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23 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

One of the Worst Movies Ever

Author: w00f from The Flaming Wreckage
23 October 2002

Just awful. Horrible. No redeeming qualities in this one, which isn't always bad for a b-flick -- as long as it doesn't take itself seriously. This one does, though, and its all the worse for it.

There is no plot. There are flies killing people on an island off NYC used to bury the unclaimed dead (hence the title). Not giant flies or special flies, just flies. Why are flies killing people? No explanation is even attempted. They just are.

This movie proves once and for all that Malcolm McDowell's career is over. Everyone involved with this piece of trash needs to be spanked by the ghost of Ed Wood.

I have my own theory about why there are so many flies in this movie. Flies love feces.

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12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

One of a kind...I hope

Author: preppy-3 from United States
21 May 2005

A bunch of people--including evil industrialist Malcolm McDowell, policewoman Talisa Soto and prisoner Bruce Ramsay--are on Hart Island--an actual island off the coast of NYC where unidentified dead people are buried. While there they desecrate one of the graves. You would expect by the title that the dead would come to life and attack. Wrong! They instead are attacked by...flies. If the flies bite you, you die and almost immediately begin decomposing.

This sounded pretty promising--not in a good way but a bad camp movie sort of way. Unfortunately this is just bad. The soundtrack has annoying rap songs which don't even fit the movie; the dialogue and characters are all clichés that you've seen and heard before; the fly POV shots are hysterical; in one shot it's daytime--a minute later it's pitch black night (shades of Ed Wood Jr.!); lousy makeup and boring CGI effects and a stubborn refusal to be scary even once! I was so bored I dozed off for about 10 minutes (I didn't miss anything). It really boggles the mind that anyone would think this would ever work.

Some good performances make this bearable--Soto is beautiful but wooden however Ramsay is surprisingly good and McDowell is just great--he's obviously enjoying himself and his enjoyment rubs off (a little). Still this is a stupid, dumb, boring and completely illogical horror film. Right down there with "House of the Dead". A must miss.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

God, What a Sucker I Was

Author: metalface101 from Canton, Ohio
21 December 2004

99% of all the reviews for this movie are correct.............the packaging makes you believe that it's a zombie movie.........but the only thing dead in this movie is the movie itself. The acting wasn't bad, there just wasn't any freaking zombies. Stay away if possible, unless you like a "bugs-that-sting-you-and-make-you-decompose" type of movie. The packing also noted that the movie was rated "R" for graphic violence..........where was the violence?????????? A complete waste of time. Talisa Soto makes for some cool eye candy when she's not watching urban kids jump rope and singing a stupid song. Again, don't bother.......................

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15 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

I was pleasantly surprised

Author: mstomaso from Vulcan
30 May 2005

This is a low budget production which, at first blush, seems to have only a few things going for it. Sure, McDowell hasn't made a lot of good films lately, but nobody who has seen Clockwork Orange can really doubt that he has substantial talent. And whether or not Talisa Soto and Mos Def are in the plus column is a matter of personal opinion. OK, OK... the film really has very little going for it at first blush.

So, going into this with absolutely no expectations, I was very pleasantly surprised. In fact, I am almost embarrassed to admit - given the hideous ratings here on IMDb for this film... I couldn't turn it off.

What got me? Well, it certainly wasn't the plot. The story starts with a developer (McDowell) with questionably altruistic motives and a scheme to reinvent "the projects" by building an experimental community for the homeless on New York's Hart's Island. Also venturing to the island are a slap crew of short-term convicts and their overseers (assigned to grave-digging) and Soto - a missing persons investigator with a slightly mysterious past. Things start to go very very wrong after about half an hour, and people start to die and decay at a supernatural pace. I won't spoil the film by continuing my discussion, but I will say that although there are no zombies in the film, and virtually no special effects and minimal makeup, there are aspects of this film's atmosphere and basic dynamics which are very reminiscent of George A Romero. But this is very much a New York film.

What got me was not the acting, though there's nothing really wrong with it. Burce Ramsay is very likable and so is Soto. McDowell has a few inspired moments, but this is not one of his best roles. The script didn't quite do it either, since there are at least a couple of spots where the behavior of the characters seems quite ludicrous.

What got me was the way the film was made - the directing and photography, to be More specific. This is a very visually interesting film, involving simple visual ideas, metaphors and symbols which are eerie, creepy, but not at all heavy-handed. And Some truly wonderful decaying urban landscapes.

Island of the Dead is absurd, noticeably low budget, and not very original in most ways, but it also reaches beyond its apparent potential and will entertain you if you let it - and if you like this sort of thing.

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

No one had a cell phone?

Author: ( from Chicago
10 December 2004

This movie was given to me as a gift. So because I own it, I really wanted to like it. Sucks to be me.

The thought that kept bothering me throughout this terrible flick was, "Doesn't anyone have a cell phone?" It was made in 2000. Cell phones were rampant by then, especially in New York City.

The movie had great promise. Hart's Island is a real place, and surprisingly, I've never seen it in a movie before (with the exception of Michael Douglas' "Don't Say a Word" which happened to have one scene on the island. The movie wasn't about the island.) The history of the island is extremely interesting and quite scary. The movie failed to capitalize on any of the history and instead tried to scare us with....

HOUSEFLIES!!! I guess flies and maggots are cheaper and easier to get than zombies. Totally ridiculous.

Plus, the movie had the usual things you see in stupid, poorly written horror movies (i.e. cars that won't start, love interest between two unlikely heroes, etc.).

What a waste. Can I regift it?

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Absolutely awful in every regard.

Author: Paul Andrews ( from UK
3 January 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Island of the Dead is set on 'Hart Island' which is situated just of the coast of New York where unclaimed & unidentified bodies are buried, ex cop Melissa O'Keefe (Talisa Soto) who now works missing persons is trying to track someone down & reckon they might be buried on Hart Island so she decides to go over there. However she's picked a busy day for it as unscrupulous property developer Rupert King (Malcolm McDowell) plans to redevelop the island & build lots of apartments. He sends his man Rodger (Paul Hopkins) to take soil samples but he ends up being attacked by flies/bees/wasps or what ever they are & he ends up dead. The flies/bees/wasps then attack everyone else, wow, you can almost feel the excitement...

Written & directed by Tim Southam I thought Island of the Dead was total complete & utter crap, to be blunt. The script is terrible, for a start there isn't one single reasonable explanation for these killer files/bees/wasps, not one. Thy are just there & that's it, they also seem to be intelligent a they can actually distinguish between people although it begs the question if all they wanted to do was kill the bad guy & they let the heroes go free at the end why did they kill some of the good guys to start with? Anyway, one things for sure they are more intelligent than the script, a lot more intelligent. Then there's the highly annoying character's, Soto's missing person detective just sort of walks around a bit & has a disinterested look on her face while there's plenty of clichés here as well like the ex-cons, the greedy businessman who gets his comeuppance & the good hearted cop, please give me a break. There is one laughable scene when someone wants to give his dead friend a burial even though there's a swarm of killer flies/bees/wasps buzzing around outside & he actually intends to dig the hole & put the body in it as well! When all said & done though what kills this film stone dead is the fact that it provides zero entertainment, I cannot think of one single positive aspect to this film, it's incredibly slow & boring, it's predictable & it even tries to have a moral message about the homeless & missing people which just feels so heavy handed & out of place in such a rotten film. I hate everything about this film, it's as simple & straight forward as that.

Director Southam does nothing to make the film watchable, there's some highly annoying rap music & lots of irritating camera technique's which just look terrible & annoy more than impress. I'm not sure whether the things which buzz, fly & sting are flies/bees or wasps as they are never shown in close-up, all we get is a big black cloud when they attack & lots of buzzing noises. There are lots of maggots but not much in the way of gore.

Technically Island of the Dead is below average, the effects don't even stretch to showing the killer flies/bees/wasps, the entire thing looks like it was set in an overcast field & as such is extremely drab & dull to look at. The acting was awful & I cannot believe an actor such as Malcolm McDowell needs money badly enough to appear in a piece of crap such as this, was it really worth it Malcolm? Well, was it?

Island of the Dead is crap, there's nothing else to say really. I can't imagine anyone getting anything like entertainment out of this total waste of time, definitely one to avoid.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

One of the worst films I've ever seen

Author: mondo1287 from United States
1 June 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The only thing interesting about this film was Hart Island's history. This is an island which contains the bodies of nearly one million destitute people, and the best idea they can come up with is killer flies and meal worms? This island's history is ripe for horror exploitation, and they chose killer flies.

Forty five minutes and half way into this film nothing had happened and I was still hoping this movie was going to be about some zombies or monsters, or at least some ghosts. I got flies, and not in a good way like the X-Files episode from the first season.

Then there's the actions of the characters. The first guy that gets attacked by the fies doesn't even run. He just stands there flailing around in slow motion, only it's not slow motion he's just moving slowly. Then when the guy dies in the office the inmate just has to bury the guy when the building is still full of flies? There also just happens to be a gun in an unlocked desk drawer where prison inmates are roaming freely. The boat captain places two big wads of chew in his mouth and doesn't realize it's giant meal worms and not chew until he goes for the third wad?

Also, never mind explaining where these flies came from or how they even managed to make it back to the mainland.

Worst movie ever.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Without a doubt one of the stupidest movies I have ever seen

Author: matthew0083-1 from United States
3 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is the biggest waste of money I have ever spent. Not to mention the title is misleading. Yeah I'm pretty sure that it sounds like a zombie movie and I thought so too and it wasn't. But that's beyond the point of how bad this is! Even the back of the movie the information seems kind of promising but it isn't! Poorly directed, poorly acted, and as Armake21 would say generally not interesting in the slightest. And some of the concepts are just ridiculous. As far as story goes, basically a man that has killed many people and buried them on this island. On this same island he decides to make city for poor people and people on the streets and what naught. Well to make a long story short basically flies are killing everybody and will leave it at that...I'm done with this...

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:


Author: Johnathan B from United States
25 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Yes, I'm a sucker for zombie movies. I bought this thinking it was a zombie movie with Mos Def and Mc Dowell, two people I thought I would never see in a zombie movie. Looks like I was right. They could have at least tried to make it suspenseful. If you need to give it a try just remember to rest your fast forward finger up first. Its going to have a workout. Here is an idea, a giant granddaddy fly whose buzzing blocks cell phone transmissions. Put the sexy chick in some beat up outfit armed with a blow torch ala Aliens, or even better, a backpack sized can of Raid rigged up for use in a way not authorized by the makers. (A Raid Bomb!) My point is, there are ways to make movies like this better, They could have dumped one of those quickly forgotten actors to pay for the cheap rubber effects I mentioned. Hey, before it explodes she could say "Fly away, Mother*%@*&$!" I'll stop know, I'm making myself sick.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Expect the worst and know: it's even worse

Author: LooyCyphr from Switzerland
23 August 2007

Really. I love decaying villages and buildings, wastelands and deserted landscapes. That's what was hoping for, even when I knew the movie itself would be bad. "A ghost town" there is, on that island. Maybe some eerie film footage? Laughable, the whole movie, the story, the mood, everything.

In the "Ghost village" they enter one building. About two minutes later they are back in that cheap house, where they keep returning to half of the movie. The flies... well okay I knew how this aspect would turn out... just horrible. There's rarely any plot, and still there are holes in it that were perplexing at best. Why would the flies "kill" those other people when you get the conclusion? Why is Malcolm's character blowing up something all of a sudden?

Avoid this peace.

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