When I first saw the artwork and read the description for Red Island I wasn’t overly interested, it sounded like yet another low budget Bigfoot film. Then I saw the trailer and my interest was peaked, whatever that creature was, it wasn’t Sasquatch. So I decided to give it a shot.
Opening with choppy editing and shaky cam footage, some of it in distorted “monstervision” Red Island had me questioning my choice almost instantly. When we went from that to an interview scene with the guy who was being stalked which then turns into the film’s actual narrative I knew I’d made a mistake.
John (Georgie Daburas) and Amy (Alex Essoe, Starry Eyes, Midnighters) are having issues in their marriage. Amy has recently miscarried and is taking it very badly. He accompanies her on a trip to study Native American artifacts on the titular island. They find a cave full of ancient drawings, and a ceremonial mask. After the mask vanishes Amy starts acting oddly. Eventually, a monster shows up.
Red Island is one of the dullest things I’ve seen in a long time. The flashback format and recurring voice overs kill most of the suspense right from the start. There’s a subplot about black market artifacts and an allegedly cursed shrine to be sure. But mostly we get relationship drama. Badly done relationship drama at that. He’s the kind of asshole you want to punch in the face, and she’s just bland and mopey. And that’s really a waste of good talent, Alex proved what she can do in Starry Eyes. Here she’s really given nothing to do for most of the film.
The script from the singularly named writer/director Lux just doesn’t give us anything that would hold our attention. There’s one scene that should be a mix of arousing and disturbing, but it’s shot so badly it falls flat. By the time the last half hour rolls around and we get more than just loads of talk it’s to late. Not that a lot happens, but we do at least get to see the creature for a couple of minutes.
There are some beautiful shots of the island itself. And the occasional effectively ominous bit of camerawork. Lux’s regular gig is cinematography, and it shows. It’s really about all Red Island has going for it.
Red Island is available streaming and on DVD.