A decent spin on “The Hills Have Eyes,” “Savage Island” pits yuppies against hicks in a fight to the death between two families on a remote isle. What helmer Jeffery Scott Lando’s first feature lacks in imaginative ideas and production gloss, it makes up for with tight pacing that bridges the credibility gaps. Small-screen sales beckon.
Steven (Steven Man) is already odd man out when visiting in-laws with high-strung wife Julia (Kristina Copeland) and their baby; the senior Youngs (Don S. Davis, Beverley Breuer) are overbearing, Julia’s sibling Peter (Brendan Beiser) is obnoxious. But social discomfort gets much worse when reckless Peter hits something while driving with the headlights off. It turns out to be the youngest son of the Savages, a bluntly named hillbilly clan who for generations were their eponymous island’s sole inhabitants. Next morning, they confront the wealthy interlopers with frontier justice: You kilt our boy, now we take yer babby. This doesn’t go down well, natch. Stupid decisions and much violence quickly reduces the population as Steven tries to rescue his captured wife and child. Grainy night photography is only real minus in resourceful low-budget package.