Offspring (2009)

Director: Andrew van den Houten
Writer: Jack Ketchum
Based on: Jack Ketchum’s novel
Followed by: The Woman
Cast: Pollyanna McIntosh, Ahna Tessler, Amy Hargreaves, Holter Graham, Art Hindle, Andrew Elvis Miller

Along the North-Eastern coast of America, people have been disappearing for over 100 years. What nobody really knows is that a pack of feral cannibals is the cause of the disappearances, though one retired policeman (Art Hindle) does suspect it. The group’s roaming brings them back to Maine and into the house of Amy (Amy Hargreaves) and David Halbard (Andrew Elvis Miller), who are visited by their friend Claire (Ahna Tessler). In a desperate attempt to save their children, Amy and Claire take up the fight.

I was so in love with The Woman that I just had to see its prequel Offspring. Unfortunately it’s one sore disappointment – badly written, badly acted and boring.

As I haven’t read any novels by Jack Ketchum, I can’t say if the difference in quality between the two movies is also reflected in the books. But rarely have I seen such a disparity in two screenplays by the same guy. I’m inclined to think that Ketchum learned from the experience and that Lucky McKee had a good influence on him for The Woman. In any case this screenplay was not good. At all.

It didn’t help either that the acting was so sub-par that you can hardly call it acting in the first place. The dialogues probably wouldn’t have been as bad if they hadn’t been delivered so completely wooden. The only person who manages to have some kind of presence was Pollyanna McIntosh. Which is the best thing I can say about the film.

Andrew van den Houten just really doesn’t have a grip on the film – neither the story, nor the characters, nor the pacing. And so everything that might have made sense in the book (there are traces of intelligence that make me hopeful that that was the case), was frayed, distorted and destroyed.

In the end I was just absolutely disappointed. If I hadn’t had such high expectations, this might have been different, but I doubt it very much. Because qualitatively nothing speaks for the film.

Summarising: I should watch The Woman again and forget that Offspring ever existed.

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