Devastation, romance and Satan, oh my! Rob Heydon’s latest feature, Isabelle, has all the elements to make for one hell of a horror flick. Unfortunately, it fails spectacularly at delivering anything horrifying. The flick follows a young couple who appear to have it all: a happy marriage, a new house and a baby on the way. What could go wrong? Quite a bit actually. Tragedy strikes, resulting in the couple being thrown into a whirlwind of paranoia and unexplainable events that may have them steering towards the edge of permanent disaster.
I won’t beat around the bush here, sitting this movie out might not be the worst idea. Which is a shame because I really wanted to like it. I tried my best to enjoy Isabelle. Alas despite the great cast, delightfully original concept (huzzah!), a script with conversations that flowed naturally as human interactions should and some interesting special effects, Isabelle turned out subpar and nothing more. Even with an unexpected plot twist! This film’s only saving grace is the performance of Amanda Crew as Larissa. The only hint of anything scary comes in the form of Gregorian chants that played during what was supposed to be the suspenseful scenes.
Overall, Isabelle just feels like a missed opportunity. I watched it twice and each time I walked away feeling frustrated. The scares were predictable, if not a little tacky, which should never be the case if we’re talking about an angry, possibly demonic spirit. I was expecting said spirit to as a bit of a trickster early on in the movie, maybe make some loose reference to Poltergeist or The Amityville Horror. But nothing. At one point we are introduced to a priest who talks of possessions. Seems like a great chance to borrow a page out of The Exorcist’s playbook, right? Doesn’t happen. Just lots of shoulda coulda woulda that makes Isabelle a pretty forgettable film.
Regardless of my opinion I’m sure the curious and horror completists will find some reason to give Isabelle a chance. And if you’re willing to waste a couple hours, be my guest. I just guarantee you won’t give it a second watch. Isabelle debuts in theaters and VOD May 24th.
Also See: Not Quite Horror: Wind River (2017)
Wicked Rating: 4/10
Director(s): Rob Heydon
Writer(s): Donald Martin
Starring: Adam Brody, Amanda Crew, Zoe Belkin, and Sheila McCarthy
Studio/Production Co: Vertical
Run Time: 91 Minutes