In Isolation starts with a man chasing a woman through a forest, at night of course. They fight, she knocks him into a conveniently placed bear trap but stupidly gets close enough for him to grab her. They fight some more, he gets the upper hand and tells her “You and me are gonna get real close”. Now that’s scary, a guy who can even think about sex, consensual or otherwise, with a bear trap clamped to his ankle. But that’s the kind of logic this film is full of.
The film cuts away to some time earlier. A virus is rapidly spreading through a nearby city, and protesters and looters are making the situation worse. Meanwhile, Jane (Darya Avratinskaya, voiced by Kira Cahill, Torpedo, Waking Up Dead) is alone in her house when a power outage and a nasty fall trigger a flashback to a childhood trauma. But that turns out to be her telling her therapist about it, a flashback within a flashback.
Eventually, her friend Kris (Valeria Lugai), and her boyfriend Will (George Rakito) show up along with Ray (Ilya Ilinykh, Superdeep, The Geographer Drank His Globe Away) a guy she’s been talking to online to celebrate her birthday. This ends with Jane having another flashback and storming off.
Director Alexey Meets (The Folks) and co-writer James Duke present all of this is presented in as confusing a manner as possible. The fact that In Isolation was dubbed and the characters seem to be speaking lines that were written in Russian and run through Google Translate doesn’t help. Nor do the constant interruptions for talk of the virus being a hoax, the quarentine being a plot to take away everyone’s freedoms, etc. Seriously, didn’t we all get enough of that bullshit in the news the past couple of years?
Eventually,Tony (Vladislav Tsenev) the guy from the electric company is found passed out in the driveway and Ray and Jane are attacked while trying to get him to a hospital. The attackers follow them back to the house and do us the favour of killing Will. At this point, the film turns into a siege/home invasion film. As Ray says, “This reminds me of one of those shitty Bruce Willis movies”, which is the best, and most accurate, line in the film.
Unfortunately, thanks to the prologue we have a pretty good idea of where the film is heading and getting to that point is largely uninteresting. In Isolation serves up the usual cliches. Kris starts sliding into madness after Will dies, even though he was a total asshole and they would have escaped if he didn’t insist on running back after his cocaine. Ray and Tony of course develop a rivalry which results in them brawling in the living room and nearly doing the attackers’ work for them. Characters aren’t who they seem, others come back from what appeared to be certain death, etc.
Even when In Isolation tries to pull a twist in the last act, it’s as predictable as everything that came before it and turns the film into a basic crime story that could have played out exactly the same without the whole virus subplot. Why they even bothered with it is beyond me, it just raises expectations the film obviously can’t meet.
It also doesn’t help that none of the characters are interesting in the slightest. Jane isn’t developed beyond her childhood trauma and resulting phobia. And that’s more development than the others get. Ray is pretty much a blank slate and Kris’ entire reason for being in the movie seems to be to provide it with a nude scene. There’s no real reason to care for any of the characters beside the fact that they’re not the bad guys.
On the plus side, the film doe have a reasonable number of fight scenes, some of which are fairly well done. Between them and the previously mentioned shower scene In Isolation isn’t a total loss. But it’s never more than sparodicly interesting. and more often dull and irritating.
VMI International has released In Isolation to Digital and VOD platforms, but this is another Russian import that definitely deserves to be sanctioned. FilmTagger can suggest some better films in the genre to watch.