OFFSEASON (2021) Reviews and now streaming on Shudder

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Offseason is a 2021 American horror film about a young woman that travels to a desolate island town and soon becomes trapped in a nightmare.

Written and directed by Mickey Keating, (Psychopaths; Carnage Park; Darling; Pod; Ritual),

The movie stars Richard Brake (Tremors: Shrieker Island; The Dare; 3 from Hell), Melora Walters (Severed Silence; The Pale Door; Cam), Jocelin Donahue (Doctor Sleep; All the Creatures Were Stirring; The House of the Devil) and Joe Swanberg (Lace Crater; The Sacrament; V/H/S).

Our review:
Mickey Keating’s Offseason has some splendidly nightmarish eerie imagery and other-worldly atmosphere that showcases strong performances from Jocelin Donahue and Richard Brake. It is oft said that films are Lovecraftian when there is little more than PR hype to suggest so but in this case, it is entirely valid. There’s also a nostalgic feel to the proceedings due to embellishments such as chapters and the ditties on the soundtrack. Offseason’s weakness is that it feels like an extended episode of The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits – something that is reinforced by the film’s short running time. It’s still worth a watch as long as the lack of depth is borne in mind.
Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA

Other reviews:
This may well be Keating’s most cinematic work to date, all set amid a disconcerting mixture of island life imagery […] Keating lets the tension and pure metaphysical dread mix with quality jump scares and terrifying yokel menace, until the malice under the island finally reveals itself. Chilling and unsettling, intimate yet monstrously vast in its cosmic horrors, Offseason is as dangerously welcoming as the island itself.” The Austin Chronicle

Offseason too often treads familiar territory and there’s not really enough plot here to merit a full-length feature, but Keating’s strong visual style and Donahue’s endearing presence make it a film worth checking out. It’s not going to blow you away, but as an exercise in technique it’s certainly watchable.” Bloody Disgusting

“While the budget does show at points, and the acting and visuals detract from the overall concept, the core of the film is well worth your time. If you love classic horror/thrillers, and are a fan of the surreal, give Offseason a shot, it is a story well worth getting trapped in.” CGM Backlot

“Some of the dialogue isn’t particularly good and the story and narrative itself also isn’t the best area. But the film does still work as an effective horror because when the scares come, they are absolutely terrifying which makes up for the script. Overall, Offseason is an excellent film and it feels so refreshing to have a truly terrifying horror film.” Coast House Media

“Southern gothic imagery is undoubtedly Offseason’s saving grace, and enough to carry viewers through the film, provided they don’t expect clear answers. It’s worth watching for its disorienting and intoxicating atmosphere, but there’s not much narrative substance beyond that.” Consequence of Sound

Offseason excels at putting a bottle around insidious insinuations, but their hollowness tastes more like a side salad of superficial visual spooks than a juicy porterhouse of narrative-driven thrills […] Offseason shows Keating taking more confident command over style, yet there’s still much work to be done on constructing a concrete story.” Culture Crypt

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“Keating blends Southern Gothic narrative influences with a visual style that evokes Silent Hill, Fatal Frame, and other “survival horror” videogames, making ample use of fog, mist and shallow depth of field. The moody, ethereal visuals heighten the tension […] It’s solid stuff, with great work from Donahue…” The Lamplight Review

“It’s fast-paced, exciting, and often quite scary. It’s filled nicely with the sort of burst of adrenaline and humor that would make for the sort of fun experience that I can only imagine would have been truly wonderful in a packed auditorium with a horror-loving audience.” Loud and Clear

“The first half of this is strong set-up, where much of the horror happens in the second half where the mystery truly gets topsy turvy. Wherever you think it’s going, you could have the right inkling; but Offseason does a great job of throwing crazy surprises at you. For that reason, it’s a great midnight film.” The Movie Buff

“The occasional blood-curdling scream notwithstanding, Offseason is more chilling and gloomy than frightening. But the fog, the creepy old coots, the formidable drawbridge as an obstacle and Mama’s cryptic warnings and horror diva shrieks tip the scales. There’s a reason the locals call it “off season,” after all. “Stay away” sounds too hostile.” 2.5/4 Movie Nation

Offseason stands out from its horror contemporaries with its resolute focus on sustaining mood and atmosphere […] This is old school horror, with a fog machine working overtime, mist creeping around tombstones and hanging vines as telephones ring tauntingly in the distance. Like Carpenter, Keating makes great use of the empty space of his widescreen frame, keeping us constantly on edge looking for figures in the shadows and mist.” The Movie Waffler

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“Keating keeps things aesthetically simple, creating his effects via imaginative use of buildings, props and his cast–the latter particularly in a shivery setpiece inside that bar, late in the story […] The chilly music by Shayfer James and sinister sound design by Shawn Duffy perfectly complement the spare, menacing veneer Keating creates; his is a welcome return to the genre…” Rue Morgue

“Mickey Keating attempts a gothic-and-dreadful kitchen sink approach, but he’s best when unsettling through understated imagery synonymous with barren-and-forgotten Americana most travelers would drive on through. It’s rough around the edges when heavy special effects are required, yet proficient in shanty-shady tones and detectable darkness that hides secrets from one sequence to the next.” Slash Film

“It’s a shame that Offseason ends up as average as it does. It’s often an exercise in tedium but fills those long stretches with relatively interesting ideas, even if they’re not particularly original. As a tone piece, Keating delivers an eerie coastal horror film that wants nothing more than to entice viewers with its mystery.” Tilt

“Despite all the fruitless chaos, the filmmaker still manages to keep the viewers on the edge of their seats, with handsome effects and a devilishly fun sequence featuring a possessed Swanberg. In that regard, never mind why Marie walks in and out of frighteningly deserted stores, creaky attics and echoing woods with white-eyed evil spirits closing in on her. With Keating’s mostly swift direction, her senseless excursions become worthy episodes to follow…” Variety

Release date:
Offseason had its world premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW) on March 17th 2021. It was also shown at the 2021 Arrow Video FrightFest in London in August.

RLJE Films will be releasing Offseason theatrically in the USA select locations, Digital HD, and On-Demand on March 11th 2022. Blu-ray and DVD releases will follow on June 14, 2022.

Shudder will stream the movie in the USA, UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand from June 10, 2022.

Cast and characters:
Richard Brake … The Bridge Man
Melora Walters … Ava Aldrich
Jocelin Donahue … Marie Aldrich
Joe Swanberg … George
Jeremy Gardner … The Fisherman
Jess Varley … Young Woman
Amanda Grace Benitez
Jonathan Medina … Clayton
Eliza Shin … Gardner
Ken Luzadder … Old Man
April Linscott … Miss Emily
Anthony Azar … Bartender
Andrew Varenhorst … Man From the Sea
Andrew Vilar … Young Man

Filming locations:
Florida

Production companies:
Defiant Studios
Particular Cloud
Sunset Junction
Kodiak Pictures
Macpac Entertainment

Technical details:
1 hour 23 minutes

Trailer:

Clip:

 

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