the offering | oliver park | hank hoffman | paul kaye | nick blood | emily wiseman | united states | united kingdom | bulgaria | ritual | mythology | religion | monster | creature | allan corduner | daniel ben zenou | sofia weldon | anton trendafilov | jonathan yunger
Film: The Offering
Director: Oliver Park
Writer: Hank Hoffman
Starring: Paul Kaye, Nick Blood and Emily Wiseman
This is a movie that I didn’t know much about. I saw that it was playing at the Gateway Film Center and that it was horror. That was enough for me to make a point to go to the theater to check this out. It also made an interesting pairing on Journey with a Cinephile: A Horror Movie Podcast as a 2023 release. I’ve also given it a rewatch as this is now streaming on Hulu.
Synopsis: a family struggling with loss finds themselves at the mercy of an ancient demon trying to destroy them from the inside.
We start this at the house of Yosille (Anton Trendafilov). Background information is that his wife passed away. He did a ritual to see her and this causes Sarah Scheindal (Sofia Weldon) to visit him. He is trying to do a binding ritual, but it kills him in the end.
The movie then shifts over to Arthur (Nick Blood) and his wife Claire (Emily Wiseman) as they go to visit his father, Saul (Allan Corduner). Tensions are high from the last time they visited. The reason is that Claire isn’t Jewish. Art has distanced himself from the faith as well. They are there as Art needs his father to sign a document so he can use his house as collateral in a business deal. Art is struggling at work and he’s hiding this from his wife.
Things are much different than they were expecting. Saul has relented since the last visit. He is elated to see them. Part of it is that Claire is carrying his first grandchild. Saul’s friend and co-worker of Heimish (Paul Kaye) isn’t as happy. He doesn’t trust Art.
I should also point out that Saul runs a funeral home. It is done in the basement and front room of his house. It is focuses on the Jewish faith as that is the community Saul lives in. Yosille is brought in and Art agrees to help his dad. Saul gets pulled away by Heimish so Art starts. He finds a knife in the man’s chest and an odd stone around his neck. Art removes the knife and pendant. He drops the latter though. It cracks. He is worried so he slides it down a drain. Saul returns and notices the knife. It makes him concerned with the markings on it. He thanks Art and has him go to bed.
The worry causes Saul to reach out to an expert on Jewish lore, Levi Siegelman (Jonathan Yunger). He runs a bookstore from what I’m gathering. Saul relays what he knows and Levi puts his fears to ease. The older man doesn’t know about the stone though. Levi tells him to not worry about a demon inhabiting the body. They just cannot burn it as that will release the entity.
Supernatural things start to happen from here. Art and Claire both see things. Saul encounters something much worse. This entity does what it can to get free and entice this young couple. We also learn one other thing about the demon, it is the taker of children.
That is where I’ll leave my recap and introduction to the characters. Where I want to start is that I did a quick search on the name of the demon which is Abyzou and it seems to be real. I love this idea. I’m a sucker for mythology, especially when it is something that I don’t know about. Apparently, this isn’t the first movie that features this creature. The Possession from 2012 features this, but it is referred to as a dybbuk. Slender Man also briefly shows it. This is a female demon normally that is blamed for miscarriages or infant mortality. That should give an idea here what it wants. As a new parent, it was effective.
Then going from this, I think that is works having built in mythology. The movie also introduces the information that you need to know, if you’re unfamiliar with the entity coming in. It then is just the imagery. I love the look of the entity. They go CGI with it, but I’m not sure doing it practically would help anything. The form they use is in line with our idea of Satan. It is a goat-like creature. They also hide it where we see parts of it and it doesn’t linger too long. I’ll give credit to the cinematography here as well.
With what they set up here, there is a human story between Art, Saul and Claire. It isn’t a complicated one and it doesn’t have to be. Heimish believes that Art is there for a reason. He’s not wrong, but I do also believe that Art is there for his father. He wants him to be a part of his soon to be granddaughter’s life. Art just has an ulterior motive as well. I believe how they progress this story is good. It also adds to it when something happens to Saul. That gives Heimish a reason to be mad.
I believe that next I should go over to the acting. They are solid across the board. Blood is good as this guy who is proud and wants to get back on his feet. He has a plan, but it is out of his control. That makes him seem shady and works in the framework. Wiseman is good as his wife. I like what they do with her as she finally befriends Saul. Corduner is solid there. I liked Kaye as his friend. He is a bit of a jerk. He is doing that though as he doesn’t trust Art. Other than that, I liked Yunger, Trendafilov, Weldon and the rest of the cast as well.
There’s not much more to go into, but there are just a couple things with the filmmaking. There aren’t a lot in the way of practical effects. I’ve already said that the entity is done with CGI. There were other moments when it was used. Not all of it looked good, but none of it ruins the product either. I just prefer practical when it can be used. The other thing is the soundtrack. I love the chanting of prayers and different things there. That adds an element to this movie. The entity also is creepy in how it sounds and what it is able to do. That is also good.
In conclusion, this is a movie that I didn’t know anything coming in aside from the title. This works for me with the exploration of this creature and use of a religion I’m not versed in. We get dark subject matter with this entity and what it needs. I thought that acting was good. This is well-made. They go CGI with the demon, but that’s not a bad thing. There are effects that don’t look great. Not enough to ruin this. I would say that this would make a great double feature with The Vigil. If you’ve seen that, I think you’ll like this. I’d recommend giving this a viewing.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10