I remember beginning the Michael Laimo novel this movie is based on years ago. I was in college then, got distracted with school work and never finished the book. But I enjoyed the bit I read, and I think I might hunt it down again after seeing this adaptation.
Initially I was almost put off by the film’s stripped-down, subtle approach. At first glance it appears to be another amateur, handheld-camera style throw-away. But thanks to a believable performance by Sean Patrick Thomas (The Fountain, Save the Last Dance, etc.), and a well established tension early in the film, I was quickly drawn in.
Dr. Michael Cayle and his family leave the big city to run a private practice in a small town. Shortly after his arrival, Dr. Cayle is approached with an odd request by his overly hospitable neighbor. The neighbor, Phil Deighton (Dean Stockwell), leads him through the woods behind his new home to a clearing, in the middle of which stands a slab of rock covered in recent blood stains. Phil tells Dr. Cayle that an ancient race of men inhabit these woods and require regular sacrifices to remain docile. If Dr. Cayle wants to be accepted into his new community he will need to sacrifice an animal on the slab as a sign of good faith toward the ones the people of the community call The Isolates. Naturally, Dr. Cayle is skeptical and refuses to do so. His refusal sets in motion a series of frightening events, until he comes face to face with the isolates themselves.
I really appreciated the old-school Horror approach here. Not too many bells and whistles. Not a ton of unnecessary gore or rape or excesses of any kind. It has a classic feel, with a compelling Mystery style story arc that counts on tension to carry you along, rather than a fascination with what human innards look like (though you will see some human innards). This one was on Netflix last I checked, so go give it a look when you get a chance. I’ve enclosed a link below to the novel as well.
Thanks for Reading!