US (dir. Andrew van den Houten)
Cast: Art Hindle, Pollyanna MacIntosh, Jessica Butler, Tommy Nelson, Taylor John Piedmonte, Andrew Elvis Miller, Amy Hargreaves
Synopsis: Survivors of a feral flesh-eating clan are chowing their way through the locals.
Review: Nothing could have possibly been more unnecessary than this film adaptation. “Offspring” is truly one of the worst book-to-film adaptations I’ve seen to date. For starters, it’s a film adaptation of the sequel to a book which is considerably lesser than the original. It has some terrible, terrible acting. The “effects” (by which I specifically mean scenes where guns are fired) feel so cheap that it’s almost laughable. Worst of all, the script is horrendous. Even simple things like costume design and set decoration turned out terrible. I can’t even imagine why this film was even made in the first place. It’s embarrassing knowing that both Art Hindle (actor from the original “Black Christmas”) and Jack Ketchum (the author of the book upon which the film was based) were heavily involved in this film (as producers, actors, screenwriters). To put it bluntly, this film is a waste of everyone’s time. It’s useless because it adds nothing to the horror film canon (seriously, do we really need another cannibal film out there besides “Cannibal Holocaust”?) and it’s pointless because it feels as though it is a sequel to another movie that doesn’t even exist. It’s definitely not worth seeing unless you really want to see the “Offspring”/”Offseason” books bungled on the big screen.
To start things off, the film feels a lot like the sequel to a film that hasn’t even been made. It’s like the film starts somewhere in the midst of a bigger story. There are a lot of plot aspects that you as a viewer are simply left without knowing. It’s just assumed that the audience understands or is familiar with the back-story and the book(s) upon which the movie is based, and I think that’s a big problem in this movie. The most time that gets spent on back-story is dedicated to the opening scene of the movie, where a bunch of newspaper snippets roll by along with the credits. It’s very similar to what was done in “Wrong Turn” but with less effectiveness.
From here you are immediately thrown into the movie’s first shocker moment where a woman, her children, and the babysitter are killed/eaten (off screen) by a feral clan of human cannibals wearing outfits likely popular during the stone age (think animal hides and bone jewelery). At this point the aging town sheriff and his band of inept policemen are introduced. Here’s where lack of a back-story becomes problematic: the sheriff suspects the clan of cannibals he killed off years earlier is responsible for the new rash of killings in town. The obvious question that would arise here is “what clan of cannibals?” Nothing is explained at all. You’re pretty much left without any explanation as to what happened that would necessitate a town sheriff killing off a bunch of cave dwelling cannibals. It’s just mentioned, forgotten, and the film soldiers on without any explanations. The same thing happens when we are introduced to the central, victim family. There are apparent back stories to their situation, but nothing is discussed in any detail and there isn’t even a single flashback to any events from the past. They don’t even spend enough time developing the characters that make up the family. The father figure, who is set up as the potential hero, isn’t given much more attention than revealing his name, the fact that he enjoys hanging out in his backyard late at night, and the fact that he (of course) loves his family. He never does anything heroic and the only thing he offers to the movie is a total “LOL” moment where he calls the police station to make a report about a family friend being abused by her husband, and then ends up being warned to barricade the house all while talking on the phone with the same amount of concern and depth as if he was ordering pizza or calling to cancel a magazine subscription. He’s a useless hero character who doesn’t even get to become a true hero at all.
In “Offspring”, it would appear as though the flesh eating savage club is recruiting new members by kidnapping lactating women and babies. It’s unclear whether they intend on raping new women to propagate some healthy, cannibal babies to replace their likely inbred brood of children, but suffice it to say it might not have been out of the question altogether. I can’t rationalize why the clan does what they do and what their rationale is, mainly due to the fact that when I watched the movie, the subtitles were missing (or maybe they weren’t ever supposed to be there in the first place). If they were missing, that’s my fault for not getting a proper version, but if they were purposefully left out (or if there are none at all) then wow… someone really dropped the ball on that one. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what the savages are talking about with one another (you can pretty much figure it out based on their body language and vocal intonations) but at some points it gets annoying. I would have rather they didn’t have long conversations amongst themselves anyways. Besides, they are supposed to be vicious cannibal recluses, how the hell did they manage to come up with their own language and teach each other their language in the short span of time in which they were allegedly killed off and then revived due to the survival of at most one or two individuals.
A lot of horror movies include the presence of at least one asshole who you wish desperately to be killed in as bloody and terrible a way as possible. This is one of those films. There’s such a long list of things this asshole character is responsible for doing, which include, and are not limited to, beating his wife, groping a hitchhiker, driving a Lamborghini like he was the shit, forgetting his only son’s birthday, losing all the family money, and even participating in the genital mutilation of his wife. He’s a bad, bad man… and of course he gets it pretty bad in the end. I’m not sure if decapitation is the right word for what happens to him, it’s more like de-face-itation (he gets his head chopped off midway between his face, in what is possibly the only high point of the movie).
The movie drags on and on to a pointless ending where a non-savage kid kills a savage kid in order to protect a baby. Other than a bunch of cops getting killed off by children and a woman getting her box mutilated by a set of stainless steel teeth, not much else exciting happens. The clan isn’t even completely killed off, so in essence the sheriff failed at protecting his charming little boondocks town. Fail.