Every once in a while you find a film that for some reason has invited lots of vitriol to be heaped upon it. Uninhabited is one of those films. If you type the name into your Google search engine you’ll see what I mean. But, come on guys. Is it really that bad? I’ve reviewed much worse films than this one. It seems that a lot of folks don’t like the “based on true events” tag that the film used. But, if you search long enough (about 5 minutes, for me) you’ll find it is based on a “local” urban legend.
Written and directed by Bill Bennett, Uninhabited has a damned small cast. It features, at one point, four whole people on the screen at once. But for the record, there are only six actors in the entire film including Mr Bennett himself in a cameo at the beginning and end of the film.
The cast list is as follows:
The film starts with Beth and Harry being taken out to an island that is just one of many along the Great Barrier Reef. They are to be there for 10 days and it is a romantic little get away for them. They will be the only people on this small island.
Now the actors playing Beth and Harry are attractive young people, although, Henry James has a mole on his back the size of a small country that was really off-putting during a romantic sensual “roll-in-the-sand” clinch early in the film. Unfortunately, most folks that watched the film did not feel the two had much in the way of chemistry together.
I agree to a large extent, it did seem to be a case of opposites attracting, but, they didn’t entirely stink together. Their main problem was that they just did not come across as the sharpest tools in the shed; which was interesting as she was supposed to be a marine biologist. If he gave any indication as to what his occupation was, I did not hear it.
The plot is fairly straight forward. They go on this “deserted” island and find that it is haunted by a girl ghost. So far, so mundane; but, this ghostly girl is really pissed off. It seems that when she was alive she stepped on a “deadly” Rockfish (I don’t know how deadly these things are, but they are most certainly one of the ugliest species I’ve ever seen) and as she lay dying in agony, seven men raped her. Now she prowls the island killing unsuspecting people stupid enough to stay there.
The movie works okay, in the realms of creepy, Bennett pulls this off well with an eerie soundtrack (although as a lot of folks pointed out, it can be a bit irritating at times) and he makes use of the islands sounds to crank up the tension. Lots of rustling leaves, snapping twigs and far-off screams of the female variety all make for a gradual rise in the young couple’s fear factor.
They repeatedly search the island for what they assume are some pesky kids and find nothing. They eventually stumble upon an ancient shack that they have somehow managed to miss each and every time they explored the island before. They also discover a visitor’s log that they missed the first time they entered the cabin.
This log helpfully tells the story of Coral (the young girl in the legend) and explains the “grave” outside the shack. The two finally decide that they want off the island and go to get their satellite phone and it’s (gasp) missing. It all goes downhill from there. Harry decides that two foreign men who are shooting fish (?) in the ocean are the culprits and stupidly antagonizes them. The part that he seemed to disregard was the shooting of the fish; you do not antagonize men with guns.
It turns out quite badly for all concerned, but, the movie does not end there. My description of the plot does though as I don’t want to give the ending away. Although if you haven’t guessed the ending by this point in the film, you must have been sleeping through it.
A lot of complaints had to do with the clichéd nature of the film. I do have to agree a bit. There is a scene early on that might as well have had a sign that was in bright neon lights saying, “THIS WILL SHOW UP LATER IN THE FILM! ATTENTION: IMPORTANT PLOT POINT HERE!”
But really, apart from the fact that the two leads were hired apparently because they were attractive young people, the film was not that bad. I’ve seen and reviewed much worse. At least the film was not what my daughter Meg calls “horn” which is a standard mix of sex, senseless nudity, and horror. The body count is very low for a horror/ghost film and the gore is minimal. There is also not a trace of nudity, unless you count near nudity because of the swimsuits, and no sex.
The biggest complaints seem to come from the ‘true events’ tag (as I said earlier) but, guess what? It is. The young lady in question (Coral) was actually named Lola and she did die on an island and the “cabin” is actually in a museum somewhere in Australia. When Bennett heard the story, he wrote the screenplay.
I honestly believe that if you watch the film expecting a ghost story, which it is, and do not expect to see buckets of blood and entrails strewn across the screen, you’ll find it isn’t that bad. An easy 3.5 stars out of 5 just for the effective use of sound to build up the tension; trust me, (as I said at the beginning of this review) there are much worse films out there than this.
- End Call (2008):One Hell of a Phone Bill (mikesfilmtalk.com)
- Welsh film Sleep Furiously debuts in America, Arts and Literature (visitwales.co.uk)