Having launched into the film industry as an intern through hit or miss horror production studio, Blumhouse, Mickey Keating has now directed six feature films including Darling, Carnage Park, and Pod.
HIs latest outing, Offseason, now streaming on Shudder, much like his other movies is drenched in inspirational nods to the films of yester-year. Most notable here is 1973’s Messiah of Evil, a supernatural horror that follows the pursuit of a young woman’s lost father.
Similarly here, we journey alongside Marie (Jocelin Donahue) who receives a letter to attend to her mother’s grave, which has been vandalised on a remote island. Accompanying her is George, played by a criminally underused Joe Swanberg (You’re Next), known for his involvement with the mumblegore movement.
It’s important to stress this link because much like those movies a similar style is at play with a guerilla style improvisation in the dialogue that never quite hits the mark on this occasion.
Once the couple brave the storm and cross the only bridge from the mainland, they encounter a strange and isolated town that strikes as if it was pulled straight out of Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth.
There are legends of a demonic creature from the sea, a cult that are ensnared by his command, and all this ties to a pact that involves Marie’s deceased mother.
Are these all figments of a deranged collective?
Or is there truth to it all, and Marie is part of a trap, lulled to fulfil a prophecy?
It is clear that Keating has a vision in mind with some stylistic set pieces that weave together Marie’s plight into a strange world. There are moments of promise, but in his execution Keating fails to string together these moments of confusion to form any sense of clarity. We, like Marie, end up lost in the exposition, struggling to navigate our way towards the films conclusion with any sense of satisfaction.
Despite having a great calibre of actors to fill his cast, Director Mickey Keating struggles to harness any weight to this Lovecraftian inspired horror.
There are some promising set pieces but it fails to produce any cohesiveness and instead wallows in its narrative mire.
- Saul Muerte