An interesting premise is never realised to its full potential in this Australian supernatural thriller.
Geraldine Hakewill and Henry James play Beth and Harry, a young couple who are dropped off at an uninhabited island for some quality relaxation time together. It’s a sun-kissed, sea-washed paradise which, unfortunately, doesn’t last. Because it’s not long before Beth and Harry suspect that the island isn’t quite as uninhabited as they were led to believe. Their possessions are moved, footprints are spotted and there’s just a general feeling of the couple not being alone. Is it just kids messing with them or is it something more sinister?
Written and directed by Bill Bennett, the movie is based on true events. Well, from what I can gather, it’s based on a time when Bennett himself was on an island with friends and realised that someone, or something, else was there with them. So it feels like it’s based on true events in the way that every film can be said to be based on true events (e.g. people have lived and died on this planet Earth, this movie is based on planet Earth and has people in it and so is based on true events). That may sound harsh but it’s becoming quite irritating to see so many movies in recent years use that “based on actual events” header to try and add some thrills to something that’s otherwise lacking.
There are a few people onscreen here but the movie focuses on Beth and Harry as they try to discover the source of their unease. That’s the first failing. Sadly, neither cast member is good enough to help carry the movie. Hakewill fares a little better than James, who isn’t ever convincing in the slightest.
The next, and biggest, failing is in the predictability and cliché-ridden development of the spooky events. Things start off with real promise (I particularly enjoyed the footprints in the sand and some atmosphere that began to build even in such a sunny environment) but quickly get worse and worse as soon as the two main characters find out more about the history of the “uninhabited” island.
Bennett executes the opening scenes well but once he starts stumbling it’s not that long until he goes into full freefall, taking a potentially decent movie down with him.
Uninhabited is out to buy on 15th August here in the UK. Personally, it wouldn’t be my choice as a desert island disc.
DIRECTOR: BILL BENNETT
STARS: GERALDINE HAKEWILL, HENRY JAMES, BILLY MILIONIS, BOB BAINES, TASIA ZALAR
RUNTIME: 93 MINS APPROX