Of Friendship and Revenge – Offerings (1989)

Almost anyone can testify that being bullied is one of the worst things to ever happen to oneself, whether by a parent or a peer or a friend. Being put down is a terrible thing and it is not something that anyone should have to go through. That being said, when it comes to the horror genre, it is the perfect background for a killer to have, a bit of characterization completely explaining why the maniac does what he does and at the same time, managing to create empathy in the viewer no matter how bloody or disgusting the crimes he commits might be. As for the victims, a person would not be human to not feel bad for them but at the same time, the movie would not be as effective if the audience did not want to see them die.

The killer in question was not always one, but a little boy named John Radley who tolerated a lot of abuse from his mother and nearly everyone else he came into contact with. After a terrible accident caused by some kids and the passing of a decade or so, Radley comes back to mete out a little personal justice to all of those that wronged him and with every kill he commits, he offers up a body part to Gretchen, the only person who ever treated him like a human being. Things though, do not turn out so well.

While Offerings ends up being a fairly average slasher, the gifting of body parts was a good add making for a bit of uniqueness in a genre that features little innovation. That is not to say that it cannot be done, but there is a tried and true formula when it comes to slashers and most directors follow it including Christopher Reynolds who both wrote and directed this film. It is a nice little twist on the trophy aspect and it ties in Loretta Leigh Bowman’s character Gretchen to that of the killer stronger than it would have otherwise. It essentially gives her a reason for being present for the latter half of the film while the rest of those now grown kids are being slaughtered and additionally, sets up a final confrontation between the two.

Aside from the dismembered pieces of Gretchen’s friends being offered up as presents of affection, little else stands out in this film. The acting is so-so, what little special effects that there are do manage to be effective, but are nothing that have not been seen a million times previous and the score by Russell D. Allen is at times, far too close to that of John Carpenter’s to possibly be legal. As it is though, the film is never tiring and manages to hold one’s attention which is half the battle. Michael Myers John Radley is not, but he is still somewhat interesting if overly familiar.

2.5 out of 5

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