Does one scary? The Offeringthe second feature film of Oliver Park After his feature debut with A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio in 2019, he has the firm intention of making our hair stand on end from the first second, as witnessed by an introductory sequence that serves as an appetizer for what we are going to see.
The script is the work of another beginner, Frank Hoffmanwhich gives shape to a story whose main focus is a female demon named Abyzou. As usually happens with mythological stories, it can be transferred to different areas and creeds: it is about a female figure that caused abortions, premature death of babies and similar tragedies, hence its nickname “child stealers”.
Trailer for The Offering, premieres on January 27
The film first introduces us to a man practicing a rite, apparently with the intention of communicating with his deceased wife. However something goes wrong and the evil spirit he is in contact with gets trapped inside of him and he ends up committing suicide.
The Hebrew community of Brooklyn moves him to a temporary funeral home where the body will be prepared. He finds himself in the basement of the house of a man who has just received a visit from his son and his wife, both non-believers and non-Jewish practitioners.
Art and Claire present themselves with the idea of strengthening ties and recovering the relationships lost due to these religious disagreements, but not only do they not find a hostile environment, but they are received with open arms.
However, the transfer of the body will start a series of inexplicable events that will upset their peace of mind and make them feel in danger.
The Offering – Image Gallery (4 images)
But… what is the movie about? Good question…
The biggest problem of The Offering it is that he is clear about his mission: to give the audience a hard time but he does not have the remotest idea of what story he wants to tell. The mythology is confusing, the plot even more and the only thing that is constant is the search for the jumps in the seat, most of the time obtained easily.
In other words, the reason for the threat is not explained, why certain steps must be followed to neutralize it or what is even the objective of the demonic entity that is sometimes lethal and other times boringly playful.
Character development isn’t one of the film’s strengths either: their behavior is often absurd and, in particular the protagonist, makes you want to slap him for how inefficient he is at doing what little he does.
The strength of the film is in the staging: the production design takes advantage of Hebrew folklore not so much for the development of the film because it explains nothing (and it should, as films like The Vigil did before, which resembles “a little too much”) as well as for the composition of really rugged environments that make your hair stand on end.
In this sense, the artistic direction and photography point in the right direction, with few locations, but well exploited thanks to resources such as reflections, low lights and the texture of the image.
Unfortunately, the raccord is once again a problem… and a big one, because if you can’t help but pay attention to details like these in a horror movie, it’s because you’re not in the narrative.
In short The Offering It is a film with many shortcomings. The biggest of them: ambition. He fails to create anything new or original and, to add to his derision, he pulls on digital effects when he least has to: at the pinnacle moments when less would have been more. Each incursion of CGI reduces the effectiveness of the proposal and relaxes the tension, so that the rhythm is very irregular.
Is it used to have a bad time? Oh, yes, of course, terror is often a grateful ground, but whoever looks for a credible proposal, one of those that penetrates to the bone, will see that The Offering they fall short. The boats in the chair are safe but this Abyzou is not going to sneak into our nightmares or make us look under the bed. With the bad vibes that she gives the concept.
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