Facebook Twitter

ISABELLE: 2 ½ STARS. “the horror is subtle but effective.”

Becoming a new parent is scary, filled with unknowns. Will the baby be healthy and happy? What kind of parent will I be? A new film called “Isabelle,” starring Amanda Crew and Adam Brody, imagines the unimaginable, the unknowable psychological torment that follows a miscarriage.

Larissa (Crew) and Matt (Brody) are a happy young couple. Expecting a baby, they move to a new house to start their new life as parents. Next door is a stately old home, occupied by the schoolmarm-ish Ann Pelway (Sheila McCarthy) and eerie daughter Isabelle (Zoë Belkin), who is usually only seen peering through a second story window. After an encounter with Ann on the street Larissa is rushed to the hospital. Though clinically dead for a minute Larissa survives. Sadly, the child does not. Once at home Larissa is plagued by guilt and depression. She hears her dead child crying in the other room and is tormented by Isabelle’s seemingly unbreaking gaze.

After a brief set up director Rob Heydon sets a fast pace for the brisk 80-minute movie, diving right into the psychological terror. Much of the horror is subtle but effective as we learn about why Ann and Isabelle seem so otherworldly and follow Larissa on her terrifying journey. Midway through, however, “Isabelle” becomes cluttered with plot devices; there’s a hospital priest (Dayo Ade), demonic possession, a spiritual healer (Michael Miranda), Devil worship and more. More is sometimes less, and in this case the film feels rushed, over-stuffed with every trope out of the Supernatural Drama Handbook.

“Isabelle” does have its pleasures. McCarthy is a standout as Ann, a pious woman tormented by the past, and Brody and Crew who humanize the horror of the aftermath of a tragedy.

Comments are closed.