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Overall Rating

Awesome: 31.58%
Worth A Look52.63%
Average: 10.53%
Pretty Bad: 5.26%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 13 user ratings

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Isolation (2006)
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by Scott Weinberg

"Boo, Moo -- What's the difference?"
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2005 TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL: For his debut feature, Irish filmmaker Billy O'Brien shows up with a grim, gruesome, and gloriously gross horror flick about mutated cows and the poor saps stuck on an isolated farm with the blood-drenched bovines. But "Isolation" is better than just a cocksure gorefest; it's all but dripping with muddy, rusty atmosphere and boasts a generous parcel of jolts, shocks, and a general sense of desperate unease. Horror fans take note: This is one import you'll want to keep an eye out for.

Boasting only a handful of doomed characters, a bunch of poor cows, and a farm locale that's as unsettling as it is desolate and soaked with mud, Isolation is one true-blue shocker, and it's a flick that blows away any preconceived notion of "Wha? Mutated cows? How silly!" And I should know, because that's precisely what I was thinking before the lights went down.

Here we have a devoted farmer, a caring veteranarian, a devious scientist, and two young lovers on the run. They all bump into one another on one of Ireland's most out-of-the-way and entirely unpleasant cow farms. Seems that our resident cow-keeper has hit on some hard times, and in an effort to earn some kind of income, he allows a mad scientist to inject his bovine buddies with some sort of growth serum. The plan is to make the cows age quicker and therefore breed more speedily ... but something goes wrong and one poor calf is born already pregnant.

But pregnant with what?

That's all I'm spilling, plot-wise, but suffice to say that Isolation is a rock-solid chiller that's careful to include all the things that make a horror flick worthwhile: Imaginative kills, frequent goriness, a more than palpable sense of impenetrable dread, creepy creatures, and a grim setting that easily gets under your skin from the very first frame.

Fair warning, though: This is a horror movie that's not shy about getting down with the gristle, and you'll find just as many raunchy dispatches as you will sequences of admirable tension and all-encompassing grimness. Isolation takes no freaking prisoners, horror hounds, and the fact that perhaps 25% of the press screening audience got up and left before the end credits should be enough to whet your appetitie. (And believe me; they didn't leave because the movie stinks. They left because they're freakin' wimps!)

Isolation does not know the meaning of the phrase "comic relief," and I found it a refreshing change of pace to squirm through a proudly disturbing little horror nugget without being subjected to ironic self-mocking and/or pointlessly desperate "jokey" material. Mr. O'Brien wants to scare, spook, and unsettle you with this movie, and speaking as a 25-year veteran off all things horror-related, you can trust me when I say that Isolation is a grim and gruesome treat, and it's a title I'll proudly trumpet when asked "What's a good non-Hollywood horror flick that I haven't seen?"

"Isolation" could do more damage to McDonald's than "Super Size Me" ever did. You'll never look at a cow the same way again.

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originally posted: 09/11/05 10:47:57
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Philadelphia Film Festival For more in the 2006 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Seattle Film Festival For more in the 2006 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Fantasia Film Festival For more in the 2006 Fantasia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Fantastic Fest For more in the 2006 Fantastic Fest series, click here.

User Comments

3/23/20 Franklin Tanno Great! 5 stars
6/27/11 Steve Kane Grim, claustrophobic, beautifully photographed. Riveting. 4 stars
9/26/10 XDimserious two words eerie,freekin, awesum oh wait thats three... 5 stars
10/19/09 Paco Talk about Mad Cow Disease. Very well done, stole a lot from Alien, however. 4 stars
7/27/07 Indrid Cold Good acting and direction, not terribly original. 3 stars
6/30/07 David Just saw it. Whats creepy is,,,, you could imagine it actually happening Great Horror 5 stars
2/27/07 vernon swart highly original, disturbing and well made. 4 stars
11/08/06 Philip Splendid tense horror flick 5 stars
10/30/06 Bob Bah..the producer should be sued for stealing scott sigler's plot. Check out Ancestor. 2 stars
2/20/06 Neil F Manning Not for the sqeamish, to be sure! Shows his love for "Alien" and "The Thing". 4 stars
12/05/05 alexei Totally awesome, gruesome, terrifying, fantastic 5 stars
9/01/05 bflutz really stunning 5 stars
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Directed by
  Billy O'Brien

Written by
  Billy O'Brien

  Essie Davis
  Sean Harris
  Marcel Iures
  Crispin Letts
  John Lynch
  Ruth Negga

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