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Friday, July 10, 2020

Offerings (1989)




The Slasher marathon continues here at crappy movie reviews. This time I found one that was new to me. Offerings is a regional effort made in Oklahoma City. It doesn’t break any new ground and in some ways is very familiar to another more famous slasher flick.

Things start off ten years ago with some kids playing. One of them is a boy who never talks. He is friends with a little girl named Gretchen who plays checkers with him and is basically the only person who treats him nice. We see earlier that the boy’s mother is a real piece of work. Some other kids show up and bully him into “walking the well”. This is a balancing act where you walk the circumference of the well. He falls in and then the movie flashes forward to the present ten years later.

Gretchen and the other kids are now teenagers and doing what these movies think high school kids do. Eating pizza, having sleepovers, and making out. The boy has spent much of this time locked up in a mental hospital. The fall resulted in him having a serious brain injury and that made him into a psychopath that ate his mother! A nurse is late giving him his sedative and he breaks out of the hospital heading back to town killing as he goes. Okay so actually just one person and a duck as he walks the forty miles to town. After he arrives, he starts killing off the kids who caused his accident. Because she was nice to him, he decides to leave body parts on Gretchen’s porch, which the movie cleverly keeps from her for a while. This all leads to a big finale where he gets shot six times with a revolver and gets up.

Like OH MY GOD the '80s...
There was very little effort put into the script. It basically follows much of the plot of Halloween with the guy breaking out of a mental hospital and coming back to town to kill teenagers off as they canoodle. The fact that it isn’t random and that he has some motivation behind his actions is nice. The idea that he likes the one girl and leaves “offerings” to her as some sort of twisted courting thing (I think…) is also unique. But everything else just reminds me of Carpenter’s Halloween. He kills a dog, the attack from the back seat of a car, he digs up a grave and smashes a headstone (okay not exact but close enough). If you think it is just me there is only one musical stinger in the movie, and it is so damn close to Halloween that I am surprised someone didn’t get sued. If you are making a genre flick don’t constantly remind me of a better one that I could be watching.

The movie also has some serious pacing issues. After he breaks out it takes a long time for the killings to start. Instead we are treated to some terrible acting and awkward dialogue. For example, when a girl asks for some class notes the guy grabs his wang and yells “They can note this…” What the hell does that even mean? This is the sort of writing that we get all the way thru and it is terrible. This is also a movie that has weird attempts at humor at entirely the wrong time. It constantly kills any momentum and mood that it has built. I almost feel like this was supposed to be a comedy at some point. There are gags with a toolshed full of broken tools, a weird mortician’s intern, and a goofy deputy named Buddy that don’t seem to fit.

Gotta love those wacky Mortician's interns!
How do they do on the slasher formula? There are a respectable nine kills in the movie, but most are off screen with the results only seen afterwards or in profile as shadows on the wall. We get a head smashed in a vice, a neck snapped, pen to the forehead, a flashlight beatdown, and some other stuff. We get to see none of this happen and because of that Offerings lacks that signature kill that is so important to the slasher genre. As far as nudity goes, yeah I’m being creepy again. In my defense it is part of the expectations with these flicks. If that offends you don’t worry because there is none. We even have the sheriff find a kid in the creepy boarded up house that the killer grew up in. Hey there is another example of them copying Halloween. Anyways the kid has a box of skin magazines. They don’t even show anything then. Other than a poster on a wall we get nothing.

I’ve seen worse movies than Offerings. That said this has got nothing going for it. Bad dialogue, derivative story, bad acting, lack of gore, and slow spots make for a lousy way to kill ninety minutes. I can’t recommend this one.


© Copyright 2020 John Shatzer

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