Her movie star mother Ava Aldrich having spent the few lucid moments of her dying days begging her daughter Marie not to allow her remains to be taken back to the Black Island, it was a shock to discover that unbeknownst to her that her will demanded just that. Wishing to challenge the revision which she had not witnessed, the lawyers were coldly disinterested in Marie’s protests.

Now, her mother’s grave vandalised, Marie and her husband George have been summoned by letter to urgently attend the Lone Palm Cemetery, the island about to lock down for the winter and the tourists gone, leaving only the wind blowing across the sandy shore and whipping up the waves beneath the thundery grey skies and the hostile locals, unwelcoming to strangers even though Marie is family.

The Black Island perhaps a paradise of sunshine and palm trees in the summer months, writer/director Mickey Keating presents it Offseason, as fogbound and deserted as Silent Hill and wrapped by a maze of winding roads which dead-end, Marie and George rebuffed in their attempts to locate the caretaker and desperate to make their way back the mainland before the bridge is drawn up.

Starring Doctor Sleep‘s Jocelin Donahue and The Sacrament‘s Joe Swanberg, the supporting cast is full of familiar names, 31‘s Richard Brake as the requisite harbinger who mans the bridge, After Midnight‘s Jeremy Gardner as fisherman Henry and Dementer‘s Larry Fessenden as the elusive Haskell Grierson who first wrote to request their presence, but with the focus on Marie wandering the streets aimlessly they are given little purpose.

An extended tour of the least attractive tourist town off the edge of the map with sparse dialogue sometimes swamped by the ambient sound, flashbacks add sinister context but do little to progress the plot, the viewer already well aware that the figures glimpsed in the foliage and frozen in their revelry are held in thrall to a dark purpose for which they need the prodigal daughter.

The exposition dropped with the subtlety of slabs of concrete wrapped in breathless whispers in the dark, Offseason is well made but is let down by the lack of original ideas or any progression which might build to a finale, with killer seaweed, demonic pacts and aspects of The Thing and Invasion of the Body Snatchers adding little interest to a standard tale of a return to the cursed ancestral village.

Offseason will be available on Shudder from Friday 10th June



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