Offseason (2021)

Look, I’ve said it before and God knows I’ll say it again, but if you leave home, never come back. If your mother dies telling you there’s a curse; if your father paints pictures of a dark stranger and a bloody moon and leaves you messages saying to never come back; if you need to fix a will; no matter what, never go home again.

Director and writer Mickey Keating has made Psychopaths, Pod, Carnage Park, DarlingRitual and Ultra Violence over the past years and now, he’s back with Offseason, which has Marie Aldrich (Jocelin Donahue, always and forever House of the Devil) going back to the coastal town of her birth, a place where her mother Ava Aldrich (Melora Walters) has just passed away in and begged to not be buried within. Now that the tourist island has called her back — her mother’s grave was desecrated — she must get in and get out before the small village shuts down and refuses outsiders until the season returns.

Look, when Richard Brake controls the entrance and exit to your hometown, get out. Get out and never come back. Then again, seeing the relationship that Marie has with George (Joe Swanberg), she doesn’t have much on the outside either. But this is a place where the locals stop talking the moment you walk in, where everyone is an outsider if they’ve left the place behind and where menace hangs in the air. It’s a wonder people aren’t devoured at the grocery store.

You may ask, if you’re as obsessed by Messiah of Evil as I am — check out our commentary track — is this Point Dume? The streets look the same, the fog feels the same, but this all had to have had a catering budget equal to that classic’s entire overall cost, right? Regardless, this has some potent visuals and looming Lovecraftian menace, even if it doesn’t really get anywhere by the end. You’ll see the close coming and be fine with it — this is technically a gorgeous film — but wonder how this could have surprised you more.

You can watch this on Shudder.

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