Some of my favorite horror movies tackle demonic possession and religion. Growing up in a Christian household and being part of the Church showed me that though there is a lot of good, there is also an equal amount of evil. When it comes to possession movies, we are used to seeing them done in the vein of found footage and with the same narrative - person (religious or not) becomes the host of a demonic entity and its up to the Church to exorcise the demon. In Kelvin Tong’s latest film, “The Offering”, he falls back on some of the same narrative but adds in his own twist.
“The Offering” is directed by Kelvin Tong (The Maid) and stars Elizabeth Rice (Mad Men) and Matthew Settle (Gossip Girl). The story centers on Jaime Waters (Rice), who upon finding out that her sister has died under mysterious circumstances, travels to Singapore to uncover the truth. Once there, she realizes things are a lot more sinister and that there are multiple deaths linked to her sister. With the help of her sister’s husband (Settle) they start to unravel the truth and come face to face with a demonic entity that is using new technology to complete it’s ancient mission.
“The Offering” may have had quite a few flaws, but what I did like about it was that there were aspects of the story that I hadn’t seen in any other demonic based movies. Without giving too much aways, I really liked who the demon was targeting as well as why the demon was specifically targeting those people. It gave those characters a backstory that I could relate to which is a rarity in a film such as this. For those of you who love jump scares, this film has got some solid moments that will set you on the edge of your seat. There was one scene in particular, in a dark and creepy basement, that I thought was done perfect. It wasn’t anything special but it was effective and got the point across which allowed for that scene to stay with me long after the movie had ended.
For me, the biggest flaw of the film came from the acting of the two main characters played by Elizabeth Rice and Matthew Settle. I never really felt like either character was in danger, and even when they were supposed to be in the film, I didn’t feel any type of connection with them. However, the actress, Adina Herz, who played the daughter of Matthew Settle’s character, eventually won me over. In the beginning I couldn’t stand her but as the movie went along, I found myself rooting for her. For her first feature film, I thought she did terrific. As for the idea of a demon using a new form of technology to possess its victims, I wasn’t really buying that idea, not to say it couldn’t be plausible it could be that I like my demons to be old-school. However, being that technology is changing at a rapid rate, I could see why the director would want to try something like this.
Overall, there were parts of “The Offering” that I thoroughly enjoyed and was even a bit freaked out from time to time. I enjoyed aspects of the story and I liked that the religious aspect wasn’t jammed down our throats. I wished that the acting was a bit more solid and believable but I enjoyed watching Adina Herz performance and think she killed it for her first feature film. If you are interested in films that deal with demonic possession and exorcism then this may be the film for you. Just make sure to turn down the lights, grab some popcorn, and be ready to be entertained!