Larissa Kane (Amanda Crew) and her husband Matt (Adam Brody) move into a new house as they prepare for the arrival of their unborn child. Ignored by their eccentric neighbour Ann (Sheila McCarthy), the couple anxiously look forward to becoming parents but find their world devastated when Larissa miscarries. Returning home following the ordeal, Larissa spirals into depression and becomes convinced that Ann’s disabled daughter is breaking into her house and messing with her. Matt thinks Larissa is dealing with severe mental health problems but she’s determined to prove that she’s not going crazy.
If you’ve read the above synopsis and feel like you’ve seen this film before, the chances are you probably have and it was likely done a lot better. Taking plenty of inspiration from better films such as Rosemary’s Baby and to a lesser extent The Omen, Isabelle is so formulaic and reliant on cheap scares, that it throws all of its potential out of the window from early on. There was a real opportunity here to properly explore mental health and the impact that losing a child can have on a relationship but Isabelle doesn’t do that.
For the most part we’re seeing things from Larissa’s perspective. Amanda Crew is a capable actress but she’s better than the material here. She spends much of the film screaming and crying and isn’t really required to show any other range. As for Adam Brody, he’s barely in it and when he is, his character is so bland you might not even notice here’s on screen. There’s no emotional connection between Larissa and Matt and you don’t believe them as a couple.
The film falters further when religion and a bit of convenient mumbo jumbo is brought in to try and explain the increasingly nonsensical plot. It really does feel like writer Donald Martin ticked off a ton of clichés and threw them into one film in the hope it would work. It doesn’t and what you’re left with is an incredibly uneven film that manages to become boring despite only running for 81 minutes.
The performances are fine. Sheila McCarthy is suitably creepy as the mysterious Ann but Amanda Crew and Adam Brody are completely wasted. They’ve both been much better in other films and to be honest, if you’re desperate for an Adam Brody horror, go see Ready Or Not, which is arriving in cinemas shortly.
Isabelle is, put plainly, rubbish. It’s not particularly scary, it brushes past its best material without every bothering to explore it and it descends into nonsense. The cast is worth more than they’re able to show here and Isabelle never manages to be more than a bog-standard horror. It didn’t hold my attention and I’ll be surprised if it holds yours either.
Cast: Amanda Crew, Adam Brody, Zoë Belkin, Sheila McCarthy Director: Robert Heydon Writer: Donald Martin Certificate: 15 Duration: 81 mins Released by: Kew Media Release date: 30th September 2019