Offensive pits the older generation against the young. Retired perpetual renters Bernard (Russell Floyd) and Helen (Lisa Eichhorn) inherit a picturesque dwelling in France from one of Bernard’s father’s friends. Unfortunately, although the house and location are beautiful, the neighbours leave something to be desired. As the couple move in they find themselves the targets of the local gang of youths and, as the torment steps up, Bernard and Helen realise they have to take a stand if they are going to survive.
The first third of the film is exceptionally gruelling for the audience. We are given a no-holds-barred look at the gang of teenagers and they are definitely not good people. They pass the time heaving bricks off of bridges into traffic, trashing old folks shopping bags, and sticking inappropriate signs onto the backs of the local villagers. These acts are truly hard to watch, mainly because you know that there really are people this vile in reality. Even more infuriating, the group are untouchable as the local law enforcers chalk their behaviour up to merely a case of misspent youth.
On paper this sounds like an Eden Lake / Funny Games style tale. You know the one, an innocent couple or family find themselves terrorised to death by a gang of anarchic teenagers. Thankfully Offensive deviates from expectations and turns the tables on the tormentors. By the time we’ve seen this group destroy everything and everyone around them with no thought or concerns to their actions, we are truly on the side of Bernard and Helen. Director Jonathan Ford expertly crafts the tension levels, slowly inflicting more and more damage and torture onto Bernard and Helen. It eventually gets to the point that it’s such a welcome relief when the levy finally breaks and Bernard fights back. The fight back is bloody, violent and brutal – who knew a garden spade could be so deadly – and it is as cathartic for the audience as it is for Bernard.
In addition to the main story, there’s also an intriguing war time set story. The man whom Bernard inherited the house from fought alongside Bernard’s father during World War II. The pair uncover a journal which tells the tale of Bernard’s father going on a bloody rampage to free the village from Nazi occupation. Parallels can obviously be drawn between the events of the past and what unfurls in the present, but more than that, it offers its own intriguing and interesting tale. Given a little work and attention it could make for it’s own movie.
A bloody brutal spin on the home invasion story, Offensive will make your blood boil.