. That being said, someone who doesn’t have background knowledge about the mythology may or may not understand what is happening, especially in the beginning.

That being said, the way in which the mythology was applied to the script wasn’t the most unique. It still keeps your interest, but the “mysterious town” trope is worn by now. We have seen this same story done a few different ways, and the way in which the script took it wasn’t original enough to make it stand out.

the isle protagonist
Tori Butler Hart as Lanthe (left) and Alex Hassell as Gosling (right) in Matthew Butler Hart’s The Isle. The Isle is written by Matthew Butler Hart and Tori Butler Hart, directed by Matthew Butler Hart, and produced by Matthew Butler Hart and Tori Butler Hart. Courtesy of Brainstorm Media.

The film also suffers from relatively thin character development. The protagonist is made to be sympathetic enough over the course of the film to make you care about following the story. On the other hand, the supporting characters aren’t particularly interesting. Sometimes it gets hard to distinguish some of the less important characters from each other.

Nonetheless, the film manages to be mostly enjoyable because of its ability to build an eerie atmosphere throughout. Even if you are unable to follow exactly what is happening to whom, you are going to be creeped out in the process of trying to figure it out. The film never gets to the point at which it would actually be scary, but there are a lot of enjoyable parts.

the isle stuggle
Tori Butler Hart as Lanthe (left) and Conleth Hill as Douglas (right) in Matthew Butler Hart’s The Isle. The Isle is written by Matthew Butler Hart and Tori Butler Hart, directed by Matthew Butler Hart, and produced by Matthew Butler Hart and Tori Butler Hart. Courtesy of Brainstorm Media.

The film’s performances are also solid. All of the actors do a good job in their roles. Alex Hassell plays the protagonist, and he brings a lot of charisma to the role. He truly feels like a hero, much like Odysseus, the captain of the boat in The Odyssey. The supporting cast complements him well, although there are no specific standouts.

The most impressive part of the film is its execution. The production design, cinematography, and score do an excellent job of transporting the audience back into the time in which the film is set. From the opening scene, you are immersed into the world being created, with detailed costuming and set design catching the eye.

Overall, The Isle was an interesting horror film centered around mythology. Although it does become a tad generic at times, it is still intriguing as a whole.

The Isle is in select theaters and on demand beginning February 8.


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Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.


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