Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Offseason (2022)

Streaming Service: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: Offseason (2022)
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Length: 1h 23min
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Defiant Studios, Kodiak Pictures, Sunset Junction Entertainment, RLJE Films
Director: Mickey Keating
Writer:  Mickey Keating
Actors: Jocelin Donahue, Joe Swanberg, Richard Brake, Melora Walters, Jeremy Gardner, April Linscott, Jonathan Medina, Eliza Shin
Blurb from IMDb: After receiving a mysterious letter, a woman travels to a desolate island town and soon becomes trapped in a nightmare.

Selina’s Point of View:
The last movie we reviewed was Shadow in the Cloud (2020), which was another film with a drastic difference between critic and audience scores. In that case, I admitted that I wasn’t sure why it didn’t do well with audiences. Where Offseason is concerned, I understand the discrepancy a bit more.
I want to start off by saying I enjoyed Offseason. The setting was creepy, the burn was slow – but intense, and Jocelin Donahue (The Affair, Doctor Sleep, Insidious: Chapter 2) was exceptional at portraying micro-expressions.
There’s this one part in the beginning where she sees something that makes her character angry, and she perfectly embodied it with just a couple of muscle twitches. From that moment, the movie had me. I knew that no matter what happened, Donahue was going to be able to carry it.
It was just my luck that the story was Lovecraftian in nature. I enjoy that kind of thing.

My understanding in the discrepancy between critics and audiences is based solely on today’s horror market.
When you look at recent horror films, you see a lot of violence. When there is a psychological factor, there’s almost always a mystery factor involved that leaves you wondering if it really is all in their head. As a fan of horror films, I enjoy those types as well.
Offseason gives off a more old-fashioned vibe. The whole thing is a slow burn that keeps one foot consistently in that supernatural area, but it’s got all the subtlety of a brick. I feel like embracing that feel through black and white visuals, would have made it better. At the very least, it would have given audiences a bit more of an idea of what to expect.
I think horror fans should be giving Offseason a try. That said, remember that it’s not quite what one would expect from a current supernatural flick.
Offseason will be available on Shudder this Friday, June 10.

Cat’s Point of View:
The credits have rolled for Offseason, and I’ve found myself struggling to put my thoughts into words to describe what I just watched. On one hand, the trailer had me intrigued with the concept. Offseason certainly delivered what was promised with its teaser. The problem is that the trailer sums up the entire movie without having to watch it.
It’s likely that part of the film feeling ‘lost’ could be intentional so that the audience experiences some of the same emotions as the main character. A lot of it could be trimmed, however.
My main problem was that I couldn’t really buy in to the story in general. The ‘emergency’ used to bait the daughter to the island wasn’t solid enough to hook me. There were elements that defied my ability to suspend disbelief cropping up around every corner after I started to feel like maybe it was grabbing my attention after all, and it tanked my investment all over again.
The information drops sprinkled throughout the story would have been more effective if sold better by the cast. Quite a bit of the production just felt…hollow, for lack of a better word. It is entirely possible, given the context of this narrative, that it could have been a direction choice and not the fault of the actors. Unfortunately, it made the viewing experience frustrating for me because I struggled to retain focus on what was happening.

In full disclosure, I had to watch Offseason twice. I fell asleep in the middle the first time. I thought that I was, perhaps, just tired because I’m still experiencing an energy deficit from the last week and a half of being on the go. Unfortunately, my tiredness only contributed to my already flighty ADHD attention span. Alas, I had trouble staying tuned in. 
The one stand-out performance that I had no trouble at all believing was Richard Brake’s (The Death of Stalin, 3 from Hell, Tremors: Shrieker Island) bridge man. His character was at the peripheral of the tale and, honestly, I’m likely to remember him more than the primary characters.
Writer and director Mickey Keating (Pod, Carnage Park, Psychopaths) had an interesting vision of a new spin on a genre mash-up of zombies, possession, and cursed places. It’s still early enough in his career that he may be working on finding his voice and hitting the right stride.  

The best I can say for Offseason, however, is bless their hearts – they tried.  

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 68%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 18%
Metascore – 55%
Metacritic User Score – 3.6
IMDB Score – 4.8/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating 4/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating 2.5/5
Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: R
Movie Trailer:

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