Film Review: ELDER ISLAND (2016)

ELDER ISLAND *** U.S.A. 2016 Dir: Darrin James 81 mins

Ok so, this is based on the true events of Beaver Island Michigan in the 1800’s the Director and writers just changed the name of the island in question to Elder Island. We are taken back in time to meet The Reverend, a fiercely religious man trying to control his congregation, and his family who are then gunned down by the island folk and secretly buried but The Reverend returns from the dead to exact his revenge. Back to the present day and a camera crew arrive on the island consisting of married couple Ned and Stacy Ryerson and their sound woman April, who bares an uncanny resemblance to the Rev’s murdered wife which does not go unnoticed by the islanders, to do a documentary on the legend of The Reverend and some recent unexplained deaths on Elder Island, could there be a link?
As their main contact and believer in the legend mysteriously disappears after his first encounter with the documentary team the crew start to feel that there really is something to worry about as the island folk are creeping them out and more deaths befall them. The character of The Reverend (Michael Robert Brandon) is unfortunately under used as the main protagonist in this instance as although he has a chance to cut a few people up and be all sinister the main killings seem to be down to the 3 heads of the families who are the ancestors of the folks who originally killed The Rev back in the 1800’s. 2 of these are played by Danny Hicks (Jake in Evil Dead 2) and Timothy Patrick Quill (Blacksmith in Army Of Darkness) who play the parts of Lucas Heidegger and Sheriff John Ree respectively. My favourite quote being from Sheriff Ree after a visit to see Heidegger about April’s disappearance: “Who chops up a body into little pieces and buries them next to his tomatoes?? A psychopath that’s who!” The acting is pretty good bar some dodgy drunken staggering and insincere compassion. The camera work and special effects are fine, the gore is a little on the light side as much is suggested rather than shown but there are a few spilt guts, gouged out hearts and axes in the head scenes that don’t disappoint. The soundtrack works well and is performed by Chris Sorem and The Narcoleptic Pandas (great name). On the whole an ok film but nothing memorable to mention apart from maybe the fact that this is probably one of the only films I’ve seen in which no one manages to successfully light a cigarette!

Review by Sarah Budd

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