DARK DITTIES PRESENTS: THE OFFER (REVIEW)
Dir. Christopher Griffiths, Gary Smart
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
DARK DITTIES PRESENTS… THE OFFER is the first original offering from documentary makers Chris Griffiths and Gary Smart. Names that are no stranger to the horror community with recent extensive features, LEVIATHAN: THE STORY OF HELLRAISER AND HELLBOUND, YOU’RE SO COOL BREWSTER! THE STORY OF FRIGHT NIGHT. This time, their collaborative passion for the genre takes centre stage in a mystery thriller that promises blood.
Starring Bruce Jones (CORONATION STREET, THE FULL MONTY), Barbie Wilde (HELLBOUND), Nicholas Vince (HELLRAISER, NIGHTBREED) and a standout roll for Kenneth Cranham (MALEFICENT, HELLBOUND) amongst a roster of new stars, the balance of fresh faces with seasoned veterans makes for an interesting blend of characters as even people are welcomed to a stately home in return for a guaranteed fortune.
Least do the guest know that only one can leave with the prize, and the fate of the other guests is in the hands of the host, charmingly played by Cranham.
It’s easy to take the consider the story of THE OFFER and claim to have seen it all before, heavily inspired by tales from Agatha Christie yet never failing to deliver its shocks with splashes of brutality not seen on screen for some time. To compare this to anything that has come before would only come up with AND THEN THERE WERE NONE meets HOSTEL. On one hand, the slick band of characters and humour layered throughout makes much of THE OFFER a pleasant and intriguing mystery but as the house guests start to lose the game, the sinister notions of their invites become quickly apparent and the cost is their lives.
Bruce Jones may be most familiar for his role as Les Battersby in long running soap CORONATION STREET and to see him here proves there is blood left in the old dog yet, every line delivered with sneering confidence and yet still becoming a loveable contender in the midst of the colourful cast.
At it’s best, THE OFFER is a brilliantly shot episode with fantastic special effects. The love for the genre from the films creators is ever present teasing plenty of masked mayhem behind the closed doors which leads to the flip of the coin. Possibly down to budgetary reasons, the films length leads to some suffering to the films pacing, slowing the action down would lead to more tension and it would have been interesting to see some of the hosts sinister keepings that are teased but never explored leaving them somewhat abstract and an after thought, something the creators surely never meant wit so much attention placed on the central game.
But to criticise a film for being too short is for the want of seeing more and while it will limit the films audience, it’s a shame as with even an additional 20 minutes of editing this could have been a contender for one of the best independent films of the year but instead we await the second instalment to the anthology series with the next instalment from Dark Ditties Presents.