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Monday, September 6, 2010

Isolation (2005) - Horror

Isolation (2005) - On a small desolate and isolated milk farm Dan (John Lynch) slowly loses distance to the banks who will foreclose on his family farm. In order to make payments he has leased out a couple of his cows for genetics experimentation by John (Marcel Lures). Also working with John is Orla (Essie Davis) a local vet who has a history with Dan. Finally the other two main characters are Jaime (Sean Harris) and Mary (Ruth Negga) a couple on the run from Mary's family who do not like her being with Jaime.
The film starts with Orla visiting to check on the health of the genetically modified cows. The cows are pregnant and one is near due. Orla examines the baby cow reaching in to make sure it is properly positioned in mommy cow. The scene is gross and the sound effects got the desired reaction in this viewer. In general the film does a great job at getting a visceral reaction with its grossness. The landscape is muddy and rainy, the interactions with the experiments are bloody and fluid filled with lots of squishy sounds. The basic approach is common a small group of people isolated on this farm will have to deal with a genetic experiment gone wrong.
Dialog works to establish Dan's character as a man with his back against the wall. He needs money to save the family farm and John is the solution that does not sit well with him. He has some kind of history with Orla, they are both locals and neither is particularly happy having to take the genetics labs experimental work. It is clear that Dan has feeling for Orla but that something has happened that has kept them apart. Dan interacts with Mary and Jaime basically letting them know they are not welcomed to park there camper near the farm. They have their own story but it is really under developed by write and director Billy O'Brien. Mary's family will kill Jaime if they are caught, apparently she ran away with him. So they need to stay off the main roads for a couple days and the isolated farm is ideal. When Jaime agrees to help John to deliver the first experimental calf in the middle of the night he is extended the courtesy of staying from then on. The calf scene is amazing with it stuck in the birth canal and the two men using a hand wench to try to get it to come out.
The meat of the story is that the experiments John is doing are designed to increase the speed at which cows can reproduce, but things go horribly wrong. We see this in various ways, Orla is bit by the fetus while doing her initial examination. After a birth Dan and Orla decide things are not good genetically and destroy the calf and the mother cow. When they examine the infant they find it is pregnant and the littler mutant baby things are going to grow really fast. She destroys all but one that got away which leads to the monster movie part of the story. Where we have to see which of our candidates will be the survivor of this story. Through the hard line character John we learn that the mutants infect those they bite. If the infect animal or person then has children further mutation could happen. We also learn that the squiggly monster because it was removed from the womb of the infant calf prematurely is looking for a warm blooded creature to incubate in and everyone knows it must be stopped. So not to spoil the story let me say that the ending was not totally unpredictable but that the writer does a decent job on a small budget creating a scary and well defined monster flick. As the number of character are cut the idea of how to find and kill the creature comes into play. The climax is what you would expect in a monster movie, in this case well done. There are lots of gross out scenes that are not too over the top. The acting is contained and solid and the plot is reasonable. The cinematography is bleached, and darker in palette but it is a positive to add to the gloomy landscape.
Rating(6.5) 5.0 and above are recommended Zombiegrrlz Rating Rent it!

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