I've been scratching my head over this one for about a week now and the further I get from it the more baffled I feel. The setup is terrific. Malcolm McDowell puts forth a stellar performance as a womanizing land developer who rose to greatness from humble origins. He plans to redevelop Hart Island off of New York Harbor, a place where unidentified bodies have been buried for centuries. As one of the laymen whom he looks down upon with disgust comments "He doesn't even know how much money he gots, that's how much money he got." (I wasn't a big fan of this guy either for what it's worth.)
McDowell fights all of the obstacles and red tape preventing this massive project and heads to the island himself to oversee the progress. He is accompanied by an attractive female cop searching for a missing girl (in a meandering subplot that doesn’t satisfy). The setting is perfect. The island looks like an eerie barren wasteland that only a snowless New York winter can provide. I was bracing for the zombie attack and hoped for the slow-moving Romero undead. “These zombies are sure to be particularly angry due to their undignified burials”, I predicted.
And then... Nothing happens. Nothing happens. Nothing happens. Credits roll.
Ok that’s not entirely true. There are a bunch of worms and some *contemptuous snicker* attacking flies that but I believe that the makers should be fined for flagrant false advertising! Island of the Dead? Pfft. More like “Island Go to Bed”!