It's 1:45am and something has woke me out of a deep sleep. Bad dream perhaps? Who can say? I shamble down my stairs and decide to watch a bit of a movie. Usually, some television and my couch equal sleep, and tomorrow... today... is going to be an early and busy one. What the hell I thought, as I queued up "Edge Of Isolation" from writer, director Jeff Houkal. Might as well get a head start on this one. I pretty much knew what to expect right. A low budget variation of "The Hills Have Eyes" or some cheap flick about cannibals. That's what the poster promises correct? As the movie progressed, my glass of water turned into a cup of coffee - and by the time the film ended, it was close to 3:30am. Well "sheeet" I thought. So much for starting this film and going back to sleep. "Edge Of Isolation" ruined my chances for a fresh morning... and I loved every moment of it! That's not to say that all those cliche movie elements I mentioned above weren't present and accounted for. It's just that I didn't care. I had a really good time watching this film, and I'd trade a few hours of sleep to watch it any day.
The short of it? Lance and Kendra, having been forced off the road during a trip, awake in a strange house with some minor injuries from their crash. The Polifer family, although clearly a bunch of hillbilly isolationists, have kindly taken them in. To heal up and get well again. At first, save some eccentric behavior, they seem like kind, decent folks. Yet clearly something isn't right. Was the accident really an accident? If not, what are the true intentions of the Polifer family? I'm pretty sure you can guess the bulk of the plot just from reading the description. However, even knowing - or thinking you know - the details won't stop you from enjoying this film, especially if you're a fan of the genre. What lay ahead was a pleasant surprise for me. I'm sure it will be for you as well. As far as micro budget film goes, this one goes above and beyond. Did I mention there are some pretty cool practical effects as well?
Speaking of effects and all things production related, I can safely write that "Edge Of Isolation" mostly feels much bigger than it probably was. Mostly you ask? Yes. Mostly. You see reader, things are not one hundred percent golden. There were a few aspects of this film that I really wasn't fond of, and others that felt a little comic. Lets talk sound effects shall we? To be blunt... I wasn't a fan. Hitting, punching, breaking bones and other slop sound effects were a little hard to swallow. They felt very comic book-ish and frankly, kept taking me out of the gritty movie world Jeff Houkal, and his cast were trying to create. Nothing beats seeing a clever stuck in someones head... unless the sound effect used made you laugh just before. I suppose there is the possibility that these sounds came out strange, due to my television speaker being my audio source... but I doubt it. Give the sound an overhaul and earn an extra half star! Maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but I'm sure you get my point.
Another aspect I wasn't fond of were the "children" in the woods. I'll keep this brief - but every time I caught a glimpse of them, I though caveman. As in "uga-buga" caveman. Why the hell would they be cavemen? I understand the concept behind them... I just don't think these "people" would actually be cavemen. Dirty? Unshaven? Sure. Lumbering around like King Kong? Probably not.
Now... here is where things get good. The acting. I thought the entire cast was excellent. Creepy when called for. Gross when needed, and yes, even kind of charming at times. Our two leads Michael Marcel and Marem Hassler were great. Easily bringing their respective characters from page to screen near perfectly. I was a little let down with Hassler's ending, feeling with her strength in the film, the outcome would have been different. But that's life... so they say. I also want to give a special shout-out to Monte Markham as our leading baddie Ivan. What a fantastic job at bringing the "thinking man's cult leader" so cunningly to the screen. Generally speaking, I don't have anything really bad to write about any of the cast. They brought this story to life in a great way. By "great" I also mean sometimes gross and cheerfully creepy. Well done.
At the end of the day, you've seen this story before in one form or another. Hicks, cannibals, and a helping of cult - all rolled into one. However, that didn't stop this from being an excellent film. Special bonus points awarded for being a low budget indie production, that was very entertaining. "Edge Of Isolation" comes highly recommended from myself. A solid four out of five.