THE ECSTASY OF ISABEL MANN (REVIEW)
Dir. Jason Figgis
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
From the writer and director of the spell-binding CHILDREN OF A DARKER DAWN comes another story a troubled teen dealing with an alternative way of life. This time, Jason Figgis has moved the theme from a world of cannibals to small group of vampires that doesn’t lose any of its scale or emotion.
Opening with a brutally ravaged attack on Isabel Mann (Ellen Mullen) the following events will not only turn her world upside down, but also the lives of her classmates and townsfolk too. With the disappearance of several teens in the village, the police force, including hard as nails office Fleming (Neill Fleming) work to track down the suspect with any means necessary but the culprit is more than just a vicious killer as he soon learns.
Figgis has once again proven that he has a gift of story-telling and despite a low budget, THE ECSTASY OF ISABEL MANN is a heartfelt and tragic tale of a vampire and the lust for survival. Sharing much in tone with his previous feature, there is an obvious level of development as a writer and director the sees him go from strength to strength.
THE ECSTASY OF ISABEL MANN is brutally horrific yet tragic. At its core, is a character piece that sees innocence develop into a macabre monster, resonating with its title by the closing credits.
Mullen is perfectly cast as Isabel showcasing her talent as an actress with a spectrum of emotion that is believable throughout. The youthful innocence plays contrast to the blood soaked creature she becomes and while its not short of blood, quite far from it, there is more behind the fangs than a thirst for blood and guts which make this such a memorable piece of work.
Helped along with a haunting soundtrack from Michael Plowman, there is nowhere to find fault with this movie. Retracting from the need for a senseless bounty of needless scares instead creating a slow build up to the inevitable makes for a much more effective vampire film that doesn’t need plenty of sex or over the top violence, just good old fashioned storytelling from somebody who knows how to do it.