Thursday, June 30, 2022

{The Midnight Horror}—"OFFSEASON" is a Suspenseful Supernatural Thriller

Wait a minute... is Billy reviewing horror movies again? 

I planned to restart my Midnight Horror post series, but my plans were constantly sidetracked by illness, death, and other uncontrollable setbacks. Are the postings back indefinitely? That remains to be seen. I'm testing the waters, hoping to rekindle my creative mojo. Let's start with the "Offseason" and see where it takes us.

Unlike other horror bloggers, I don't have the time to keep up with every new release. There are just too many new VODs, and the majority slip past my nose. Offseason is one of the few exceptions because, by coincidence, I stumbled across the trailer on YouTube and what I saw piqued my interest.  

Offseason (83 minutes; Not Rated) is a horror film written and directed by Mickey Keating (Pod, Darling, Carnage Park). It's one of the final films made in the pre-Covid era. Production was completed only weeks before the epidemic struck the film business in March 2020. In 2021, the film had its world premiere at SXSW. The North American rights were obtained by RLJE Films and Shudder. It had a brief theatrical run, followed by on-demand and digital releases in March 2022, and then on June 14th, it was released on DVD and Blu-ray. It's available on Shudder.

Jocelin Donahue as Marie Aldrich in the horror film, OFFSEASON, an RLJE Films release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films.

In the film, Marie Aldrich (played brilliantly by Jocelin Donahue) travels to a lonely offshore island with her lover (or fiancé), George Darrow (Joe Swanberg). Are they on leave? Nope. It's not even close. Marie got an unexplained letter notifying her that her mother's gravesite had been damaged and that she needed to come immediately. When they arrive, they learn that the island is closed for the offseason and that they only have a limited time before the drawbridge raises till spring, or they will be stuck there. They come across the local inhabitants while looking for the cemetery caretaker, and let's just say it's a strange experience for them. With time running out, fog descends, forcing Marie to solve a family secret in order to survive the nightmare that awaits her.

Rather than reprinting the full press release, I'll offer a few statements from the filmmaker regarding the film's inspiration. "The images of this film first appeared to me when I was very young. Growing up in Florida meant many, many, many trips to the beach, and at some point or another, we’d find ourselves in some lonely little beach town during the fall, or winter, when there was barely another soul in sight. That seed of inspiration laid the groundwork for what Offseason would eventually become." -Mickey Keating

Before penning my final comments on Offseason, I made the error of reading a few Amazon reviews. One reviewer described the film as "boring and uninteresting." Hmm. I think today's audiences don't favor slow-burning thrillers with a creepy atmosphere and a story. I would have had the same thought once upon a time. I'm not sure. Maybe it's because I'm getting older, but slow-building, tense horror films interest me, and Offseason is one of them.  
A good horror movie, in my opinion, is all about atmosphere and sound. Writer/director Mickey Keating does an excellent job of establishing tension by evoking John Carpenter's The Fog, Carnival of Souls, The Twilight Zone (the original), and H.P. Lovecraft. Shafer James composed a terrifying musical composition that complements Mac Fisken's stunning and disturbing cinematography.  
Jocelin Donahue provides a standout performance as a devastated daughter attempting to piece together her mother's horrific past. Despite his brief cameo as the "Bridge Man," Richard Brake delivers an excellent performance. 
Overall, Offseason is a nail-biting supernatural tale that I plan to revisit in the future.╌★★★★★

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review. I think I'll go ahead and watch it right now. :)


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