Lovecraftian Thrills

Mickey Keating’s Offseason is a fine supernatural thriller boasting a captivating performance by lead star Jocelin Donahue (Doctor Sleep). The actress turns what could have been a ho-hum mystery into a haunting and scary thrill ride. She channels a young Margot Kidder in her role which is an unexpected delight.

The SHUDDER offering’s cast includes Joe Swanberg, Richard Brake, and Melora Walters (The Pale Door). Its sinister atmosphere sustains dread and real tension, building a nightmarish mood. Offseason is a slick and fairly polished horror experience, if a wee conventional and predictable.

Offseason is a slick and fairly polished horror experience

The spooky island thriller’s premise is thin and requires some suspension of disbelief. Marie (Jocelin Donahue) learns her mother’s grave on a remote offshore island has been vandalized and she needs to come immediately.

Arriving just before the island is closed for its offseason, the woman becomes trapped on the desolate island with its creepy assortment of locals. Suddenly isolated, communication with the main land is conveniently cut off.

The mystery of her mother’s past and why she didn’t want to return here leads Marie on a horrific journey of discovery. The island hides a demonic curse which lurks beneath its quaint, small-town charm.

Lovecraftian overtones and dark occult horror are neatly sprinkled into the mostly taut screenplay. Offseason begins somewhat sluggishly but smoothly turns up the suspense. It’s a small but capable cast, helped by an excellent score and island scenery setting the ominous atmosphere. Keating’s experienced hands skillfully guides the scariest material, producing gasps and screams in easily startled viewers.

Solidly crafted horror filmmaking like Offseason is greater than the sum of its parts. Effectively chilling frights, Jocelin Donahue’s charismatic starring turn, and a fairly unique setting make for compelling terror. The movie doesn’t reinvent the wheel but rarely has SHUDDER backed such competent filmmaking.


The main feature runs 83 minutes on a BD-25, encoded in so-so AVC. The 2.39:1 presentation exudes sharp definition and excellent clarity. Some banding and posterization does creep into the 1080p video. The transfer is derived from a nigh pristine digital intermediate, reflecting the filmmaker’s intended palette with its limited saturation and darker tones.

Black levels are crisp and shadow delineation is decent for low-budget cinematography. The island setting provides photogenic potential which is occasionally highlighted. The colorist goes after typical thriller hues with an emphasis on teal and green in select scenes.

Offseason isn’t eye candy in the traditional sense but the indie horror production offers professional cinematography with moody intentions. RLJE issues the movie on Blu-ray with a technically sound transfer with no serious problems.


The 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio features a nicely-layered mix which helps bolster the movie’s frights. The atmospheric sound design has several exciting moments when it takes listeners by surprise. There are cool surround tricks when Marie is left alone in the house. Cues are tightly imaged and the haunting score has wonderful extension. Bass reproduction could be more impressive.

Optional English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles play in a white font inside the scope presentation.


No special features are provided other than a few trailers which precede the main menu for other SHUDDER horror films.

First pressings include an embossed slipcover.

SHUDDER Trailers (06:51 in HD) – Son, The Dark & The Wicked, The Owners

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided by the label for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page.

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A spooky, atmospheric tale with Lovecraftian undertones, solidly written and acted.

User Review
3 (1 vote)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 42 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray:

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