Wednesday, June 08, 2022

Offseason, on Shudder

Apparently, this small island community has brought New England-style weirdness to a Florida key. It would seem even cults built around Lovecraftian horror find the Florida economy more inviting. Marie Aldrich’s movie star mother made it clear she never wanted to return, not even to be buried. That is why the daughter was so shocked when her mother’s will stipulated she be laid to rest in the island’s cemetery. It also makes her especially annoyed when she is summoned to the tourist trap island, by the news her mother’s grave was desecrated. Of course, someone or something wants to lure her there in Mickey Keating’s Offseason, which premieres Friday on Shudder.

When Aldrich arrives with George Darrow, her close-to-being ex, the groundskeeper is nowhere to be found. The locals are not exactly friendly either. Darrow is understandably eager to leave the island before the drawbridge closes (or rather opens) for the duration of the offseason. However, a strange force keeps steering them into dead-ends.

Keating is very definitely an up-and-down filmmaker, but
Offseason might his most successful film yet, in terms of crafting mood and atmosphere, even more so than Psychopaths and Darling. It is also probably his most polished film, so far.

There is definitely a lot of
Shadow Over Innsmouth vibes going on. The flashbacks are mostly padding, but the film definitely mines the tight little island setting for maximum impact. Production designer Sabrena Allen-Biron notably contributes some memorably eerie analog sets and trappings that really give the film a distinctive look and texture.

Jocelin Donahue is pretty solid as Aldrich, basically looking credibly scared, without acting like a complete basket case. Melora Walters is all kinds of nutty and alarming playing her unhinged mother in flashbacks. As usual, Richard Brake is also reliably creepy as the “Bridge Man.”

is a modest film (that builds to an inevitable and anticipated conclusion), but it works as an isolated Lovecraftian excursion to eldritch (as well as Aldrich) places. Recommended for fans of folky, island horror, Offseason starts streaming Friday (6/10) on Shudder.