September 24th, 2022
MOVIE: THE OFFERING
STARRING: NICK BLOOD, EMILY WISEMAN, ALLAN CORDUNER, PAUL KAYE
DIRECTED BY: OLIVER PARK
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
The setting of The Offering is a morgue and there may not be a scarier setting in life than a morgue. That’s just the starting point of where the terror in The Offering begins to build. Oliver Park’s nightmarish horror film begins with a son attempting to rekindle his relationship with his father and slowly walks the audience into a dark and haunted spiral. Rooted in the Hasidic Jewish folklore and the story of Abyzou: The Taker of Children, this becomes a family reunion under the shroud of an ancient curse, and as the demon grows closer, the haunts and scares turn up to frightening levels. The Offering is a horror movie that you will gladly take but it will certainly keep you up at night.
Our lead couple is Art (Euphoria’s Nick Blood) and Claire (Emily Wiseman), expecting their first child on the way, and arriving in New York with the hopes of reconnecting with Art’s father Saul (legendary Allan Corduner). The home is also a Hasidic funeral parlor, with a morgue in the basement, and an instant tone of death all around. When the body of a member of their community arrives, Saul has no idea that there is a demon inside, and when Art tries to help, he removes an ancient blade in the body’s chest, which keeps the demon inside. It’s at this moment where all hell breaks loose, with an entity in the house that torments Art and Claire. It quickly goes from rekindling to trying to capture the demon once more, and before it gets a hold of the unborn child.
One of the many reasons why The Offering works so well is because of Oliver Park’s direction, as he instantly sets the mood, and finds an excellent blend of horror. The work from the first time director is reminiscent of Guillermo del Toro, where the nightmares of the mind slowly seep out onto the screen, and become a reality in jump scares, practical effects, and CGI. It’s that capturing of presence that helps the screenplay by Hank Hoffman and Jonathan Yunger, both to have the heavy themes of grief, along with material rooted in authentic monsters that steal children, which allows the actors to play in the terrifying sandbox.
As far as the performances go, it’s all hands on deck, with each individual character staying in their lane, and not taking any moments for granted. The presence of Allan Corduner is a welcome one, as his gentle disposition plays a perfect game of acting tennis with whomever he’s on screen with. Not to be overshadowed is Emily Wiseman, who could easily stand-by and be the panicking wife, but in reality Wiseman delivers a much more nuanced performance than what would be asked of her. Blood is a budding young star, doing the heavier lifting, but challenged by the excellent Paul Kaye, who plays Heimish, as the supportive employee that never left Saul’s side. Now it is Art that wants to prove himself to his dad, but there may be false motivations on the reason behind his return. When more strange occurrences spring up, it leads to a constant digging into what presence has infiltrated this family home.
The ultimate respect that can be paid to The Offering is that it rarely misses, with a great team behind Oliver Park, as the scary things will remind audiences of The Autopsy of Jane Doe and even has the haunting spirit of dreams that plays like a folktale version on the same level as Nightmare on Elm Street. There are jump scares that will get you, a deeper story about family, forgiveness, and sacrifice; And the very presence of Abyzou is an entity we don’t see enough of in horror movies today. The Offering is high level horror and Oliver Park is a director giving us new kinds of scares. That is something that I will gladly accept.
THE OFFERING PREMIERED AT MIDNIGHT AT 2022 FANTASTIC FEST AND HAS ONE MORE SCREENING WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 28TH @8:45PM
3 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady