Offensive (2016)

Director: Jonathan Ford
Running Time: 105 Minutes
Rating: 18
Starring: Russell Floyd, Lisa Eichhorn, Fred Adenis, Timothy Morand, Angela Dixon, Etienne Fouillade, Anaïs Parello, Patrice Ortega, Peter Lamarque

Retired couple, Bernard (Russell Floyd) and Helen Martin (Lisa Eichhorn) inherit a house in rural France, where Bernard's father brutally liberated locals from Nazi rule during World War II. They plan to grow themselves a garden and enjoy the peace and quiet, but these plans are thrown into turmoil, as the pair are targeted by a cruel gang of kids. They commit vicious actions with gleeful laughter, recording it all on their phones, pushing the couple to breaking point.

After co-directing The Dead and The Dead 2: India, Jonathan Ford goes it solo to write and direct this isolated piece of horror. This menace may be more realistic than the zombies of the previous two films, but it isn't a million miles off, as this teen gang are depicted as a mindless group, shuffling throughout the picture with only violent interests on their mind. By showing how awful this nasty gang are, Ford builds up the tension throughout the first act, where dropping a brick through the windscreen of a passing car is treated with laughter and joy. Yet this reviewer can't shake how this depiction feels like a thin sketch of what adults think of today's youth, and even comes off to feel like a warning advertisement for this generation.

It can't be denied that they fit the story well, though, as we're left caring for the central couple of Bernard and Helen. They just want to be left to their devices, enjoy the change of scenery, and tend to their garden in peace, and we're left to want that to be all that happens to this loving pair. Lisa Eichhorn and Russell Floyd do brilliant work making their marriage come off as real, to believe that they've spent every one of their years in each others loving company, and that they feel like real people. Considering how Bernard relocated to the town his father saved from Nazis, he's surrounded by reminders of his fathers actions, and is left to feel he can't measure up to his Nazi slaying father. There are generational expectations left to weigh on his mind, and Russell Floyd portrays this aspect very well.

In order to keep the plot going, the film has to give an explanation as to why these teens get away with their terrorising. The reasoning feels rather tired, but it's worth overlooking for the second act, where Bernard gives into his idealised idea about his father, and takes vigilante action against the gang. This leaves viewers to witness tense set pieces, which are brilliantly realised and impressively gory. After all we've witnessed the retired couple go through, this feels cathartic to watch, and will surely hold your attention until the end credits.

The kids aren't all right in Offensive, a tense and gory depiction of the generational gap.