Shudder Exclusive Offseason just became available to stream, and it’s a creepy, atmospheric trip, rife with fog and rain.
Offseason opens with a thoughtful, intense monologue given by actress Melora Walters as Ava. We later find out that she was mentally confused at the end of her life, but that she snapped out of it long enough to have this lucid conversation with her daughter Marie.
Cut to Marie (Jocelin Donahue), who receives an odd letter in the mail, informing her that her mother’s grave has been vandalized, and Marie is requested to come to the seaside island where she was buried. Marie and her boyfriend George (Joe Swanberg) set off for the island, only to find out that they have arrived on the very day the bridge goes up, closing off the tourist destination for the season. This news is delivered by the sinister looking bridge man (Richard Brake), as rain falls and wind blows.
Offseason makes good use of weather and lighting to up the suspense level and eeriness of the film, with plenty of rain, thick fog and cloud cover. I love a good scary film I can watch with all the lights out, and I recommend it for this Shudder flick.
Marie and George visit the cemetery, where the letter writer is nowhere to be find, and end up at a typical-looking tourist trap bar called The Sand Trap, but there is nothing typical about the islanders inside. They are super-creepy, and fall silent as the two enter, smirking at them and basically refusing to give a straight answer to their questions.
I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but we start to get an inkling of what is going on when Marie tells George about that conversation with her mother, during which the woman told her that the islanders had worked out a deal with a demon.
Now, Marie thinks her mother’s will was altered, because she had specifically said she did NOT want to go back to the island…yet her will requested that she be buried there. What I loved most about Offseason was the slow burn of the story, which we start to get little by little. Donahue, who was so good in The House of the Devil, is great as Marie, showing us her growing uneasiness and slowly mounting terror. All of the actors playing the islanders portray so much just through their facial expressions. They were just creepy from the get-go!
The soundtrack is great too, with brilliant usage of The Vogues’ 1968 tune Turn Around, Look at Me. The beseeching lyrics take on a whole new meaning: “There is someone watching your foot steps…turn around, look at me.” Yikes.
Be warned, if fast-paced, in-your-face, gory horror is your jam, Offseason is probably not the best choice for you. But if you love to feel horror (or even just uneasiness) sneak up on you slowly, this little film might be the perfect destination for you.
Offseason can currently only be seen on Shudder. If you are not a subscriber, first timers can get a free 7-day Shudder subscription by signing up through the website.
Are you a fan of slow burn horror, or does it just bore you? Give us your insights in the comments section.