Friday, April 1, 2011

MMM Blogfest 2011: Offspring

Do you ever watch a film where you can hear in your mind how the dialogue is meant to be delivered, which is totally at odds with how the actors are doing it? Offspring is plagued with this problem. This is a shame, because it mars what is otherwise a pretty brilliant piece of filmmaking. Not that the performances are uniformly bad, but there are far too many lines that fall flat and seem amatuerish. The acting seems to break along gender lines, that is, all of the females in the film are pretty terrific, while most every male kinda sucks.

But don't let this put you off, Offspring turns out to be a powerfully disturbing, brutal-as-hell movie that leaves your stomach in knots. While the premise is fairly preposterous, director Andrew Van Der Houten totally sells the reality of a cannibalistic clan of feral people hiding out in the woods of Maine and staging brutal home invasions to collect human meat and babies. The gore is copious and well-done, and once the dialogue stops and the screaming starts, the performances improve vastly.

Pollyanna McIntosh gives the standout performance of the film as Woman, the leader of the clan who plays a savage like she was plucked straight from a secluded cave where she was raised by wolverines. She is absolutely terrifying and vicious, throwing herself fully into a role that could potentially have sunk the movie, had they cast a lesser actress. In looking up her name on IMDb, I discovered that she reprises this role in Lucky McKee's The Woman. As if I weren't already chomping at the bit to see it. Now I want to track down everything she's been in. She's that good.

 The verdict: despite its flaws, Offspring is a powerful viewing experience that left me in something of a daze when it was over. I'm sure I'll be thinking about it for days to come. Don't miss this one.

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