ISOLATED: Screenwriter & Co-Producer Michael Ferree On Writing Twists In The Sci-Fi Horror Mash-Up (Exclusive)

A new horror movie was released this month with an outrageous science fiction twist. The claustrophobic thriller takes an unexpected turn into the world of sci-fi, so we interviewed the screenwriter!

A new title recently joined the ranks of claustrophobia-inducing movies by the name of Isolated. The horror-thriller and science fiction combination flick features a minimalist cast and outrageously unexpected twists.

Actress KateLynn E. Newberry plays Nell, the main and almost only character (spoilers withheld to interview). In the vein of Saw, As Above So Below, Buried, Devil, and more, those who chase down this subgenre of horror will find this film similar enough to have them on the edge of their seat with the twist of all twists that separates the film from the previously named titles.

Katelynn spoke with us recently about the movie, and we learned a lot of information which only intrigued us more about the filmmaking process and script, so we reached out to the screenwriter himself to learn more. Michael Ferree, pictured below, indulged us with a number of great answers, including this particularly inspirational quote.

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(Pictured Above: Screenwriter & Co-Producer Michael Ferree)

"Never has the saying rang more true, I think, than in film; It takes a village, it takes ninety villages, it takes lots of people to come together and make something like this. I am so happy that we were able to see this through and we were able to get it to the point where we can go see it for all of those people. And that's how I want to continue to work; that's where I find the joy in filmmaking."

We've included a portion of the transcript below as well as our audio and video chats with both Michael as well as the star actress KateLynn for those looking for the most possible information on this recently released horror flick. (Transcript is slightly altered for reading purposes.)

(Above: Audio version with Screenwriter & Co-Producer Michael Ferree)

Literary Joe: What was the spark that initially gave birth to the idea of Isolated?

Michael Ferree: It's really interesting that you asked that. I haven't been asked that yet, funnily enough. This was an original concept - the catalyst did not come from me, it came from Tyler Lee Allen. He approached Greg Krauss and I shortly after we had just come off of working on a film called Seven Days 'Till Midnight. We had come off of that, we had a little bit of downtime and Tyler comes to Greg and I and says 'Hey, I have a concept for a film I wanna write, and I want to talk to Mike about writing it. It's about a girl who wakes up in a room and they're trapped and they don't know how to get out.'

And honestly man, I wasn't really interested in doing something like that because it's been done so many times in so many different ways. Basically, I didn't say no right there, but that was kind of my reaction. I started thinking about it and thinking of ways that we could approach this story differently because Tyler didn't have anything other than that. So I started talking to Greg and Tyler and essentially that starts the line of the process of building the story, which of course, for anyone who's seen it, very minimal cast and minimal locations, but trying to maintain the integrity with a very strong and unique story and with with a strong female lead.That's sort of how the story and the script came about.

Isolated-Key-Art-16x9-3840x2160

(Pictured Above: Poster for Isolated)

Literary Joe: You mentioned minimal cast and location - what was your thought on the minimal cast? Did you think it was perfect for the context or did you feel like you wanted to add more characters and locations for the movies to fill it out more?

Michael Ferree: To be completely honest with you, the concept of minimal cast and minimal location primarily had to do with budget. A very early version of the script had no one else in the script. You had this person that could be this villain or assailant, did he put her there or not, but originally there was nothing to that.

So originally it was very confined, but then we started to grow from there and started to add the Travis character and flesh out the Edgar character. Which was sort of by necessity. Is this story going to be boring if she's in the room by herself the entire time. Which, I think, is the perception to a lot of people of the film, which is true for the most part, but for someone who has seen the film, like yourself, you know that ultimately that is not the case.

(Above: Audio chat with star actress Katelynn E. Newberry)

Literary Joe: With Travis and the other character/s that were added - were either of those characters or the locations an idea on your part? And beyond that, was there anything you were very adamant about adding to the script in which you said 'no, this has to be in it.'?

Michael Ferree: To answer your question, yes. I'm very adamant about specific things with stories that I write because I want to stay true to how I want to write. So if this was a film that was entirely written by me then it probably wouldn't be this psychological thriller, so i want to inject the things that I'm interested in which are dramatic, salt of the Earth like human condition type things. So that bleeds a lot into the characters.

One aspect that I was very adamant on that some of the other producers were like eh about was the colored lights. And one big reason for the colored lights was because I kept trying to tell the other producers that this is something that is unique. I've never seen anything quite like it in a film in the way that it plays out. And also, we're in this room for a majority of the time in this film, so let's do something that's different and something that no one else has seen.

(Above: Video chat with Katelynn E. Newberry)

One of the main concerns from the producers was would the audience grasp what was going on. And I'm a very big advocate for treating the audience the way that you want to be treated. I love to figure things out in films, and try to guess about the ending but keep it to yourself. So you have to give your audience the benefit of the doubt that they'll be able to figure it out and if they don't then at a certain point there is a sort of 'hey, this is what's going on act'.

So another thing I was adamant about was the Travis character. And he is all over the place. The first time I wrote that character I didn't tell the other producers what I was doing. And when I have it to them they were like, woah, this guy is all over the place, and I was like, yeah, exactly. He is solely the anti-Nell in terms of how she holds it together for the most part. She's very strong and she doesn't give up and this guy, like I said, is all over the place.

(Video Interview with Isolated star actress KateLynn E. Newberry)

Literary Joe: How many times was the end of the script changed?

Michael Ferree: That's a really good question, because as you know there's a very big twist in the film. It wasn't very many times, I will say that. The main points of the ending we always agreed on, it was more about how it happened. And when I say this it sounds so vague and ambiguous but it's just a matter of not trying to spoil the surprise. But I guess, suffice to say one iteration of it was that it didn't actually happen. It wasn't actually something that happened and I wasn't a big fan of that. I love ambiguity but I think that to me, this was the ending of the film that I was always championing. So I don't know if it could have ended any other way for me as appropriate for the story.

Will you be checking Isolated out on DVD or digital? Check out the fully immersive video interview with screenwriter and co-producer Michael Ferree and be sure to let us know your thoughts on the trailer and our interviews!

(Above: Video interview with Screenwriter and Co-Producer Michael Ferree)

Today's episode is a bit more special than usual. After interviewing KateLynn E. Newberry in support of Isolated recently, I wanted to reach out to the screenwriter of the film. As it turns out, we aren't only from the same town, but we are actually friends from high school. (What a twist!)


Screenwriter Michael Ferree sat down and indulged me for nearly 45 minutes about Isolated since I had so many questions about the horror-thriller flick and the mystery throughout the movie. I refuse to spoil it, but because of the massive twist in the film, we spend most of the chat talking about the first two acts and then a spoiler section of the show which we properly preface - so have no worries!


While having Michael on we chatted about the three films that he has been working on, and while information is scarcely available on one upcoming movie, we did learn quite a bit about his movie Seven Days 'Till Midnight, so be sure to check that out as well and be sure to check out the brand new release of Isolated on DVD and Digital!


Isolated is currently available on DVD and on-demand.

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