Offspring is reliant on children for many of its shocks. The first on-screen kill has a drunk mother coming home to a kitchen covered in blood, while savage children dressed in furs munch on the babysitter. They attack her, and seconds later the camera goes black.
There is nothing wrong with the situation in terms of the film. These children were raised in a pack of traveling cannibals, having found victims in this same area over a decade prior. It makes sense that the children would follow the same path as their parents.
The issue with Offspring is how it deals with its woman in general. They are hopelessly weak, unable to fend for themselves even with a gun in their hands. They stand around being beaten, raped, and eaten, barely trying to fight for their lives. It is a terrible cliché, painful to watch, and makes this material far less credible.
Graphic gore, from bodies already eaten to those in the process, is undoubtedly shocking. The cannibal “lifestyle” includes whipping their own kind to a bloody pulp, sending them into someone’s home, and then attacking the distracted homeowner. Amazingly, all of the scars and cuts from that same whipping ritual heal the same night, a glaring continuity error.
Dialogue is purely explanatory, with minimal development. A conversation about a woman’s ex-husband happens to bring up all of his despicable actions to set up that character before he is even on-screen.
Once Stephen (Erick Kastel) does make an appearance, he is a caricature. He picks up a young female hitchhiker, molests her, drinks while driving, and is such an impossible jerk, tells the cannibals to bite his ex-wife after being captured. No one would have married someone like this, or had two kids with him. Cannibals make sense, but an ex-husband this cruel is simply too ridiculous.
Offspring was obviously shot cheaply, and this AVC encode is not likely the source of the problems. Inherent softness dominates, even appearing out of focus and hazy. Marginal print damage is evident, while fine detail is not apparent at any point during this film.
Darkness dominates, leading to video noise. Black levels are fine, typically rich and solid. Long shots of the forest and ocean are an encode concern, with visible artifacting further softening the shot. Flesh tones seem to be a victim of the low budget lighting, and vary from scene to scene. This is an ugly film in terms of both content and video.
As with other Ghost House Underground releases, a DTS-HD mix is provided, offering some memorable moments. Knocks at the door are nicely positioned in specific speakers, adding a creepy quality to scenes before the cannibal attack. The forest areas keep insect and bird calls in all channels for added ambiance.
Gunfire is suitably powerful. Dialogue is well mixed and clear. This is an effective audio track that nicely adds to the film.
The extras begin with a commentary, delivered by novel writer Jack Ketchum, director Andrew van den Houten, and cinematographer William H. Miller. Those who desire behind-the-scenes footage with their making-of details will approve of Progency: Birth of Offspring, a solid featurette that runs 20-minutes.
First Stolen’s Bailout is a funny story from the set involving the arrest of a key actor before filming. A collection of eight webisodes was used to promote the film, and feel as such while you watch them. A usual round up of Lionsgate trailers and a promo for the Ghost House Collection mark the end of the bonuses.