While covering the 50th Annual WorldFest-Houston film festival this weekend, I had the privilege of attending the US premiere of the brutal UK film, OFFENSIVE.
“A retired couple, Bernard and Helen Martin, inherit a house in rural France, located in the same village which Bernard’s father had liberated from the Nazis during World War II in a rage-fueled, killing spree. This peaceful couple quickly become the target of a cruel gang of street kids, who terrorize the village. Plugged into their electronic devices and devoid of empathy, they are a new breed of technological psychopaths. Harassed and tormented by the gang, the couple is pushed beyond the breaking point, right or wrong no longer matter, survival is everything. Can Bernard live up to his father’s legend? And would they be able to live with the consequences? This is the old generation vs the new, occurring once again.”
OFFENSIVE is the first film I’ve seen at Worldfest Film Festival that really falls into the realm of horror. It is brutal, suspenseful, and so very satisfying to watch. There is constant tension between the elder couple and the neighborhood kids, and it continues to escalate throughout the movie. At first, the kids are bullying the couple for fun, but when Bernard (Russell Floyd) isn’t intimidated, it becomes something more malicious.
There is a scene in which two of the kids come to assault the couple on their own. One of the kids does something so offensive to Helen, that Bernard finally snaps. He grabs a nearby shovel and slices straight through the kid’s leg, before pulverizing his skull. He then turns on the second kid, who pleads for her life, but not before throwing tools at Bernard. She also gets the shovel treatment.
As OFFENSIVE goes on, the kids keep escalating their attacks, but so does Bernard. The last 45 minutes of the film are filled with some of the most brutally amazing practical effects I’ve seen in a while. The deaths are all varied, gruesome, and intense, and mostly always the result of self-defense. Mostly.
The film was written and directed by Jon Ford. The location of the film was beautiful, and the music choices did a lot to help drive the tension. Floyd and Eichhorn had great on-screen chemistry, and the teenagers all did an excellent job acting like self-entitled assholes. Overall, I loved this film. It was charming and brutal, and not like anything I’ve seen in a long time. Check it out.