A father and son travel deep into the woods to make an offering to a mysterious force.
Mysterious, dark and utterly cruel, ‘The Offering’ is a perfect suspense thriller for a Halloween Eve. With a simple premise that can be explored to so many realms, Ryan Patch’s film did actually start off from biblical traditions.
Mike, the writer, started with the desire to explore the Abraham-Isaac story, which is obviously a pretty important story in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions. From there, it sort of took on a life of it’s own, and so we don’t really like to talk about it being an “allusion to” or “based on” the biblical story because we hope that it’s unique – but there’s no denying that it started there.
Ryan also got some religious inspirations during pre-production, where he took a trip to India directing another film.
Seeing the way that Hindus worship gods really fascinated me, and I wanted to explore more about how, as humans, we “offer” things in the hope of receiving something back. This could be in a religious context, as I saw very specifically acted out in India, or in a more secular context – in the way that I “sacrifice” my time in the hope of receiving professional success back. I think that sometimes we can get in cycles where, in the end, we sacrifice too much to these forces in our lives, and so “The Offering” was meant to explore what might bring someone to that point.
Despite it’s tempered setting, ‘The Offering’ holds a powerful photography through the darkness of it all. But according to director Ryan Patch, lighting the environment was the films biggest challenge.
The biggest challenge we faced during production was simply creating an ethereal, beautiful, haunting night set in the middle of the woods during production on a shoestring light budget. Our poor DP, Andrew Ellis, did excellent lighting the forest on a tiny budget, but getting to the point where the set looked good took an extraordinary amount of time, which meant of course some shots had to be cut.
The outcome is simply, eerily gorgeous, with the perfect amount of darkness behind the tempest of snow. The depth of it all increases the mystery behind the force, which the team did an incredible job at keeping just that; mysterious, even well after the film is done.
Other projects to keep an eye on from Ryan & Mike: