The Woman & Offspring (Cannibalistic Social Horror)

 

Damn this set slays. Though I’m more partial to The Woman, thus the focus of the header and main site image, Arrow Video are soon to grace us with a special 4K double feature of 2009’s Offspring and its 2011 sequel with plenty of bonus features packed tight. Offspring is known for its extreme violence utilizing children, and was arguably the most important film of director Andrew van den Houten’s early career. Based on the novel Off Season (1980) by Jack Ketchum (RIP), the violent randomness of its tale involving the feral descendants of an insane lighthouse keeper was only partially social in its commentary, and really rode on the stellar performance of “the woman” by Scottish actor Pollyanna McIntosh, whose cannibal language and creepy esotericism was one of the high points of the film. Though definitely worth a watch in its own right, Offspring really sets up the real story found in the sequel The Woman (don’t bother with the third film, Darlin’, btw).

 
 

Known for its biting social commentary, especially its clear condemnation of misogyny and generational abuse, The Woman sees the return of the title character, randomly discovered wandering in the woods by a country lawyer named Chris Cleek, who soon thereafter embarks on his idea to “civilize” her. One of the best features of this film is how it absolutely tosses the viewer into the shit right at the very point you’re questioning the realism. What seems a perfect family is revealed through their new connection to the woman to be a deeply dysfunctional, generational pit of abuse the likes of which will make a trauma survivor puke and demand new therapy sessions. The woman herself represents the freedom and total annihilation of society found in Offspring, but here, as she is fashioned as a pseudo-wife for Cleek while his son masturbates to her torture, the viewer soon realizes the horrible reality of it all, and the realism gives way to one of the most brutal, and awesome, revenge endings in film history; thoroughly sick in every possible way. You won’t only root for McIntosh in her role, you’ll seek to to strip your clothes and live off of human flesh in the woods after The Woman is over. Far too many special features in both discs to enumerate here, but if you’re just in it for the watch, this set will reveal its worth in a few minutes.

 

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Written by Stanley, Devourer of Souls

The Woman & Offspring (2009, 2011, 2024, Blu-ray)
Directors: Andrew van den Houten, Lucky McKee
Distributor: Arrow Video
4.8 / 5