Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Jack Ketchum's Offspring (Review)

Jack Ketchum's Offspring

Jack Ketchum's Offspring (2009)

Directed by Andrew van den Houten

[this is a review I wrote for's Movie Blog]

I have never read a Jack Ketchum novel so I came into watching Offspring with a unique perspective. The only other Jack Ketchum movie I’ve seen was The Girl Next Door which I ranked #4 on my Top 10 Horror Movies of 2007. So I may not be a big fan, but I do appreciate his vision.

With research, Offspring is a sequel to Ketchum’s novel Off-Season. But horror fans need not read that book as this movie takes place 11 years later. The story revolves around the citizens of Dead River, Maine being invaded by Eartheaters, pseudo American cannibals who are bent on slaughtering the innocent civilians of this quiet town. They are a clan like no other. These cannibals are all “stolen” children and have a wide variety of looks. A blonde cannibal in Mad Max gear, grown up cannibals in Native American stripper leather and to top it all off we have little kiddie cannibals, all unique in their personalities. When the first horrific murders occur, the local police bring back former Sheriff George Peters (Art Hindle) to investigate.

The main townies are introduced and they are no pushover teenagers. David and Amy, a married couple who live with their infant daughter are soon visited by Amy’s friend Claire and her son Luke. Later, Claire’s crazy, psycho husband Stephen threatens to visit and we see his true persona as a misogynistic yuppie when he picks up a hitchhiker.

But all this is set up so that when the scenes of complete slaughter and destruction occur, your empathy gene turns on. The meat and potatoes of Offspring and where Ketchum’s critical acclaim comes from are the scenes of unrelenting violence by the cannibals. Gorehounds will rejoice as we get a wide variety of splatterific moments. Ocular trauma, ripped necks, sliced up stomachs and oozing intestines, infanticide, 3rd degree burnage and a decapitation to the head that was uber stellar.

But top notch gore alone can only go so far to make a movie. The fight scenes are badly executed, the dialogue a little cheesy and the costumes look like they were bought at a less than a dollar store. The characters, probably given more backstory in the book are more like nameless victim fodder. Their deaths lack any viewer attachments and even a horrible rape and bite sequence made me care less.

What the book and Ketchum tried to hint at is that these cannibals are like locusts and it’s in their nature to kill. Moreover, the “civilized” ex-husband versus the uncivilized cannibals act eerily similar when their lives are on the line. That’s the connection you should have made but the movie fails at this and all we’re left with is kid on kid violence for the sake of shock value. I appreciate a hatchet to the chest as much as the next gorehound, but it doesn’t make for an entirely awesome flick. Like the cannibals, you’ll get an arm and a leg to nibble on, but don’t expect to get full from Offspring.

DVD Features:
  • Commentary with Writer Jack Ketchum, Director Andrew van den Houten, and Producer/Cinematographer William M. Miller
  • Progeny: The Birth of Offspring documentary
  • BailoutPrintable Script
  • Webisodes
  • Photo Gallery
Grade: C

You'll like it if....
  • You’re a hardcore Jack Ketchum fan
  • You love cannibals running amok
  • You’re a gorehound and love splatterpunk
You won't like it if....
  • You bad costumes and cheesy dialogue get on your nerves
  • You think Wrong Turn was awful
  • You are squeamish when it comes to blood and ocular trauma


  1. THATS what this one is.. The wife read off the name and I couldnt remember where I had heard of it before. Sorry to hear it strikes a mediocre chord, but I will be Netflixing it regardless, still sounds like it could be fun and I have pretty low standards lol..

  2. I hate to be a critic but sitting here watching this 79 minute piece of crap is best described as one's own personnal h3ll. So many times I've found myself watching this and thinking that wouldn't happen. For instance a woman is tortured and finally ends up holding a gun to the attackers head, but does she shot... Oh that would make sense and would prevent the prolonging of this mental beatdown, so no she doesn't. Last I though, three well armed police officers versus one woman and two kids with sticks was an easy match, but I gues the officers forgot that GUNS CAN KILL! Sitting through this movie I ponder how am
    I going to apolgize to my eyes and brain for making me sit through this piece of crap. Now this is not geared towards the movie being low budget, because alot of low budget movies are pretty good such as many of the Ghost House Underground films. It is just the feeling of who honestly thinks this would work out the way it did? Honestly think about physics and human defense responses before you make anymore movies to abuse the masses eyes. 3 out of 10 and one thumb struggling to go down further. BOO!!!

  3. The logic is totally goofy and unbelievable. But were talking about white cannibals thats a little farfetched to say the least. Maybe I should have given it a D or F but the gore made it tolerable.

    Basically seeing this made me think all New Englanders are total cannibal tribes people. Note to self. Stay away from Maine.

  4. man i guess the should do an awesome movie out of the 1st one ''offseason'' i watch ''offsping'' and ''the woman'' where allright but not awesome,but i really wanna read all 3 novels,this is amaizing you know that in peru discover some indians similar to this,the atack people to stole there garden tools machetes and they kill and believe yo be cannibal too,this shit is recent i cant recall the name of the tribe they get really violent when hear plane engines,etc and attack ambush humans,missionaries,ambientalist and stuff