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ISAAC [FrightFest 2023]

Written By:

Martin Unsworth
isaac trailer

by Martin Unsworth

Nicholas and Sarah (Johnny Vivash and Kathryn Louise) are mourning the passing of their child when they are selected to take part in a revolutionary trial that will see their family complete. Dr Abner (horror legend Catriona MacColl) offers them a chance to raise a baby that has been created by a company better known for genetically produced meat. There’s a catch, though. The child will not be theirs; it will remain the property of the GEO group. The couple soon find they have problems with young Isaac, and Sarah leaves home. Nicholas must fend for himself, keeping Isaac’s issues a secret – particularly from Dr Abner, who would take the boy away if she knew…

Set in an unspecified future, this debut feature from Tariq Sayed, Isaac is a brooding, haunting picture that plays on the genuine fears we have of meddling with genetically modified products. While the creation of a child is still the stuff of science fiction (for now!), the talk of GM food (particularly the replacement of real apple trees) is all too real, making the horror of the situation even more terrifying.

Johnny Vivash is remarkable as the anguished father who wants to do the best for what he considers his offspring, no matter how bad the situation is or how much he despairs the situation. He’s a mesmerising presence and easily carries being the primary focus throughout. Likewise, it’s great to see Catriona MacColl on screen in a meaty (pun intended) role.

Showing very little, Isaac manages to build tension and fear within its simple confines. The ethical nightmare is as chilling as the physical. The brooding, often discordant score from William Sullivan gives a folk horror flavour to the sci-fi horror concept.


Isaac had its world premiere at Pigeon Shrine FrightFest on August 26th.

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