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I watched 'Uninhabited' as part of a MIFF double-horror special at
Nova, Melbourne. This was second on the bill after 'The Clinic', which
itself was a slightly-below average movie.
The film is entirely set on a gorgeous entirely secluded remote island on the Great Barrier Reef. A couple are on a ten-day romantic escape to this island, and early on in their getaway mysterious and unexplained happenings commence.
I actually enjoyed the first portion of the movie, the building of mystery was handled reasonably well and I held some genuine curiosity towards what was happening on the island (being set on an island I was half expecting some kind of black smoke monster to appear at some stage!).
However this intrigue dissipated pretty quickly. The acting, particular of the male lead was noticeable pretty poor and the film struggled to create any meaningful suspense or horror. The only part of the film which managed to create any kinds of feeling of suspense was the remoteness of the setting, but this is fairly stock standard for the horror genre. The plot was very clichéd and very predictable.
Overall an uninspiring film which unfortunately didn't build on mystery created early on in the film.
When Harry (Henry James) and his girlfriend Beth (Geraldine Hakewill)
travel by boat with the sailor Jackson (Bob Baines) to one of the six
hundred islands in the Northeast coast of Australia, they expect to
camp along ten days alone in a desert paradisiacal place. However, they
sooner find footprints on the sand and missing things in their camping
and they believe that it is a child's prank that might be camping on
the other side of the island. After an incident with two weird
foreigners, the couple finds that a woman called Coral (Tasia Zalar)
was raped and murdered one hundred years ago in that island and her
ghost feels an intense hatred for men.
"Uninhabited" is a low-budget ghost story that unfortunately does not scare. The character Harry has the most inappropriate attitude with the two strangers and the performance of Henry James is not good. Geraldine Hakewill is beautiful and convincing, but the plot is too weak and does not help the young lead couple to have better performances. The impressive location in the introduction is a wonderful lost paradise. My vote is four.
Title (Brazil): "Paraíso do Medo" ("Paradise of the Fear")
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this one at the Melbourne International Film Festival double
feature after the Clinic. As the other reviews have said, the setting
for this film is great. Very nice scenery, the camera work is
professional and really makes it seem like a high budget film. The lead
female does well, but the male lead is horrible. It seems the audience
hated him right from the start.
There are some elements that are interesting at the start, with some genuinely suspenseful moments. However, the film just goes downhill from there. The story is predictable and badly written. The apparent symbolism is a cop-out. And most importantly, the ending doesn't make sense.
Spoilers: Why did the girl step on a stone fish and become the new coral? She wasn't raped, she didn't seem to deserve it. I thought a lesson was being taught, however it just kept going. What is the point of this ending? If someone could answer this I would love to know.
In short, this movie is the worst film I have ever seen.
EDIT: Also, just in case people may have not noticed, the first review of this film is from THE DIRECTOR. PRETENDING TO BE AN AUDIENCE MEMBER. Just look at his user name. This is very poor form.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Half of the corals on this beautiful Great Barrier Reef island died off
after the filming of "Uninhabited" - out of embarrassment for having
appeared in it. Ditto the killer-fish.
I have no idea why Coral-ghost didn't kill poisonous fish, too, as revenge. In fact, I haven't a clue why Coral-ghost harboured no ill-feelings toward those fish whatsoever. It must have been their cute big bug-eyes. One look and you forgive them instantly. Was Coral so dumb as not to realize that the fish (male or female) is just as much at fault for her death as the seven rapists?
If you're expecting another very good Aussie horror flick like the 70s "Long Weekend", which is similar in its set-up, forget it.
Plenty of credibility problems here.
First off, if a couple are alone on an island, and they know or suspect that they're in danger, then they would not split up from each other, even for a minute. Yet, these two knuckleheads (straight out of a Kelvin Klein catalog for underwear) keep splitting up continuously, over and over. Eventually, that leads to the guy getting predictably killed, while Sean Young stupidly wonders how the hell that happened.
Secondly, they found the diary after they'd realized strange things were going on. Wouldn't it have made sense for them to read it straight away as opposed to AFTER several additional incidents had already occurred? It's not as if they had better things to do. But I forget that this was written by a knucklehead, that the characters are knuckleheads, and that I must be one too for sitting through this nonsense.
Thirdly, if the woman you love is off - at night - on a lone island - while an apparent intruder is roaming about - wouldn't you want to NOT to have your ears covered with ear-phones, listing to music? Sure you do. Nevertheless, the male half of the nitwit duo actually listens to music, his back turned to the woods even, while his "great love" is off exploring the hut, on an island that threatens their lives. Duh.
Fourthly, the heavily-armed, shark-hunting, beer-drinking, metal-head Greek psychos. If they were such lunatics then they'd certainly have attacked the couple earlier, instead of waiting for Blondy to pick a fight first. Suddenly, the Greeks turn into serial-killer psychos, in what was an extremely idiotic (though predictable, coz seen-before) turn of events. Even more predictably, their murder(?)-rape(?) rampage is cut short by the ghost. Did anyone not see this coming? The mere inclusion of these two was such an obvious, predictable distraction from the supernatural danger. The instant I saw them on the boat, shooting sharks and listening to metal, I knew they were going to be the movie's "temporary scapegoats". I don't think anyone but the youngest horror fans actually fell for that very cheap shtick.
Fifthly, if they're in so much danger, why not take turns as guards during the night? That would be the logical thing to do. The problem with many (horror) films is that they're not so much about requiring a suspension of disbelief as much as a suspension of logic. But I can't do that. If you can't make an effort in writing a half-way intelligent script then don't even bother.
There is an underlying (and very PC) hatred of men in the script, one which is partly the cause of the many cretinous plot-twists. The woman who was killed 100 years ago died in the most ludicrous circumstances. She was stung by a poisonous fish, then while rushing off for help she gets RAPED and laughed at by no less than seven men. Does this seem even remotely credible to anyone? It's not as if she was stung on Prison Island. Add to this the fact that the two Greek shark-hunters are also portrayed as rapists and psychos. Plus the fact that the female half of the Duo Retardale actually sides with the ghosts for killing innocent men as vengeance for her rape and death (which predictable leads to her not getting killed hence becoming a ghost too), and one gets a clear picture of the rabid feminism that is lurking out of every pore of this story. Nevermind that a man wrote it. Just look at Phil Donahue.
What a let-down that ghost was! She finally appears 15 minutes before the end, and it turns out to be just a cute black girl, looking about as ominous as a Pez dispenser, ready to start "shakin' that boo-tey" in a really bad MTV video. A little later the evil male (coz all males are evil, you see) gets slaughtered, and then his gal runs over the reef, verrryyyy predictably stepping on a poisonous fishy herself. Meaning? Any symbolism to this? Nope. Just dumb.
Beth re-appears as a ghost, ready to kill all those who... Ehm. Actually, who does she kill? Well, no-one actually raped her, so I guess the only beef that Beth-ghost may have is with the Coral-ghost and the fish that screwed her over. So what is she going to do with the old man who came to pick them up? This is where the movie ends. Even the writer/director didn't know the answer to that. He had just written himself into a dead-end and didn't bother to get out of it with a re-write of the first draft. Yes, this must have been the first, and final, draft. Lazy bastard.
Perhaps there will be a sequel, in which Beth-ghost and Coral-ghost square off against each other. Or join up to kill some fish. Going straight to video, that one.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The performance of the male lead was terrible and painful to watch, and his character was quite irritable. Thankfully Geraldine (Female lead) was much more convincing as well as pleasant on the eye. The camera work throughout is consistently great; great composition and a lot of creamy bokeh. The actual story is rather poor, not well thought-out and seems to be written to be more convenient to the writer than the viewer. It is only further let down with a terrible and weak ending. The writer is also possibly trying to be clever to leave the viewer thinking (With the Island's new ghost..), but the reality is, the viewer is left stupefied and dissatisfied. One member of the audience gave the screen the finger at the credits which sums this film up well.
Some people seem to have really, really hated this movie, and I'm
surprised that it managed to elicit such a strong reaction from them. I
found this to be perfectly watchable, even though it's a bit routine --
even clichéd. I don't see how it could cause either strongly positive
or negative feelings.
Instead of a haunted house, the setting is a haunted island, but the effect is the same. Like your stereotypical haunted house movie, mysterious happenings start spooking our young lovers, ratcheting up the creepiness factor as time goes on. Footprints in the sand that start and stop suddenly. Oooh, mysterious. Whispering and sobbing that might just be the wind. Oooh, spooky. A run-down shack that they somehow never noticed before and a grave nearby. Oooh, creepy. A book that helpfully explains the origins of the ghost and its M.O. Oooh, cheap narrative device... I mean, oooh, scary.
It's nothing you haven't seen before, but it's competently shot. The acting has been highly criticized by others, but it didn't really bother me. The soundtrack was more annoying, I thought. It's basically some woman channeling the pain of the world in soulful, non-lyrical vocalizations. You know the kind. I hate it, and I wish people would stop scoring their movies with it. However, even this failed to give me a strong emotional response. Whereas some other reviewers have judged this movie quite harshly, with the requisite "worst movie ever" assertions, I just can't work up the strong emotional response necessary to hate it. It was OK. I'd recommend it to people who love supernatural suspense stories, as long as they don't have very high standards. It's a generic ghost story about generic people on a generic island, haunted by a generic ghost. If you're looking for more than that, then skip it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I registered simply to settle the overwhelming urge I had to comment on this film. Firstly I am keen to know if this film was actually inspired by true events, if so what were they (as I have been able to find no reference to them despite a thorough search), and if not was it a lame attempt to add intrigue? As has already been stated it seems the director left one of the first comments. I nearly fell off my chair laughing at the "If anything, the girl and the ghost kind of bond" remark. Seriously, if leading a girl out onto the reef so she meets her doom by stepping on a stone fish is bonding, then I have led a very sheltered life where getting close to someone doesn't involve topping them. If Im honest I did find the film watchable, but far too many loose ends and contradictions. A ghost who can appear and disappear yet can wield a knife and stab people? When she did make an appearance there was nothing ghostly about her at all, just looked like a native islander. How did the ghost dig the graves, operate a camcorder and plant a mobile phone in her hut? If she was a man hater why kill Beth? And why did Beth take over as chief resident hauntress? And for me the crunch, the guy who dropped them on the island clearly knew something dodgy was going on there to look all concerned when leaving them and spout the line "If you decide to leave early, call me". He seems like a nice bloke so why didn't he just tell them "Hey guys you know this island is just not right, ill drop you off on one of the other 599 where you will remain alive". Priceless.. and made me laugh. For that I rate this as an unintentional Thrill-Com.
This isn't a terrible movie, considering the budget there is a lot
worse out there.
I can't put my finger on why it took me half the film to warm to the protagonists, but they do eventually grow on you.
The deserted island is creepy and there are moments of deep tensions but no actual scares.
A large portion of the film is dedicated to building up suspense but the director waits too long before bringing things to a head and by then the pay-off is just too light.
Good enough production, acting, no shaky cameras and this movie is totally watchable but it lacks the budget and the originality to make it anything more.
From the moment the sickening cinematography performs a cliché 1st year
film school pan across the deep blue sea, we felt like vomiting with
the pretence of what was to come. Next it seemed that the sound
engineer was trying to do all his work in a foley studio. At one stage
the girl was breathing heavily and we couldn't even see her chest move.
The love making scene was worth something out of 'Dallas' perhaps. It
was not erotic. The dialogue was bordering on the banal and empty. I
mean seriously, who knows these types of people. The writer? What rock
has he been living under to regurgitate such spaghetti brained
individuals. Really there's not a lot to say. Except it was awful. They
were supposed to be clever but they do stupid thing after stupid thing.
The girl doesn't play so bad (Please don't put this on your resume
though love), but the guy should should go back to KMART commercials if
thats where they found him. The ghost - Stupid. Not really a ghost
either. The heavy metal fishermen who don't speak English - Why ,
how...completely useless in the film.
Anyway as a film, its no good. It is a waste of time, the director should not have put his name to it if he wants to direct again and the writer should consider seppuku.
Beth and Harry go vacationing on what they believe is an uninhabited
island. Jackson, the guy who owns the boat, drops them off and seems to
know something the way he's looking at the couple; well, either that,
or he's jealous of young love. Most likely the former. So why isn't he
telling? Afterall, many horror movies start out with dire warnings by
someone which are, of course (lucky for us), ignored. The same could
have happened here but in this movie the person who seems to know
something keeps their mouth shut this time and leaves the couple on the
island to fend for themselves (Suckers!!).
Alone finally, Beth and Harry think they're in paradise and it certainly looks like it when we, the viewers, get that wonderful cinematographic overview of the island. Nothing to do for 10 days but fish and f!!ck. And fish and f!!ck some more! Sounds good to me. Probably to you too, reader, I don't know. The happy couple have a courtship of playful teasing, trading friendly jibes and silliness in obvious anticipation of their time together on the island. Then shortly they get down to business (you know, with the f & f) but as soon as they do, the morning after, they discover signs that they are not alone. It's not so troubling at first. It just meant that they would have to share the island with others or another. It is understandably somewhat disappointing when they thought they'd have the whole place to themselves. But they're basic plan still seemed intact; they could still fish and discretely f!!ck as much as they liked (Arrriiight!).
The naturalness or comfort level between the couple didn't feel right to me. I don't know why. They're banter seemed scripted (which it actually is, but they're suppose to convince us otherwise). That could be just me, reader. But if I'm right, then the acting was not as good as it should have been. Still, a horror movie can still be rescued from a "little bad acting" by a good story and good scares. So Boloxxxi, did the story and the scares save the day? --Well, reader, the story --at least the general framework of it-- is okay. Basically: A couple vacations on what they think is a normal, uninhabited island, discover it's neither normal or uninhabited as they thought; that the island is in fact haunted. Nothing wrong with that. I think the big disappointment of this movie is that there was a certain amount of anticipation and mystery as to who or what else was on the island. And when it came time for the big payoff it turns out that it's nothing that really creeps you out or makes you shudder. My attractive companion didn't grab me once during the viewing which of course was my master plan (Foiled again!).
So basically 3 things torpedoed this movie in my opinion: the acting (an unconvincing couple), some of the execution (how the ghost GRADUALLY made it's presence known), and how it FINALLY made it's presence known. The last was so, so, so anticlimactic. That's the ghost?!! Hell, I can see that walking on the street. Love, Boloxxxi.
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