Isolation is a dark & gritty tale about the human desire to mess with Mother Nature going extremely wrong.
Set on a farm in the Irish countryside, farmer Dan Reilly (John Lynch) has allowed a scientist, John (Marcel Lures) to experiment on his cattle to try & speed up the process of birth. He’s hardly comfortable with the deal that also involves the local vet Orla (Essie Davis). However, the promise of cash to help him save the failing farm has seen him abandon his morals.
The privacy of the farm is interrupted by two travellers, Mary & Jamie (Ruth Negga & Sean Harris) setting up on the edge of his land. Dan tells them to move on within a day but is forced to ask for help when a pregnant cow goes into labour unexpectedly. Unable to get the calf out he asks Jamie to asissy & together they manage to birth the animal.
However something’s not right with it & the vet ends up putting both the calf & its mother down. Dissecting the animal she makes a horrifying discovery. The calf was already pregnant, somehow it was pregnant. All while in the womb & the babies are deformed, monstrous looking things.
Fortunately they’re all dead…right?
Isolation is a graphic & violent tale that is incredibly gripping for a large part of its runtime. It plays around with the idea of just what is morally right. How messing with something like Mother Nature can easily backfire.
The driving forces behind what makes Isolation such a good watch is its location & the quality of the acting. The farm is a decrepit place, clearly run down & in need of serious repairs. This adds layers to Dan’s reasons for getting involved in the experiment. However John Lynch does a great job of someone who is morally torn & beginning to regret getting into bed with the scientist.
Both Mary & Jamie lift the movie as their reasoning to be travelling is one that is believable & interesting. It’s not quite as explored as it could have been & the movie is a little quick to pull the plug on that later on, disappointingly.
It takes a little while to get going but that’s no bad thing. Isolation tries to build a sense of dread for what’s going to come later & it mostly gets it right. The problem lies in some of the more stupid decisions that characters start to make. It descends into a hunter/hunted movie & drags its heels towards a payoff that isn’t very satisfying. After a lot of build it just feels a bit a flat.
The creature does look good though & the visceral style of the gore really adds another nasty layer to a movie that is covered in grime.