“At some point you just have to accept your nightmares – they are part of you, family – like an old friend.”

Haunting, creepy as hell, atmospheric and oh-so effective, Offseason is one not to miss if you get the chance to check it out.

It showcases a notable leap forward for writer/director Mickey Keating, already known to Frightfest audiences of course for his work on films such as Darling, Carnage Park and Psychopaths.

The story this time around follows Marie Aldrich (an excellent Jocelin Donahue), who receives the troubling news that the grave of her recently-deceased mother – former film star Ava Aldrich (Melora Walters) – has been vandalised.

With her partner George (Joe Swanberg) in tow, Marie heads off to the island of Lone Palm Beach to investigate, only to find the island about to ‘close’ for the winter due to horrendous weather conditions.

Pressing on regardless, Marie does indeed find her mother’s smashed headstone, along with some particularly peculiar locals. And, if these locals seem less than pleased to see her, they are even less keen for her to leave…

Hardened genre fans will see echoes of the likes of genre gems Dead & Buried and Messiah Of Evil (and even Silent Hill) at play here, but Keating rolls all that influence up into something still fresh.

Effortlessly sinister, Keating ladles on the atmospherics through the use of deserted streets and mist, with a sense of isolation and paranoia that hits right from the off.

The director can also clearly handle a set-piece, with a scene in a mannequin-filled ‘Museum Of History’ a particular standout.

Donahue, who appears on screen for the vast majority of the film’s run-time, is perfect for the part, balancing that tightrope between obvious fear and a determination to find answers.

The locations are great, the mood evocative and credit must also go to the stunning sound design, courtesy of Shawn Duffy.

Offseason is definitely one of my favourites of the festival – Keating pretty much had me in the palm of his hand right from the off and I am already looking forward to whatever he does next.

Arrow Video Frightfest Review: Offseason
4.5Overall Score
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About The Author

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle