Reviews | Written by Martin Unsworth 27/08/2021

ISOLATION [FrightFest 2021]

It’s no surprise that the last 18 months or so has had an effect on people, and virus stories and lockdown films will probably appear more and more. Isolation is a collection of six shorts that were made under the restrictions we’ve been put under throughout the pandemic. They’ve been brought together in this anthology and, like many that have come before it, some sections are better than others.

The virus that links these films isn’t Covid, but something even more virulent, but the situations are instantly recognisable if exaggerated. The opening segment, written, directed by, and starring cult indie legend Larry Fessenden is also the most powerful. It opens with shots of a deserted New York - something that would never be possible in other circumstances. As he succumbs to fever, we’re treated to a stop-motion filming technique that’s really disorientating. It concludes with a heartbreakingly poignant moment.

Other subjects include the crackpot 5G theories (a short by Andrew Kasch, which at least has a fun payoff). Bobby Roe’s segment Pacific Northwest features some fantastic child acting from his children Sunny and Bodhi. London-based short It’s Inside covers more conspiracies and how they can alter the mindset of those who believe and propagate them. It’s also the goriest, with some genuinely horrific images.

There are some who will find Isolation heavy going and too emotional, particularly if they’ve lost someone to the virus. It could even be too soon to fully process the short stories included in the film, but they’re a reflection of what people have had to go through. It’s a grim, often disturbing watch and very well made. Approach with caution.