THE DEVIL'S OFFERING l VVS Films | January 17, 2023
Starring: Nick Blood, Emily Wiseman, Paul Kaye, Allan Corduner
Directed By: Oliver Park
A family struggling with loss finds themselves at the mercy of an ancient demon trying to destroy them from the inside.
REVIEW BY: Darren Zakus
The Devil's Offering may be your standard horror film featuring an evil entity trying to go after an unborn baby, but director Oliver Park makes it one of the most terrifying horror movies I have seen in recent memory due to the outstanding execution of numerous jump scares that had me jumping out of my seat for the entire second half of the film.
It’s hard for every horror movie to bring something new to the table, because with countless films in the genre and only so many stories that can be told, odds are you have seen something similar before. And that is exactly what it feels like watching The Devil’s Offering. We’ve all seen an evil entity trying to get their hands on an unborn baby before, and there are no surprises in the story to be had here. The film follows a young man and his pregnant wife visiting his father to reconcile their strained relationship, only to fall prey to an ancient evil trying to destroy the family and possess their unborn child. From the outset, you know what to expect and the film does not try to outsmart the audience, instead going through the motions as expected.
While most films in this subgenre of horror are overrun with the Catholic church and priests trying to save our characters from the evil presence, this film provides a different religious backdrop: Judaism. It provides a new lens for a similar story to be told, keeping the movie just fresh enough to forgive the standard plot beats that the story follows. It never fully dives deep into Judaism, merely showing the audience the traditions without major explanation. It’s a nice change of pace from the typical priest running around with a cross, adding a new flare to how the familiar story plays out.
Though, it is the execution of the jump scares that will get your heart racing. The first couple of scares, while effective, are very predictable. But after the halfway mark, they do not let up and continue right to the film’s shocking and truly disturbing final moments. Starting the film at midnight was a truly terrible idea on my part, because my heart was racing for the entire second half. The scares are nothing you haven’t seen before, but the tension built through Oliver Park’s direction has you on edge, so when they do land, they hit you like a freight train. Combined with an unsettling sound design and an ample amount of flickering lights causing temporary darkness, it is the perfect recipe for a great scare!
Leading the film is Nick Blood and Emily Wiseman as the young couple, and they are both great in their roles. Blood captures the strained father-son relationship his character has, bringing to life the nuances that make his character ignore some of the more unnatural occurrences at first and causes the audience to dislike him. But as the film progresses, you can see this soon to be father struggling to protect his family, which bonds the audience to his fight in the film’s second half. Wiseman on the other hand makes for a great scream queen as she is tortured by the demonic presence trying to take her unborn child from her, guaranteed to get your heart racing as you watch her come face to face with pure evil. Together, Blood and Wiseman create the emotional core of the film and it’s easy to grow attached to their characters, despite their flaws, leaving you on edge watching to see if they will survive the demonic presence or not. Supporting them is Paul Kaye, Allan Corduner, and Jonathan Yunger, who all are good in their roles and help round out the film.
Once again, I have been proven wrong and treated to a truly horrifying film despite it being quietly released in January direct to rental and skipping theatres. It’s too bad because this film would have been a blast, and by blast I mean a terrifying experience, on the big screen with a large audience. But just be warned before watching this film, you will have issues falling asleep if you watch it late at night because Oliver Park and writers Hank Hoffman and Jonathan Yunger have crafted an unforgettable and absolutely wild ride! Through the excellent execution of mortifying jump scares that will have you screaming in your seat, The Devil’s Offering easily elevates the familiar story to create a nightmare that you won’t soon forget.