Frightfest Halloween: The Offering (2022)

Director: Oliver Park

Running Time: 93 Minutes

Starring: Nick Blood, Allan Corduner, Emm Wiseman, Paul Kaye, Jonathan Yunger, Daniel Ben Zenou

With the opening text, director Oliver Park dives audiences into the mythology his latest film's based around. The reported myth of a female demon held dozens of names across different languages and religions, yet one attribute was shared - taking children. This is the last thing Art (Nick Blood) needs, as he returns home with his pregnant wife Claire (Emm Wiseman) to reconcile with his orthodox father Saul (Allan Corduner). These intentions are put to the test when the family morgue receives a mysterious corpse, containing an ancient entity with sinister intentions for the unborn child.

While Art wishes to make peace, financial issues trouble his mind and leave him with a difficult choice to make. Despite a wavering accent, Blood captures the character's inner struggle as his attempts to reunite his loved ones are met with worries about the future. His father, Saul, is just happy to make amends while regretting his past actions, something evident as Corduner puts real gravitas into his performance. There's genuine emotion to character drama, making it easy to believe in the relationships, even if the pregnant wife could be given more to do.

Where the horror excels is in the smaller moments, as the use of darkness and running ink delivers on the creepiness. It's a shame the proceedings instead try going bigger and resorting to loud noises, as they're much less effective. This is particularly true of the third-act, as the film's attempts to take larger swings and become more elaborate unfortunately miss the mark. A shame, as the first two-acts are a solid blend of familial drama and Jewish horror.

The Offering made its International Premiere at Frightfest Halloween