Single location thrillers are nothing new in the horror genre especially with indie films. It’s rare when one of these films elevates itself above being something other than an easily forgotten waste of time. Isolation (2011) tries its best to elevate itself above its meager setup and in some respects it does.
The film concerns a medical student by the name of Amy Moore (Eva Amurri Martino) who wakes up in an isolated hospital room with no memory of how she got there. All she knows is what Dr. Sloan (David Harbour) tells her which is that she may have contracted some type of unknown contagious disease and that she must stay in isolation until he is able to identify what she may have. As time drones on and Amy’s strength begins to return to her, she becomes curious with her isolation and wonders if Dr. Sloan is any closer to discovering what is really wrong with her. As her memory begins to return to her, she discovers that a fellow medical student and friend is in the room next to her. She learns that Dr. Sloan may be keeping secrets from her and that there is something more nefarious to her isolation.
Amy’s isolation at first seems necessary but then becomes a nightmare of which she may be partially responsible leading to third act where the tables will be turned on everyone. What starts off as a simple medical thriller morphs into a psychological horror film with ample amounts of shock and awe.
Written by Chris Billett and directed by Stephen Kay Isolation does a good job of pacing and building upon a story that gives equal amounts of time to all the characters. Despite the fact of being filmed in mostly a single location, Kay does a good job with not repeating himself. It also helps that Martino does a great job of carrying most of the film on her own. Harbour as Dr. Sloan may seem a bit of a one-note character but by the third act his methodology will be revealed and he holds his own. Also, a supporting turn by character actor Gregg Henry as Amy’s father is a welcomed addition.
The film as a whole may turn off some audiences who want a little more from their indie thrillers but Isolation is a well done little film that while not being ground breaking is a sign that there is quality being turned out.