(R, 1:34:28, Released 2005)
|Release Date:||Mar 17, 2006|
|DVD Release Date:||Jun 26, 2007|
|Starring:||John Lynch, Essie Davis, Marcel Iures, Sean Harris, Ruth Negga, Crispin Letts, Stanley Townsend|
|Directed by:||Billy O'Brien|
|Synopsis:||An experiment in bovine genetic modification goes horrifically wrong in writer/director Billy O'Brien's debut feature, Isolation. John Lynch stars as Dan a cattle farmer on the remote Irish countryside, whose ex, Orla (Essie Davis of the Matrix films), a veterinarian, has convinced him to take part in a profit-driven experiment on his cows, run by John (Marcel Iures), an officious scientist who seems very concerned with maintaining secrecy. Orla is conducting a routine check on a pregnant cow, and her hand is inside the animal, checking the unborn calf, when something bites at her. John is called to the farm, and reassures them that the safety checks were all okay. He's more concerned with the presence of a caravan just outside the farm. The caravan is occupied by Jamie (Sean Harris of 24 Hour Party People) and Mary (Ruth Negga of Breakfast on Pluto), a desperate young couple who are apparently hiding out from something. That night, after Orla and John have left, Dan hears his cow wailing. Dan's phone is out, so he reluctantly turns to Jamie for help. After a protracted and painful delivery, Orla turns up, and decides to "shut it all down." She kills the mother and the calf. Examining the calf, she realizes that it was born pregnant, and the "severely malformed" fetuses have distinctly un-cowlike exoskeletons. Unfortunately for all involved, one of the offspring survives, and when John finally shows up, he suggests that the farm be quarantined, as there may be a danger of "infection." Isolation was shown by the Film Society of Lincoln Center as part of the 2006 Film Comment Selects series. ~ Josh Ralske, Rovi|
|Full movie details|
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Other Top Reviews
February 20, 2013
Isolation is everything that a low budget horror/thriller should be. It is atmospheric, it is intense, it is mysterious and it is original. Although it may seem ridiculous it never feels unbelievable. It's very well acted by a competent cast, never over the top and is very stylish but without the cheap horror film cliches. It should have done better and deserves more recognition in my opinion.
January 29, 2012
A bloody confluence of Alien and Old McDonald Had A Farm.
April 5, 2011
A decent Irish chiller clearly inspired by "Its Alive" and "Alien". I enjoyed the earlier stages more. Isolation here lives up to its name -- the dilapidated and perpetually dark cattle farm, the cows in gruesome distress, and messy bloody trauma scenes. Alas, for all that good atmosphere it migrates to the same old critter hunt -- even doing a version of "Aliens" air ducts scene, and then leaving us hanging with an ambiguous ending. yeesh..
September 6, 2009
A very low budget horror set in Ireland on a farm. Very much like the Thing but on a much smaller scale. Great for a low budget indie film. Slow to start but the second half of the film is quite creepy.
August 26, 2009
Good old-fashioned monster film from Ireland (with nods to Alien and The Thing) about man's continued meddeling with mother nature--this time cows and wind up with a genetic mutation that looks like something out of the imaginaton of HP Lovecraft as it has no discernable shape or symmetry. No CG, decent amounts of gory stuff, competent cast and a brief running time make it a welcome addition to the monster mayhem genre.
March 15, 2007
...too much buildup and not enough payoff.
October 26, 2011
Few modern horror movies are made equal; some are bad, some are good, and some are even great. I'm slightly more forgiving than most when it comes to criticism regarding the films of this fine, often fascinating genre; which is why I am able to bring myself to enjoy certain horror films that others might not like whatsoever. One such example is "Isolation"; a film that surprised me with its effectiveness and atmosphere. It's a ridiculous movie, but it has a good idea going for it, it wants to please genre fans; and it will. It puts us in a situation where we need to either accept it for what it is or get out.
An Irish import "creature feature" that was releases straight-to-DVD in the United States, the film is not one that has great characters, a great plot, or any sort of greatness whatsoever; but it works. It's so simple too: Several people are trapped for a few days and a few nights in a farmhouse when an experiment with cows goes horribly wrong. In the beginning, we see the farmer attempting to pull a baby cow from its mother's womb; only to encounter much trouble along the way. Eventually, he is able to get it out; but almost immediately, he must kill it in fear that it is sick and mutated. The baby has been born with peculiar fangs, which it uses for biting.
After it's put down, the cattle's corpse is inspected via autopsy for signs of birth defects and the like. Those observing get more than they bargained for, as within the body are several unborn fetus; and almost all of them escape and are set free onto the farm. The babies grow fast, and end up mutant cow zombies in the end. From then on out, the characters just need to worry about survival whilst these small, fast, and hungry little devils prowl the area silently and conveniently so.
I like B-movies. What's classic in this genre is classic; and we must make new movies like this all-the-same. A few filmmakers are actually quite good at making B-monster movies; Billy O'Brian (the director of "Isolation") included. My guess is that he got inspired and wanted to make a traditional, old-fashioned, cheesy horror flick; stylish and scary, and one that makes plenty a mess. I appreciated it for what it was; and yes, I even enjoyed myself. This is entertainment, plain and simple. I can't say it's anything more, but I did appreciate the good amount of craft that went into it. Will everyone enjoy it? No, it's far too simple and lacking in depth for that. But what it doesn't lack is ambition, wit, and genuine thrills. By the half time, I had successfully succumbed to its absurdity.
Another thing; what does the title "Isolation" imply? With a film attached to such a title, you've got to expect claustrophobia, and if that's what you want, well, then you've got it. There are some shockingly tense moments here; skillfully executed, masterfully shot, and therefore kind of brilliant. Few directors these days are as skilled and talented as Mr. O'Brian, who should most definitely go on to make bigger, better movies than this one. He's one of those filmmakers that caught a good break with his debut; which isn't too little and at the same time, not too small for my tastes. He has made a horrorshow that could make even the most cynical of genuinely grouchy bastards happy yet again. And I mean that. "Isolation" delivers the goods - according to formula and the expected clichés, yes - but it delivers nonetheless, and that's enough to impress me. While many B-movie-homages fail, this one's a sure winner; and I shall support it in any way possible. My final verdict: for horror fans, it's a must-see; I thought it was a pretty fun movie. For non-horror-fans; I just...I don't know. It's not a great horror film, so perhaps there are other, better movies that you could be watching, but if you want a time waster that can be observed to the point where it becomes a (gasp) GOOD MOVIE, then here's one to check out. "Isolation", among other things, deserves an audience and more recognition. And with a bit of luck, it shall get exactly what it deserves.
October 2, 2011
It was a little slow-paced...and pretty boring at times. But it had awesome acting, and some pretty disgusting\disturbing scenes! Overall, I enjoyed it, and it brought some pretty good intensity.
February 9, 2007
Called "Alien on a Farm", this is a very good, atmospheric horror film with good performances by the cast and a suspenseful story. Sure it owes a lot to some films that came before it, but it also doesn't try and hide it's influences either. A very entertaining film.
November 27, 2013
I will be the first to admit that the premise of this film sounds hilarious. A genetic experiment on cows goes awry leading to a mutant cow monster? Sounds terrible. Give me a break right? Wrong. This might be one of the best European horror movies of all time, and one of the top 10 or so horror films of the last 10 years period. It immediately brings to mind 'The Thing' and 'Alien', but becomes something 100% its own.
I would classify this as a 'slow-burn' type of horror, as it starts out slowly and slowly ramps up until you find yourself in a straight up frenzy. While the horror isn't immediately apparent, it jumps right in at 'uncomfortable' so I found myself on edge from the first scene.
Again, I realize how hokey the whole cow-monster sounds, but it is tackled incredibly well. Its a classic 'shouldn't mess with mother nature' tale that injects some analytical and scientifically terrifying concepts. The creatures are scary and far out. Something you've never seen before, but echos some of the bio-mechanical elements of H.R Giger's classic 'Alien' designs. Very interesting concept that comes out as a pretty nasty critter.
You can tell from the very opening credits that this movie is different. It just oozes a gritty and creeping atmosphere that permeates every scene. It would be super easy for director O'Brien to go the 'Black Sheep' route and make a tongue in cheek horror/comedy that plays on its incredibly bizarre premise. 'Isolation' doesn't do that. This is as serious as a heart attack, and it does a fantastic job of winning over your initial skepticism. It takes itself so seriously that the viewer has no choice but to do the same. The revealing of the story is super well done. It slowly sets the hook, and then peels back the true horror of the situation bit by bit.
Its intensely serious tone is reflected in its direction. Tons of back-lighting coupled with dark atmospheric lighting. Great camera work with tons of unconventional shots and angles. Also a plus is the cinematography, as it recognizes how to film differently in different situations to build tension. Long, building single cut shots in instances to heighten moments, and jarring quick-cut angles in others that almost echo 'found footage' techniques. This may sound rudimentary, but the nature of shot-cutting surprisingly underutilized method. The script is minimal, but very good and it is delivered very well by a completely unknown cast.
Along with all these positives, the single biggest complement I can give a horror movie is that it is creepy as hell. Its use of classic techniques, dark and intense atmosphere, bizarre and unfamiliar creature, and aura of impending doom all combine for a very scary and uneasy movie. Another huge complement I can give is that while it is filmed on a tiny budget, you can't tell. Its production, acting, script, score, effects and just all around professionalism put 95% of horror films with 50 times the budget to shame. In fact, I would argue that its small budget aided the movie, forcing the filmmakers to rely less on the creature and the effects themselves and rely more on creating atmosphere and tension through implication. No matter how big the budget, it all goes back to effective story telling, and that is what 'Isolation' does.
In the end, this is an excellent and nearly unheard of gem of a horror flick that echos back to classics of the genre, but gives you something totally fresh. It is slowly building, but throughout it leaves you with a knot in your stomach. An excellent horror flick that should be so much more known. Go see it.
October 29, 2009
ISOLATION is a very good movie that could have been great. This Irish import follows the old school approach of building horror and tension through the story rather than thrusting bloody body parts and eviscerated corpses into your face every 15 minutes to make sure you're still awake. However it abandons all its subtlty in the last 20 minutes or so in favor of an exceedingly trite ending in which a secondary female character suddenly goes all Ripley and saves the day--until the even more obvious "surprise" real ending that is. The acting and direction are first rate here however, and it's refreshing to be treated to this kind of quality in a genre picture for a change. The story itself, which deals with genetic manipulation of livestock on an isolated dairy farm, is a topical one. If only they had managed not to fall into the typical action picture trap at the end of the film and maintained their intelligent approach instead, this movie could have really been one to remember.
October 13, 2008
Oh lots of scenes of John Lynch looking pinched and worried. Calves being born already pregnant due to a genetic experiment gone horrible wrong. Grotesque alien abortioneque cow fetuses chasing people around in the dark and muck. Not much to recommend this film unless you are into any of the above. Ruth Negga is quite attractive despite being forced to crawl through unspeakable disgustingness. Never seen her before. She is also the one who has to grow some balls and kill the abominations wrought by science run amuck which she does quite nicely after everyone else is dead.
September 16, 2008
A well-intentioned but ill-considered genetic experiment results in an earthbound 'Alien' scenario with mutant cows on a remote Irish farm. Despite that description, this low-budget sci-frightener unfolds without a shred of humor (unlike 'Black Sheep'), making for one grim, tense, tough, frighteningly plausible film. Biological horror dripping with organic ooze and muck. Really disturbing - esp. in light of the rumors about what goes down in food-industry laboratories.
May 3, 2008
If you like science non fiction mixed with your horror, you may be unpleasantly surprised with this one. A movie that may creep you out if you think to much about all the genetic engineering happening these days. What makes this film so scary is that something like this could actually happen. Over all I would say it was well done. It creates that claustrophobic feeling many had, when as kids,,while hiding under the sheets and trying to sleep at night you wondered what was moving around in the dark. Personally when the person stuck his arm in the cows uterus to grasp the calf, you knew something bad was going to happen. It did,,, and gets worse and creeper from there.
Best scare flick I've seen in years.
November 18, 2007
The first few minutes of the movie where they were going into the cow's anus was possibly the scariest parts of the film. Other than that, the story of strage mutant virus things coming out of cows was just plain silly. Not scary at all.
August 1, 2007
This movie was STRANGE. First off I really don't like cows to start with and this movie just completely made me even more against them. Second, I HATE parasites! They flip me out and this was definitely a parasitish thingy. Kinda gave me the heebe jeebes lol Anyway, if you like strange sci fi movies ... well here you go ~ #$%ed up cows on a silver platter.
July 5, 2007
Hard to watch...didn't finish. It's a movie about mutant COWS. Description on cover was definitely misleading.
June 30, 2007
Wow, this was a pretty strange little movie.
Inside out cow monsters terrorize a small farm eating people from the inside out. Yum.
Could have been better but was mildly entertaining nonetheless.