Saturday, June 25, 2011

Offspring (2009)


Written by Jack Ketchum
Directed by Andrew van den Houten

George...Art Hindle
Claire...Ahna Tessler
Stephen...Erick Kastel

Back in the 18th Century, the local lighthouse keeper went missing.  Now, in the modern day tiny coastal town of Dead River, people have a tendency to go missing.  What's the connection?  It seems that the descendants of this lighthouse keeper have become a murdering, inbred clan of cannibals who hide among the treeline and feed upon the populace.

George Chandler is a hard-drinking former police officer who is pulled out of retirement because of his expertise in the matter.  He leads the wet-behind-the-ears police force in the manhunt, but not before the titular Offspring get their grub on with one particular family the main dish.

Clocking in at just 78 minutes, this is a quick and messy bloodbath.  There are plenty of people introduced exclusively so that they can be killed off later.  This is a cliche that threatens to drag this movie into slasher territory, but because we initially perceive these characters as leads, it also causes us to understand that no one is safe here...not even the children, who are traditionally untouchable.  In fact, it's a newborn baby that is the tribe's primary target.

Obviously certain elements are reminiscent of The Hills Have Eyes, only taking place in the woods and on the beach, and not nearly as effective.  The Dunes Have Selective Hearing, maybe; or The Trees Wear Corrective Lenses.

With lots of nudity, lots of violence, and lots of gore, this movie thrives solely on shock value.  I haven't read the Ketchum novel upon which this is based, so I can't speak of how faithful of an adaptation it is, but  the film version is an entertaining, but ultimately vapid, variation on a theme we are already familiar with.  The lapses in logic, and the lack of a coherent backstory will probably ensure that this doesn't make it on too many Top Ten lists, but ultimately you could do much worse if you're looking for a quick fix and a bucket of Karo syrup.

Rated R
78 Minutes
United States

"Baby die in shit and urine."


  1. I skipped this generic-looking horror footnote, but glad to hear it wasn't as bad as it could'a been, anyhow... Thanks for takin' the hit for me, fellow J-bro.

  2. I read the Ketchum story on which this was based but haven't seen the film. Saw THE WOMAN last week though and it was excellent.

  3. I've been reading horror fiction for lo these 25+ years and hadn't even heard of Ketchum till about 4 or 5 years ago. Now he's the go-to guy for blurbs and cred. What gives?


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