"Offspring" Jack Ketchum's Novel Brought to Life

Offspring
2/19/2010

This is the third book by horror author Jack Ketchum to be made into a movie, the others being “Red” and “The Girl Next Door”. “Offspring” is based on the book "Off Season" published in 1980 and was his first novel. It was deemed very controversial for it grotesque violence. The movie was made last year from Ketchums’s own script and directed by relatively new director Andrew van den Houten.

The movie was obviously made on a very small budget and except for the violence and gore it really shows. Even though Ketchum is credited with writing the script, he should really stick to novels. The dialogue is utterly comical, there is a paper thin plot and together with terrible acting it can be a chore to watch. This film can really only be endured by either hardcore horror fans or Ketchum Fans. This movie has clich├ęs galore for every taste, the retired alcoholic cop, the small town police force, and the angry ex husband on a mission. Revealing past events in the form of old newspaper clippings is another one that is used in about 80% of all horror movies. The story, like the book, takes place in the coastal Maine town of Dead River (the ominously named town).

The story of “Offspring” involves a clan of feral savage. Think of Deliverance meets pissed off Native Americans. The reason I chose to write about this particular movie is for its depiction of the clan. This film is similar to the book in that it doesn’t shy away from anything. This is a balls-to-the-wall bloody horror spectacle. It has kids killing adults, dead babies, cannibalism and so much more. Our main characters are quite one dimensional, like cattle being led to the slaughter. But they are not annoying like a lot of horror movies. With a bigger budget a lot more talent this could be a decent flick. For example, although the story takes place in Maine, an up close scene with a police car in the foreground is obviously from Michigan (which is were the film was shot). However, I did like how they used sound to heighten the suspense and creepiness.

The Clan members themselves which are mostly children, are well played. The actors really dug into these intensely psychotic roles. The violence and gore is also quite impressive and well done. Now that we know where all the money went, you can understand why the rest of the production is quite poor. Like I mentioned before if your not a hard core horror fanatic like myself I wouldn’t bother with this one.