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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Offspring (2009) Horror Cannibals

Offspring (2009) - How is it that Soresport Movies ends up with so many cannibal movies. You would think that in the thousands of films at our disposal that these would be few and far between. In this case it was all luck, picked up in a discount bin and filed away in giant books of DVDs Offspring was chosen completely by chance, a dice roll to be more specific. Sometimes when we just want to review something but do not know what to choose we just roll some 20 sided dice and let chance decide. So was Offspring a lucky choice, a movie of worth, well I guess that is what this review is all about.
Deep in the woods of Maine for more than 160 years there have been nomadic tribes of feral people just looking for a cave to sleep in and a bite to eat. Because we civilized humans have been encroaching on their habitat these feral nomads have taken the opportunity to get that bite to eat at our expense. Picking through our garbage like raccoons in the night? Ransacking our vacation homes for can goods? No, littering the countryside with our corpses as they kill and eat us. That is the premise and by golly this idea will be explored to the gore filled fullest.
To set it up we get the early kill we need to understand how vicious these people are. A drunk woman named Gloria (T.J. Graye) comes home, there is no way she should have been driving in her car with how much she staggered when she got out of it. A belligerent drunk Gloria yells for the babysitter when entering the wide open front door of her house. To her surprise the babysitter is in the kitchen, well it wasn't a surprise that she was in the kitchen really, it was a surprise that she was dead in the kitchen being eaten by cannibal children. Her alcohol fogged mind slowly comprehended what was going on and she turned to see another cannibal with the parts of her baby in a plastic bag. Yeah those cannibal children are a nasty ( hungry) bunch.
A quick introduction of the characters before we get into the bulk of the story. Computer game programmers Amy (Amy Hargreaves) and David Halbard (Andrew Elvis Miller) live and work in their home in the woods. They are a happy couple with a little baby named Melissa. They talk about being visited by their friend Claire (Ahna Tessler) and her son Luke (Tommy Nelson) who after being abandoned by her scumbag, financial manager husband need to get away from possibly being tracked down by the abusive lout. He also is a criminal like all those Wall St. types just in case being an abuser is not enough. They are coming for some quiet time in the woods and they will get part of that. Steven being a fucking thief he is also misogynist and all around asshole when he dies you are expected to feel good. Played with a spite filled gleam in his eye by Erick Kastel you do not even have to hate him for his implied financial crisis connection. You can hate him for just being a woman hating and abusing douche bag. Did I mention he was an alcoholic? Now that is just piling on.
He does serve a role though beyond being a driving force in bringing Luke and Claire to Maine. He is a counter evil to the cannibals. They are feral hunters who just happen to hunt humans. Predators who seek the easiest prey, most certainly dangerous but for reason outside of good or evil. Steven on the other hand shows how you don't have to be feral to be a predator. His personality was shown very well in a scene of him driving his Porsche to Maine to track down Claire. He stops to pick up this college girl who is hitching to Portland she is friendly and nice, but he is suggestive and cold. When she sees him drinking while driving she wants out. There is this dialog where he tries to convince her to be his guide in getting to hi upstate location even though she is not heading anywhere near there. He phrases it as an invitation with sexual possibilities but when she balks he plays it off as not that. She insists on getting out so without slowing down he tells her to get out of the car with a seriousness that is intimidating. Then he does what this kind of asswipe needs to do, to show control over the woman. He makes her throw her backpack out the window before he will stop. She is reluctant but sees it as the only way out so she lifts it with both hands to chuck it. As she does he takes a long firm feel of her breast. At least he only takes it that far but the girl is definitely feeling like she dodged a bullet when she got out of that car.
The remaining characters are the old retired cop George Chandler (Art Hindle) who was on the job the last time the feral tribe came through town years before. He is recruited by the local cops to help in tracking them down. Is expertise consists of not stopping them before they moved on the first time so it is surprising that he can be any help this time. Then there are the Cannibals lead by Woman (Pollyanna McIntosh) who no doubt got her role in the more acclaimed "The Woman" from her performance here. She brings a fire to the role of the woman in this film. I did not quite get why it was a matriarchal society since her male counterpart at least in age seemed more physically superior. It may be that they wanted a counter to the strong male roles already in the film. Whatever the reason she is menacing and able to lead. The kids are somewhat interchangeable as the tribe with the exception of the blond, maybe called First Stolen? Maybe Girl, I am not sure.
The plot is simple enough, this group of fine young cannibals attacks the home of David and Amy, there is killing and capture. Fleeing with baby Melissa are Claire and Luke. They hide in the wood in a tree house but when they see one of their friends being taken to the cannibal cave Claire heads out to save the day. At the same time Stephen arrives at the house and is run off by the crazy cannibal children. Drunk and belligerent he runs right into the police and George who are hot on the trail of the tribe. The rest plays out in a sluggish and standard survival movie way. Who will survive by fighting off the cannibals? Will Luke and the baby find help? Will the old cop still have what it takes to deal with the threat? Will a horror movie ever end without first setting up for a sequel?
Thoughts on this movie are these: It is a hard premise to sell. In a 160 years a group of survivors from a shipwreck went from being a civilized group to no more than cannibalistic cavemen? They mostly lost their language and apparently the ability to act human really? 160 years ago my could have been your great grandparents, so that would mean that living in the woods caused your grandparents to become cannibals, to not teach language to the next generation and thus your parents just have half words and grunts, they are possible eaten by their children because there was no obvious maternal caring in the tribe. No I just don't buy it, it is not a sound theory. Maybe the writer could explain it. What I did like about the movie were some of the characters and the wonderful gore. It was bloody and gruesome even though the film itself is just mediocre. Art Hindle was great a veteran actor in the horror genre with parts in some well known films like Black Christmas, the 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and The Brood. Actress Amy Hargreaves gets a Soresport point for appearing in the best Edward Furlong movie ever as Kimberley in Brainscan (1994).
So I am barely going to recommend this film but it is truly a borderline call. You may just hate it for its stupid premise and ridiculous cannibals, or like me really enjoy the blood and guts of it and appreciate the writing of the character Steven. I normally don't feel so much venom for a movie character as I do for him.
Rating (5.0) movies rated 5.0 up to 10 are recommended on this blog.

1 comment:

  1. I'll have to watch this just to see Pollyanna McIntosh after seeing her in The Woman.
    In The Woman they also managed to create a male wife beater character so loathsome that you can't wait to see him get eaten.