Movie Review: Isabelle (2018)

May 24, 2019

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Larissa and Matt Kane (Amanda Crew and Adam Brody) move on down to the bucolic town of Sarasota Springs where the livin’ is easy and nothing could ever possibly go wrong. And they lived a quiet happy life…

The fuck they did…you see in among the whole “getting ready to start a family” bullshitery, Larissa meets her creepy as balls neighbor Ann Pelway (Sheila McCarthy) as her even creepier daughter Isabelle (Zoë Belkin) glowers down from a window above, and then immediately has a late-term miscarriage right there in the driveway (following which she sees her dead baby return to demonic life in her fevered dreams…seriously tacky movie, seriously tacky).

Time passes, Larissa keeps imagining her baby is alive, and Isabelle keeps playing her staring contest long game…I mean she has fuck-all else to do being a satanic presence confined to a wheelchair…which makes the fact that L-dawg starts seeing her in her own abode pretty damn shocking (those glowing red eyes she sports on occasion are no slouch either). Of course everyone thinks Larissa is just “seeing things” due to that headiest of cocktails; trauma and pharmaceuticals…but the explanation may be far more preternatural than anyone could imagine!

What can I say about Isabelle? It’s an absolutely serviceable supernatural shocker. Crew and Brody are capable, attractive leads, Belkin is a scowling, creepy-crawling nightmare, and the color palette is suitably monotone and dreary. The score by Mark Korven is equally up to the task…full of loud bombast for the scares, low strings for the suspense, and some choir chanty bits to remind you “Hey, Satanic shit is going down, yo”…again; exactly what you’d expect, and nothing more. It’s obvious Director Robert Heydon and Screenwriter Donald Martin know the genre, and are talented…they just didn’t seem willing to exert themselves in the process.

A bright spot is the performance from McCarthy as the mother of the eponymous hell seed. She’s a black-clad specter of a woman; all jangled nerves and sorrowful expression and is captivating whenever she is on screen.

To sum up, do I feel I wasted my time watching Isabelle? No. Would I watch it again? Also “No”…and that encapsulates this flick in a nutshell; it’s a competent demonic-themed thriller that does nothing new with the genre, and doesn’t aspire to either.



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