Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Offering promises an alternative brand of horror drenched in Jewish folklore and demonology, and thankfully, that is exactly what it delivers. Forget about the occasionally stilted acting and the sometimes-iffy CGI—let yourself get wrapped up in the eerie, mysterious vibes. Movies like The Vigil and The Possession would be proud to count The Offering among their prestigious ranks. With a stand-out movie monster and a compelling atmosphere to boot, there is a lot to love with this subversive indie horror gem.

Art (Nick Blood) and his deeply pregnant wife, Claire (Emm Wiseman), have come home to visit his father, Saul (Allan Corduner), a Hassidic Jew, whom Claire is meeting for the very first time. Secretly, Art needs his father’s business and home—a bustling Feinburg Funeral Home—signed over by the end of the week, or else he is simply in insurmountable debt. Art’s arrival also signals the delivery of a fresh corpse into their morgue. The body arrives with a dagger sticking out of him, and an ancient amulet around his neck. The victim of a failed ritual that resulted in him absorbing a demon into his body, then killing himself in the opening scene, this man’s literal demon is about to be unleashed…

Art and his father have a number of unspoken issues, yet they seem to slide back into old habits quickly. Art is immediately tasked with assisting in the assimilation of said new corpse, but I had to wonder, wouldn’t the murder weapon be removed during the autopsy? Why would all these items still be on his person? Perhaps I just don’t know enough about the way funeral homes work, but this aspect did leave me slightly confused. Nevertheless, there is a scary ghost girl and ancient lore concerning a shapeshifting predator that kept me hooked to the screen.

Typically, what happens next will not be new to horror fanatics. Arguing and secrets between Claire and Art come to the surface. Rituals are attempted. Claire has spooky recurring nightmares, and then of course, Art also begins to have nightmares. One of the cheapest gimmicks in any schlocky horror movie is the overuse of nightmares. Unless you are a Nightmare on Elm Street entry, this trope comes across tired, and yet it fits The Offering in what the movie is trying to accomplish. Mainly, the big bad demon of the film makes it all worthwhile. I was surprised how dark it got, particularly in the ending. One could come close to calling it just plain mean, but it does at least make The Offering somewhat memorable amongst a crowded horror field in 2022. It certainly won’t reach top ranks, but The Offering could scare up a hell of a fun time if given the chance.

The Offering screened at 2022’s Fantastic Fest. 

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