Set in 1846 on a remote island off the west coast of Scotland, a heavy storm causes a merchant ship to sink. The film opens with its three survivors rowing through a thick early morning mist, lost and disorientated. The fog begins to clear and The Isle appears before them. Abandoned except for four sole residents, an old harbor man, a farmer, his niece and a young mad woman, the isle is anything but welcoming. These people clearly haven’t seen anyone from the outside world for some time and their reluctance to help the sailors back to the mainland is evident. Once rested, the three men are desperate to return home but the promised boat never appears. One of the sailors starts to question what happened on the island and why the people abandoned it so quickly. Through his investigation he discovers that every year around the same date a tragedy at sea would occur and young men from the island would perish. When his two shipmates meet with fatal accidents, the myth of a ghostly siren.
Director: Matthew Butler-Hart (as Matthew Butler Hart)
Stars: Louis Devereux, Alex Hassell, Fisayo Akinade | See full cast & crew »
When Oliver Gosling, Cailean Ferris and Jim Bickley get on land to retain their thoughts and get help with wounds. That was the easy part, however the isle they landed on isn’t the safest place to have rowed up to. Even though it was the first piece of land they’ve seen when thought to be lost out in the dreadful ocean. From there it only gets more skeptical as the men try to get answers of when they could expect a ship to return to the mainlands, each time ignored rather than a simple answer.
What to me makes this creepy as well, is the well made shots with the foggy, misty grayish colors. Making the film not feel warm, but rather a spooky area where it seems no one can be happy or have seen the sun in days. However I do also feel if these people who were left on the isle, would have gone insane anyways. No social skills, except for seeing the same people day in, day out. And when things get “taken away”, it is hard to spark up a conversation to someone new. When they could as well be, the next victim.
I love this idea of a siren ghost story, it’s not your ordinary shots of a mermaid or even just some weird and not that great take. Matthew made sure to direct and shoot the correct lighting, sounds, and even had great actors (I liked them) to bring a folktale to much more creepier and darker version. Sometimes it’s best if beautiful singing wasn’t the cause of a shipwreck, then again. Maybe, it’s best to know where you’re going before exploring area’s of the oceans without the proper knowledge of what is out there.
My final thoughts of Matthew Butler-Hart’s The Isle deserves more credit than the typical, “it’s boring, it sucks, you didn’t need to make 90 minutes of a 30 minute story”. What we watch is an atmospheric haunting tale, about a Isle that once had people before it became what it became. And The Isle was also on Indiegogo, raising funds.
The music, or should I say “beautiful singing” is fantastic and would hypnotize those within the waters that would eventually meet their demise before having their dead bodies washed up on shore. Just to have the isle be reminded of what became their dark days. Yes, we know this creature, yes we have plenty of films. But not like Matthew’s, this felt refreshing and just down right creepy. Knowing that once you hear the singing you will be forever haunted… to death.
My only concern for the film, it’s set in 1846. And well without saying to much, one item Oliver uses wasn’t invented until 1910. To bad there wasn’t another way of blocking certain things, however in my final sentence, give The Isle more slick and it definitely deserves more than the hateful speeches that have been going around. The Isle is highly recommended if you love the atmosphere of Robert Eggers, The Witch with creepy music, The Isle is for you!