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HomeEntertainment‘Offseason’ Review: Shuttered Island - The New York Times

‘Offseason’ Review: Shuttered Island – The New York Times

An island might seem an ideal setting for a horror movie — what’s scarier than having nowhere to run? — but restricted characters can also leave you with limited narrative options. “Offseason,” the latest feature from the writer and director Mickey Keating, is a good example: Despite a wonderfully eerie atmosphere, this moody examination of guilt and mourning is too generic to scare and too predictable to surprise.

The story (which in some ways resembles the recent HBO series “The Third Day”) centers on Marie (Jocelin Donahue), who learns that the grave of her recently deceased mother, Ava (Melora Walters, seen in flashback), has been desecrated. Almost as disturbing, the grave was located on the very island that Ava had expressly forbidden she be buried. Desperate to solve both mysteries, Marie and her boyfriend (Joe Swanberg, barely registering) head to the storm-battered spot where, it being the end of the summer season, the bridge is about to close and the residents are about to turn very, very weird.

What unfolds is an uninspired blend of familiar spooky devices. But Keating, wisely continuing his collaboration with the marvelous cinematographer Mac Fisken, designs an effectively ominous world of mist-wrapped trees and a frothing shoreline that shades into a baleful gray horizon. And one scene featuring Richard Brake as the threatening Bridge Man is so strangely, surreally shot and performed that the character appears sui generis.

It might sound odd to describe a horror movie as soothing. And yet there were entire stretches of “Offseason” where I was content to watch Marie wander from one disturbing discovery to another, more shackled by her grief than by any supernatural entity.

Offseason
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 23 minutes. In theaters and available to rent or buy on Apple TV, Google Play and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.

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