Offspring (2009) / The Woman (2011) – Film Reviews

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Offspring / The Woman

Film Reviews

Director: Andrew Van den Houten
Cast: Pollyanna Macintosh, Art Hindle, Amy Hargreaves
Certificate: 18

Director: Lucky McKee
Cast: Pollyanna Macintosh, Lauren Ashley Carter, Sean Bridgers
Certificate: 18

by Roger Crow / @RogerCrow

There’s an opening scene in Offspring which sets alarm bells ringing. The old plot device of revealing vast swathes of exposition via vintage newspaper headlines (circa 1900) hits a snag with a story written in Zapf Chancery. Not only would this not happen, the font, favoured by restaurants worldwide in a desperate attempt to make their menus look classy (they never do), wasn’t released until 1979.

offspring the woman film reviews coverOf course most viewers won’t give two hoots, but the fact the rest of the stories also look like they were knocked up on a Mac makes you realise the film makers aren’t exactly desperate for credibility.

Obviously as a font snob, that’s just one of the many problems. The lashings of gore that follows will leave some viewers reaching for the “off” button. But if you’re not afraid of scenes which look like an explosion in an abattoir, or features terrible drunk acting, this might be your cuppa.

“Miserable scenes”

The plot: nearly two centuries after the strange disappearance of Daniel Cook’s family, the Halbards and their young girl live a happy life, unaware that Cook’s descendants and their clan of cannibalistic inbred savages have set their sights on them.

The whole thing is unpleasant, humourless and the antagonists are as annoying as the heroes. The sight of a woman hitting herself with a stick (possibly as penance for signing up for this movie) is just one of the assorted miserable scenes.

Many films deserve sequels but this wasn’t one of them. Regardless, The Woman arrived in 2011 and caused some fuss at its Sundance premiere, apparently. I’m not surprised. After five minutes of (offscreen) animal-related violence and pretentious slow motion, I felt nauseous.

offspring the woman film reviews polyanna

“Toxic travesties”

Basically it’s more of the same. This time a successful country lawyer captures and attempts to “civilise” the last remaining member of a violent clan that has roamed the Northeast coast of America for decades. Naturally the lives of his family are soon endangered.

If you want to see how this sort of thing should be done, watch The Descent. Otherwise, perhaps best to socially distance yourself from these two toxic travesties as much as possible.

Special features in Offspring include an interview with director Andrew Van den Houten (where his phone goes off and should have been left out, but wasn’t), and Blighty’s own Pollyanna Macintosh (Jadis in The Walking Dead), who proves far more interesting than her horrific screen character.

She recently directed Darlin’, a third movie in the saga. Can’t say I’m desperate to see it, even if the fonts are historically accurate.

Performances5
Direction4
Script3
Originality4
Effects4
Extras6
TWO-DISC LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS
- Brand new 4K restorations of The Woman and Offspring, supervised and approved by Lucky McKee and Andrew van den Houten
- Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork for both films by Vanessa McKee
- Collectors’ booklet featuring new writing by Michael Blyth, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Kevin Kovelant

DISC ONE – THE WOMAN
- New 4K restoration supervised and approved by Lucky McKee
- High Definition Blu-ray™ (1080p) presentation
- Original DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- New commentary with director Lucky McKee, editor Zach Passero, sound designer Andrew Smetek and composer Sean Spillane
- New commentary by star Pollyanna McIntosh
- New commentary by critic Scott Weinberg
- Archive commentary with director Lucky McKee
- Dad on the Wall, a brand new 75-minute fly-on-the-wall behind-the-scenes documentary filmed by the director's father Mike McKee
- Being Peggy Cleek, a newly filmed interview with star Lauren Ashley Carter
- Malam Domesticam, an archive making-of featurette
- Meet The Makers, a short featurette on the making of the film
- Deleted Scenes
- Mi Burro, a short film by editor Zach Passero
- “Distracted” music video by Sean Spillane
- Frightfest Total Film Panel Discussion, a 2011 onstage chat about the future of American indie horror at the popular horror film festival, featuring Lucky McKee, Andrew van den Houten, Larry Fessenden, Adam Green, Joe Lynch and Ti West
- Theatrical trailers
- Image galleries

DISC TWO – OFFSPRING (LIMITED EDITION EXCLUSIVE)
- New 4K restoration supervised and approved by Andrew van den Houten
- High Definition Blu-ray™ (1080p) presentation
- Original DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- New commentary by director/producer Andrew van den Houten
- Archive commentary with writer Jack Ketchum, director/producer Andrew van den Houten and producer/cinematographer William M. Miller
- New interview with Pollyanna McIntosh and Andrew van den Houten
- Fly on the Wall, a brand new fly-on-the-wall behind-the-scenes documentary
- Extended interview with Jack Ketchum
- Restoration comparison
- Progeny: The Birth of Offspring, an archive behind-the-scenes featurette including interviews with cast and crew
- First Stolen’s Bailout, an archive behind-the-scenes featurette
- Webisodes, short featurettes used to promote the film online
- Archive Easter Eggs
- Theatrical trailer
- Image gallery
- BD-ROM screenplay
The Woman / Offspring is released on Blu-ray by Arrow, £24.99

4.3
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