DIRECTOR: Kelvin Tong
WRITER: Kelvin Tong
Jamie is a young reporter that receives a phone call sadly informing her that her older sister Anna, has died due to mysterious circumstances in Singapore. Grief-stricken by the news. Jamie books a flight straight out to Singapore to find out what happened to her sister. As she begins investigating the strange circumstances surrounding Anna's death. She uncovers a number of deaths that are linked to her sister and something more sinister might be at work.
When I began to watch The Offering. I got this sense immediately that I had seen this type of story before. A younger sister who must travel to a foreign country to find out what has happened to her older sister. Investigating her sister's untimely death, she uncovers something completely horrifying and something supernatural. If this sounds very similar to Takashi Shimizu's The Grudge 2, It's because the setup is pretty much exactly the same. Only one is far better than the other.
I feel awful for even comparing this movie to that of The Grudge 2. I know that critics mauled the sequel. Even I left the cinema disappointed after loving his US remake of his own Japanese original. However, Takashi Shimizu deserves the utmost respect as a horror filmmaker as he is a master at delivering some of the creepiest, unsettling, and jarring imagery. He knows how to successfully build suspense with the best of them. This movie sadly does not.
Where do I begin with The Offering? Let's start by stating the fact that this movie is painfully slow. The film over the course of an hour and a half kept losing my interest. Several times during the film, I found myself being so uninterested in the events that were taking place on the screen that I almost turned the movie off and chose not to review it simply because I felt like I wasn't entirely committed to this story. The film is one of the slowest supernatural films I've seen in recent years. It was honestly a struggle to get through.
While The Offering is littered with demonic possessions and ghostly sightings. It just isn't scary at all. I didn't find one moment in the entire movie that made me feel any sense of unease or creeped me out. The movie couldn't even manage a loud noise or cheap jump scare to get me spooked. The movie basically flatlines from the very first scene, right up until the very last. The movie is a scare-free affair from beginning to end. Look elsewhere for horror and suspense.
I think another big problem that I had with The Offering was the addition of Ghosts using digital technology to communicate with the living. While this is not an original idea and has been done before in other Horror films, the way this movie handles it is just laughably bad. I think while I can suspend my disbelief when it comes to ghosts using technology in supernatural films. Spirits using technology will always be one that is a big stretch for me. Playing it dead serious didn't help here.
The Offering is also clearly inspired by a lot of better Supernatural horror movies. It takes a lot of little things from other horror films and throws them into this movie. A melting pot of rehashed ideas if you will. I mentioned at the beginning that the setup of this plot feels like it borrows heavily from The Grudge 2. Another movie that this takes ideas from is The Conjuring. Right down to the demonic possession where we see a possessed woman tied to a chair. It all feels rather uninspired and unoriginal.
The acting isn't great. I feel saddest for Matthew Settle who I'm quite familiar with as he starred in the silly but still enjoyable I Still Know What You Last Summer. He's still apparently never left the B-Grade genre circuit as he's still making painful 'Straight to DVD' horror films. Elizabeth Rice who looks very familiar but I can't place her in any of her IMDB credits has the biggest role. Sadly her character is left to not do much at all. The worst of the lot is first-timer Adina Herz who plays one of the most annoying and angsty teens to ever grace the screen. Painful.
Lastly, I will end this review on a positive. While I didn't find much to love about The Offering, I can say that visually, the film doesn't look that bad. The fact the film is set in Singapore adds a nice little touch of flavour to the typical US mass-produced horror films. The movie also has a few neat visual tricks up its sleeves. This movie is pretty low budget, but you can't hate on a director for trying to add some visual flair to his film. It's probably the only element that I can praise.
DEATH TOLL: 3
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A dead corpse is shown on a slab.
- Death by suffocation.
- Someone gets their eyes gouged out.
- A priest is crucified against a wall.
- Bugs and boils are seen coming out of people's faces.
- A woman stabs herself in the stomach while pregnant.
- Video footage of a woman pulling out a fetus out of her stomach.
- Someone almost dies from hanging.
- A person dies during an exorcism.
While The Offering has several neat visuals tricks that make it look a lot bigger than its minimal budget. The film is still a complete mess. The movie has a convoluted plot that really doesn't make much sense in the end. Most of the performances, also aren't very good. The film is barren when it comes to scares and suspense. The Offering is a tedious and cliched supernatural ghost story that takes from better films. Watch any of the movies that this borrows heavily from before giving this one a watch.