Some of the greatest horror films conjure up an atmosphere of the uncanny. Set in insular communities where there’s something not quite right, but you just can’t put your finger on it. Whether it’s the pagan old ways of The Wicker Man or the Lovecraftian nightmare of In The Mouth of Madness, the off-kilter environment is perfect for testing the psychological health of an unsuspecting visitor. A daughter is sorely tested in Offseason.
After her mother’s (Melora Walters) death, Marie (Jocelin Donahue) was surprised to discover that she requested to be buried on the island she grew up on. Sometime later, she receives a strange letter explaining that the grave had been vandalised. Arriving with her partner (Joe Swanberg), they learn that the bridge is about to be raised for the offseason, closing it off to tourists and outsiders. Stranded and struggling to uncover the truth, they soon start to suspect that there’s something not quite right with the locals.
One of the most difficult things to do in genre cinema, especially without a large budget, is to build a strange and believable world. Offseason does a great job of conjuring up an eerie and slightly off-centre version of reality. Indeed, it’s the atmosphere which draws the unsuspecting viewer in to Mickey Keating’s film. This stylish cinematography produces several chilling moments, and while the story might not always keep up Offseason is bewitching vision of evil.
Offseason is out in US cinemas, VOD and on Digital on 11 March.