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Island of the Dead (2000) HD online

Island of the Dead (2000) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Horror / Thriller
Original Title: Island of the Dead
Director: Tim Southam
Writers: Peter Koper,Tim Southam
Released: 2000
Duration: 1h 31min
Video type: Movie
The people of New York have been burying their unknown dead on Hart Island since 1869. Now real estate tycoon Rupert King wants to build what he calls "Hope City", supposedly to help the poor and homeless of the city "get a leg up", on this same island, with no thought of the current million or so "residents". Accompanied by a New York cop looking for a missing girl's body and some reluctant employees of the Department of Corrections, King makes his way to the island for the ground-breaking ceremony. But when his personal assistant goes missing, and night falls on the island, dark secrets are revealed, not only about the island itself, but King's "noble" plans for it as well. And the island's residents, with their souls in the form of countless and lethal flies, have no intention of being ignored.


Cast overview:
Malcolm McDowell Malcolm McDowell - Rupert King
Talisa Soto Talisa Soto - Melissa O'Keefe
Bruce Ramsay Bruce Ramsay - Tony Matos
Kent McQuaid Kent McQuaid - James Neely
Yasiin Bey Yasiin Bey - Robbie J (as Mos Def)
Paul Hopkins Paul Hopkins - Rodger Mackloe
Tyrone Benskin Tyrone Benskin - Dwight Truman
Michel Perron Michel Perron - Captain Chanon
Daniel Pilon Daniel Pilon - Mayor
Steffen Wink Steffen Wink - Reporter
Mike Tsar Mike Tsar - Guard
Richard Jutras Richard Jutras - City Mortician
Philip Le Maistre Philip Le Maistre - Squeegee Man
Andy Bradshaw Andy Bradshaw - Inmate #1 (as Andrew Bradshaw)
Robert Daviau Robert Daviau - Crewman #1

The full-frontal nude pin-up taped to the locker door is Tiffany Taylor's centerfold from the November 1998 issue of Playboy magazine.

Reviews: [25]

  • avatar


    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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    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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    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.......................
  • avatar


    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?
  • avatar


    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.
  • avatar


    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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    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.
  • avatar


    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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    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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    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.
  • avatar


    Island of the Dead is not on the list of the worst movies ever made, as it's too innocuous to be offensively bad. However, I can honestly recall few films which have bored me as much.

    A millionaire (Malcolm McDowell), a couple of cops and three convicts are trapped on Hart Island, where deadly insects are spreading a disease. Every time a character dies we see him gesturing excessively, usually from afar, as he is attacked by insects. After a couple of seconds he gets sick, then dies and quickly decomposes. Everyone else worriedly contemplates the aftermath. Repeat.

    A slow build-up is usually a sound approach in horror movies, but when things move slowly there must be SOMETHING to capture the viewers' interest - a compelling premise, luscious visuals, crisp writing, strong performances, an impending sense of dread. Island of the Dead has nothing of this.

    Just flies. And people gesturing excessively.


    And again.

    Worth mentioning is a surreal sequence filmed in slow-motion, with an absurdly out of place "Yo-ho! Yo-ho!" song as the main characters pose for the camera; a bizarrely kitsch, creatively ugly note in a mire of tedium.

  • avatar


    Donald Trump-like developer Rupert King (Malcolm McDowell), missing persons detective Melissa O'Keefe (Talisa Soto), the New York City Mayor, and a number of inmates and an assortment of other characters converge as they are all headed towards Hart Island. Hart Island, just off of the Bronx in Long Island Sound, is home of the infamous "Potter's Field"--a massive graveyard of the poor and unknown. King has plans to turn the island into government assistance housing. When the graves are disturbed however, supernatural forces come into play to put an end to any tampering.

    Island Of The Dead begins with a lot of promise. The initial voice-over by O'Keefe is interesting, as it explains that she was an abandoned infant and is now searching for a missing girl from a famous year-old case. The introduction of two prisoners, handcuffed to a "meat-locker" drawer in a morgue as they wait to go on burial duty at Hart Island is intriguing. And King is at least passable when we first meet him (McDowell vacillates between passable and good throughout the film).

    Our trip over to Hart Island, following our cast of characters as they ride the ferry across Long Island Sound, is good, too, and Mos Def, whom we meet on the boat, is funny—deservedly, Mos Def has already been in a large number of films since Island Of The Dead. Even Hart Island is captivating at first. I'm not sure if it was actually filmed on Hart Island, which is still under the supervision of the New York State Department of Corrections and has very limited access, but whatever the location, it is beautifully stark--an appropriate setting for a horror film. With one exception, there is a lot of good cinematography throughout the early part of the film, including the landscape of (or standing for) Hart Island and especially shots of some marvelous dilapidated buildings, where some scenes are set and more should have been. The exception to good cinematography in the early part of the film is a digital video pan across some old buildings, shot from a vehicle or on a dolly, which becomes pixelated halfway through. Apparently, this was the only footage extant of this, and they really wanted to use it, because despite the flaw, it is inserted a couple times.

    The story up to this point, although perhaps a bit slow and a bit odd at times, such as the dialogue scene between King and the Mayor where we cannot hear what they're saying but instead hear a rap song, is more than satisfactory. Most of the facts and history of Hart Island given in the script are actually true, even though some of it might seem implausible to someone unfamiliar with this New York City oddity (another film which is partially about Hart Island, and worth watching if the island intrigues you, is Don't Say A Word (2001)).

    However, somewhere around the middle, unfortunately just about the time that the horror material really begins to kick in, writer/director Tim Southam loses his pacing. Not too long after that, he also loses the plot. Some of the horror material is okay--the effects are decent for a low-budget, direct-to-video release, but the pacing kills most of the tension that would have been available. Worse, once we become more familiar with the menace, the "rules of the game" get progressively more ambiguous. We don't know why the menace attacks the way it does or who it does, and late in the proceedings, a few characters take inexplicable actions. By the end, it seems like Southam is drawing thriller plot clichés out of a hat and rushing through them because he's about to run out of film. It's even more of a shame because the beginning was so promising.

    My final verdict, while positive, is just slightly so--a 6 out of 10.
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    An interesting film directed by Tim Southam in which a small island known to be the burying place for indigents from New York City becomes the setting of some bizarre deaths as well as some political machinations of a Donald Trump-like billionaire who has bought the island and plans on creating housing for the homeless. The characters involved with first landing on the island and then discovering this weird killing force are a female policewoman who is looking for a nameless dead child, forgotten to everyone except her, a prisoner who is innocent of a crime but is doing his time by burying people on the island in mass graves, and a man with gobs of money who has bought the island for seemingly altruistic reasons but in reality has purely selfish goals. The other people on the island die mysteriously with what turns out to be a thinking mass of flies that kills quickly and strips bodies of their flesh and speeds up the decay process twenty-fold. The film suffers from some budgetary concerns as the flies are hardly impressive to see or view. The script also get somewhat trite near the end with little creative tinkering with a situation seen before in other films.That all withstanding, this was quite an unexpected treasure to see. I sat down thinking I was about to watch some special effect laden film about the rotting dead prancing about, but instead I found the film to be very interesting, claustrophobic, decently acted, and even philosophical. Sure there are some things over-done like the girls playing in the streets and the oddly misplaced rap music, but those are small complaints. I am not saying the film is great in any way, but it is a thinking horror film that depends on mood and setting and suggestion rather than what can easily be viewed. Malcom McDowell does an outstanding job in his businessman role. He just oozes with nastiness when he wants to. Talisa Soto also does a rather good job as a cop. Don't brush the film off too quickly nor pay to much mind to the negative reviews. Certainly if you were expecting a film with mindless rotting corpses coming after you with the promise of lots of blood and guts and got a movie with some thought-provoking material you would be disappointed too?
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    Vaguely passable at best, once this film is over you start asking wayyy too many questions and realize you've been duped.

    The distributor obviously had no faith in Island Of The Dead. They resorted to deceptive packaging to get thrill seekers drawn in. Yes, there's a big fly on the cover art that in a way tells you what's in the film. However, the summary on the back mentions an island where New York City buries its unclaimed dead, and that makes you assume you are going to see a zombie film. It's apparent by the following sentence (with an awful typo in the word predators) that there is more deception: "...he soon becomes hunted by the ravenous predator's that lie buried beneath the earth." Zombies? No, FLIES instead, that from one bite can make you rot from just minutes to hours, depending on the need of the plot.

    Since the flies attacked unpredictably, it seems odd that the people trapped on the island would just wander outside instead of staying in. It's mind-numbingly dumb in one scene where the one inmate (Bruce Ramsay) insists on burying a guy who just died and brought on a new batch of flies. Not only do they chance walking through a roomful of flies inexplicably in non-attack mode (and Talisa Soto makes a comment straight out of The Birds), they take the body all the way to a burial site and are not scared that they could be attacked. What you have minus scenes like this and the artsy but aggravating flashbacks to girls doing jump rope is an X-Files episode, amounting to about a 45 minute episode without commercials. Malcom McDowell's attempt to blow up a building was a poor excuse to get an explosion in the film as well.

    So, at one point Soto says the flies "wanted Rupert" (McDowell). If that's the case, they had plenty of opportunities anywhere in the film to bite him.

    The flies were supposed to be intelligent and could wreck phone lines and truck engines, but took them 90 minutes of killing others for no apparent reason before getting their man. We then are lead to believe all is well at the end, but no explanation to if the problem of the flies was taken care of. The film just leaves you dissatisfied and feeling the writers only had some basic ideas, padded it with filler, and figured most viewers wouldn't care as long as they got some gore and get them bobbin' their heads to the "phat" beats of a rap song.

    The actors do an adequate job considering the limited material, but someone DOES need to coach Mos Def on how to act like he's being attacked by flies -- he looked like he was trying to "bust a move" instead. It would also have been nice to make the throwaway characters less obvious -- the guard and the inmate with the tackle box face were just too obvious in their fate.

    I found it ironic that the death-rock inmate, with all his tattoos and piercings was such a squeamish guy. That might have been on purpose, but with all the gaping holes in the plot and the need to use the F-word to convey seriousness, it just all came off as silly.

    I knew things were in trouble as soon as that rap song first appeared out of place in a scene. We are then subjected to it later on and again over the end credits. Worse yet, it's a clichéd rap song, complete with the word "yo" a zillion times and lots of scratching right out of Hip Hop 101 class. I haven't heard this much gratuitous rap since the dreadful THE FEAR (1995).

    The filmmakers must have felt that by sprinkling in rap to distract, it would cover the lack of thrills.

    If you see Island Of The Dead for free, then give it a look to pass the time.

    Here's a good question: Does a city like New York still actually bury its unclaimed dead? I thought cremation would save groundspace and health hazards, unless they need the grounds to bury films like this one.....
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    **SPOILERS** Sargeant Melissa O'Keefe,Talisa Soto,of the NYPD Missing Person Bureau sets out for Hart Island with a burial unit of convicts to find and identify a young girl. The girl is believed to have be buried on the island's Potters Field and Melissa, who was abundant as an infant herself, has this strong identification with missing persons. Melissa wants at least to have them identified, when found, so that she can put their friends and relatives to rest by not wondering if their alive or dead.

    At the island there's a ground-breaking ceremony for a low-rent housing project, Hope City, with the city's mayor and multi-billionaire real estate tycoon Rupert King, Malclom McDowell. The hosing development is being built to keep the riff-raft off the city streets and hide them away there from the public for strictly "humanitariam" purposes. The fact is that King has other purposes for bringing the city's unwanted there and it's for him getting rich by using them as experiments for the pharmaceutical companies that he owns.

    You have to have a real strong stomach to sit through this film with people getting attacked by these super flies who not only infect them with their eggs but who cause their victims to burst open and decompose within minutes. The grossed out scenes in the film have countless maggots crawling out of the infected peoples corpses. The mad and arrogant King had been planing to do this for years by using Hart Island as a laboratory and the use poor and unwanted as guinea pigs. Now with him in trouble financially, he had six major failures in a row, this project The Hope City Devlopment will put him back on top but the over one million bodies buried in Potters Field have other ideas for King and their not very pleasant. It's too bad that almost everyone on Hart Island gets eaten from the inside out by the fly hatching maggots with the person that they were really after Rupert King getting his at the very end.

    Even though the movie was anything but rational and coherent,especially after some thirty minutes into it, it did for a time hold your interests. The cast also did a much better job then the flimsy material that they were saddled with. There was also the very effective and eerie atmospherics of the spooky Hart Island and Potters field that at times made your flesh crawl. But the plot fell apart with the flies becoming more and more unbelievable as they just seemed to come and go, as if they were out to lunch. Making it possible for those on the island to predict just when it was safe to go outside and eventually escape by boat.One of the most ridicules scenes I've ever seen in a movie is when King is attacked by millions of killer flies and to keep them away from him he blasts away at them with his handgun.
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    (Spoiler?) For a minute, actually for about twenty-or-thirty-minutes, I thought I had lucked onto a straight-to-video horror gem. The opening titles told an intriguing, supposedly true, tale of an island in the New York harbor where countless thousands of the city's unidentified and indigent dead have been buried for decades. Cool. The opening was sufficiently eerie and atmospheric. I liked the cinematography, the music, and the setting. Piles of plain, plywood coffins in the morgue awaiting shipment to the island. Scary. Open mass graves on the sandy island. So far so good. The main characters were established quickly and cleanly. Talisa Soto was well-suited for the role of the compassionate missing persons detective. Bruce Ramsay was good as the innocent prisoner stuck on burial detail. The filmmakers even spent some money to get a "name," Malcolm McDowell, to play the Trump-style developer intent on developing the island. They had all the pieces in place for a fun movie except a monster. What do the filmmakers give us? Swarms of flies. That's right. Tens of thousands of corpses on the island and they give us murderous, vaguely supernatural flies. The flies, somehow, some way, seem to realize that McDowell is going to develop the island and they single him out for destruction. (The flies also kill a few other people, probably because they knew the film would be too short if they went straight for McDowell.) These are smart flies. In fact, they're probably so smart that had they written the script, they would have given the audience what it expected: Zombies. Alfred Hitchcock used to say, and I paraphrase, the stronger the villain, the stronger the movie. You do the math.
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    I just watched this thing on Flix. I won't recap what others have said on plot, just my reactions. To paraphrase Ed Wood (who seems like Cecil B. DeMill compared to this movie) "There's been a movie made - and someone's responsible!" I don't know if this really contains a spoiler or not, but if you make all the way through the film waiting for the 'good part' or 'the explanation' you will be sorely disappointed. The only thing decent about the film is the acting - all the primaries make you believe they think they are in a serious movie. If you like long, tedious and meaningless shots of skyscrapers and kids skipping rope edited in willy-nilly, then grab your popcorn and settle in. I guess this was supposed to give it some sort of artsy quality but it just bores you to tears.
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    Tim Southam's Island of the Dead is shot dead serious with a minor few humorous touches, lensed in a wintry blue / gray color scheme, removing as much rays of sunshine and light as possible, seemingly more focused on some sort of depressing message regarding the "disposal" of the undesirables, on Hart's Island, off the coast of New York City, a veritable "place for the dead", a "Potter's Field" where the paupers and unnamed are buried away from civilization. The tone and musical accompaniment are just as drab as the look, and the film's mood compliments cop Talisa Soto's attitude and her put a name to missing persons since she herself was left on a street corner, abandoned by her mother. Malcolm McDowell is a millionaire, Rupert King, the mind and money behind the developmental project of "Hope City", a community for the poor and less fortunate who can contribute to society..or that's what it appears to be. There's actually something far more sinister behind his motives(..hinted at later but not quite elaborated on to full detail, dealing with genetic experiments). Along with some short-term cons helping bury dead in wooden boxes, Matos(Bruce Ramsay), Neely(Kent McQuaid), and Robbie J(Mos Def), & King and his slimy associate Mckloe(Paul Hopkins), Melissa O'Keefe(Soto)will head for Hart's Island on ferry in the hopes of putting a name to her missing person's report. King and Mackloe are on the island for business purposes. What the group are not expecting is a major attack from predatory houseflies whose bite sets off an infectious disease that causes immediate skin and bodily harm, resulting in those bit bursting with maggots.

    McDowell doesn't have to stretch in his role as a loathsome, self-absorbed businessman with ulterior motives, and Soto remains with a sulk. Mos Def provided some well needed laughs as he takes jabs at Neely, an obvious addict on the mend, with various tattoos and piercing. Ramsay's Matos is a clean-cut con proclaiming his innocence to O'Keefe, very insistent on how he was framed by police. Tyrone Benskin is Dwight Truman, the security in charge of the prisoners working detail on the island.

    Houseflies are not exactly the most menacing threat against humankind, but there's some effectively icky make-up work, showing how the body externally reacts to the bodies riddled with maggots always seems to get a properly skin-crawling reaction. Southam uses a lot of point-of-view camera work in regards to the flies themselves charging towards potential victims. We also see them in swarms(..mostly during the night)forming in the sky. I found the idea behind the swarm actually singling out their victims, as if having a motive behind their activities(..specifically, in regards to Rupert King)rather preposterous and silly. Southam insists on cementing his movie with a gloomy atmosphere, and it's hard to take it seriously when you are dealing with hostile flies whose bite somehow infect humans with a disease. In regards to O'Keefe, an indelible image that reoccurs is these kids playing jump rope on a street corner providing the movie with an ever present theme on abandonment that motivates her character in every way. Great setting of the isolated and lonely island is never quite utilized as it could've been which is a shame.
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    If you can get past the fact that this movie is S.L.O.W and there's NO action, (and if you can watch it for free on Amazon Prime like I did) you might not mind it.

    Tries to be kind of noveau artsy with the wind swept high building views of New York City and the melancholic pseudo flashbacks of Talisa Soto's character, but it's out of place.

    There's just not any depth to this movie to warrant that kind of creativity.

    But, for some reason, I just didn't mind this film... probably because I didn't expect much to begin with.

    Go in knowing what you're in for and you might find some appreciation for it.
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    Hilarious Kangaroo

    McDowell has certainly come a long way since A CLOCKWORK ORANGE and CALIGULA. Here, he owns an island chocked with the graves of nameless souls who bit it in the Big Apple and have now turned into swarms of digital dots. The cast beats their heads frantically, but there's no getting away from the nits. Malcolm can't escape this, either. Playing a billionaire businessman, the old Brit seems rather like a loopy immigrant among a cast of Anglo blahs. The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out - bring your swatters, it's an inexpensive special effects treat for anyone who keeps lizards or birds as pets. The flies are wide open on this low budget buzzer.
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    This film doesn't make too much sense. A sergeant (Talisa Soto) assigned to missing persons, is looking for a little girl on an island where the indigent are buried. At the same time some real estate magnate (Malcolm McDowell) wants the island for homes for the homeless. Is it something he is doing out of the kindness of his heart, or does he have some plan connected to the pharmaceutical industry.

    No matter, they are all stuck on the island and the flies are p*ssed. Yes, flies. No alligators, or bears, or Godzilla, just flies. How much terror can you get from a swarm of flies? There are worms too, but that is just disgusting.

    Talisa Soto (Licence to Kill) is better than this. McDowell is washed up.
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    "Island of the Dead" is a thoroughly disappointing and barely worthwhile creature feature.


    Trying to gather case evidence, Sgt. Melissa O'Keefe, (Talisa Soto) heads out to Hart Island, as a graveyard kept there for unclaimed bodies might help her case. While there, she finds that billionaire industrialist Rupert King, (Malcolm McDowell) is also on the island as he begins to turn it into a brand new area for helping the underprivileged in society. While both are out finishing up their actions, they manage to stumble upon a massive swarm of flies living on the island that are infecting them all with a deadly virus that soon has a swarm erupting from within them as well, making most of their escape attempts impossible. Finally getting an idea on how to stop the ever-growing swarm, they put it into action in order to get off the island alive.

    The Good News: There's a few things to this one that keeps it going. One of the bigger issues is that there's a couple of actually entertaining attack scenes that are quite well-done, mostly the main attack sequence on the bunker at the end. While not all that graphic, the site of thousands upon thousands of insects buzzing around the complex and their frantic attempts at trying to break through the glass leaves a lot of rather fine points to the sequence, making their eventual break-in all the more fun when it occurs, as well as their escape idea that actually works really well. There's also another good attack scene earlier on, as a set-up, that makes for some really enjoyable times when the swarm emerges over the tree-line in the distance and really puts it into gear following that, from the foot chase through the undergrowth and the attack on the jeep which is a lot of fun. There's a rather cool sequence as well where the swarm attacks a boat while attempting rescue, where the only thing heard is the buzzing followed by the never-ending blaring of the horn, indicating the worst right in front of everyone that is somewhat enjoyable. The only other part that works here is the initial discovery of the dead bodies, where their deformed and rotting bodies suddenly appearing out of nowhere followed by the look make quite an impact. Otherwise, this one isn't all that great.

    The Bad News: There was a couple problems with this one. One of the biggest ones is the fact that this one is just so slow-going in the first hour, as it focuses way too much time on the useless subplots that don't even feature into the film all that much. It's nearly an hour into this before there's even one attack, because the first part of the film is consumed by sequences detailing it's two main subplots, the search for the missing child and what the building plans for the site include. The first one has a somewhat important factor and is a little more excusable, but the fact that it's mostly just a never-ending series of scenes of her wandering around the bunker looking over everything or pointless, irritating banter between the workers about her or the task at hand really makes those scenes somewhat intolerable the longer they go on. The second one about the building plans is a novel idea, but the fact that this soon becomes the primary focus is what drives this down, since it usually devolves into pointless bickering between the two or his noticeably frustration at having to be around them, and the cliché of it aside, doesn't really provide any sort way to make the film interesting. These scenes are just utterly boring and quite uninteresting, are just utterly dull and provide nothing for the film at all, despite their potential and makes for some really hard times trying to get into the film from the beginning. Also quite problematic is the fact that there's just no real blood or gore in this one, despite it being a creature feature. Those more accustomed to more violent fare from the genre will get almost nothing in here, as it's bloodless deaths to begin with, edited so as to be completely unseen in the current state or just not there, and then coupled with the fact that there's several stumble-upon-the-bodies scenes to be found is where it gets even worse, not having anything at all to do this with and make for an all-around disappointing area for this. The last flaw in the film is the complete lack of explanation for what the flies are doing in here, as there's nothing to say about them. It completely skips over what they were originally, nothing is mentioned about why they're going on the attack, or what the cause was, and we don't even get an explanation for why they lay eggs inside victims only to have them burst out later, if that is indeed what is happening since it doesn't make it clear that's what happening. There's a couple other minor flaws here, but these are the most noticeable and damaging ones.

    The Final Verdict: With only a few things actually worthwhile about this one and a slew of problems, this one is easily a massive let-down. Really only worthwhile for those that like their horror films dry with a touch of drama to the proceedings, while those that are more into other types should heed caution.

    Rated R: Graphic Language and Violence
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    How can movies like these exist? Why did this script get a chance to become a movie?

    What were the producers thinking when they sat down and watched the final editing?: "This was a really good movie! It's so cool the way we cut off the sound at times, like when two old guys are talking in slow motion, and put in some gangsta hip hop over it instead! And people will love this idea of flies killing people for no reason at some times, and sometimes not! But hey, don't write on the back of the box that it's flies killing them, make it seem like it's zombies killing em so that we don't spoil it for the viewers! They're in for a pleasant surprise after watching about an hour without any horror and just are waiting for something horrible to come alive, that's when we release the flies!"
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    If I had it to do over again, I would have spent the time wasted on this movie doing my algebra homework. And I just hope by saying so that I might be preventing some other people from watching this boring, stupid, pointless, worthlessly predictable movie.

    One good thing about it - it's easy to trash. There's this group of people all with business on a New York island where unclaimed dead people end up. Then, too long into the movie, the flies there start killing people. Apparently the flies have an agenda. Because the flies left her and her genuflecting friend alone, the heroine figured it out. "They wanted King!" she proclaimed.

    Ugh. I really hate this movie. HATE it! Some other movies I hate are Beethoven (about the St. Bernard), Portrait of a Lady, Event Horizon. But all of those are better than Island of the Dead.