What do you do when you are obligated to shelter in place in order to avoid the virus outside but there is an even deadlier force inside? It is the uneasy question posed in the indie horror short, Isolation (2020), directed by Mark Cheng who submitted this film in the 2020 Lockdown Film Festival. Isolation is a good depiction of the anxieties some are experiencing during our current COVD-19 world and should resonate with anyone who has been practicing self-quarantining.
The short stars Nathan Faudree and Emily Dennis as two friends who are keeping in contact while being quarantined at their respective apartments. When the guy tells her that he has been losing his mind due to odd noises he is hearing around his apartment she decides to video call him for further explanation. After hearing the weird noises for herself she urges him to go check on the cause, but she should have told him to run.
I suggest watching this one with headphones so that you hear every creepy whisper, even watching at midday I found myself peeking around corners in my house afterward. Isolation creates so much terror and suspense within three minutes and does a better job at it than some movies that take hours to accomplish the same. Using well-timed creepy noises and only showing the monster in glimmers gave the film the right amount of mystery to create a sense of fear and sickly anticipation.
That is not to say that writer Nathan Faudree or director Mark Cheng re-invented the wheel using the old dark-figure-appearing-over-the-shoulder-of-someone-you’re-video-chatting-with trope, a plot element that I remember from as far back as 2012 with Paranormal Activity 4, however, Isolation certainly is a clean execution of this kind of story, which doesn’t sink to currying audience favor by inserting unnecessary jump scares or sexual sensationalism.
Isolation cuts the fat and only shows and tells what is necessary — in a brief moment of time I get a good sense of the characters’ relationship with each other, their personalities, a complete and cohesive storyline, and a very scary looking demon. For such a low budget, I must say that the little special effects used to create the face of the evil entity were well done but the camera never lingers on the figure so we also never really get a good look at him either. It is these smart directorial decisions, coupled with a well-written script, and a small but believable cast that makes Isolation a slam dunk.
MOVIE RATING — 7 out of 10 ☠️