Having recently reviewed DARK DITTIES PRESENTS: MRS. WILTSHIRE, I had the chance to go back and watch the first of the series, DARK DITTIES PRESENTS: THE OFFER. An entirely different beast in both tone and execution, the premiere episode is a mix of bloody shocks and dark humor.
Its a plot right out of Agatha Christie. Seven strangers are invited to the manor of a recently deceased millionaire with the chance to claim a fortune. Of course, it’s a lot harder than it seems. Locked in and informed via video by the deceased host that they’ll be playing a game for the fortune. One will walk away with it, the others will die.
Their fate rides on the turn of a card, literally. As each tarot card is turned they have to decide who’s sins it represents, with bloody consequences. As the numbers dwindle and the supposedly dead host keeps up a running commentary of the victim’s sins the survivors need to find a way to fight back. If they can stop fighting among themselves long enough.
DARK DITTIES PRESENTS: THE OFFER is a very uneven piece. Some of the revelations are genuinely surprising, others are the laziest of cliches. The only nonwhite character is, of course, a drug dealer for example. The final twist will probably be a bit divisive, some folk will find it clever but again I found it a disappointingly overused one. Possibly in a feature where they could be explored more, they might work better, but the 48 minute running time doesn’t allow for that.
Directors Chris Griffiths and Gary Smart get great performances from the cast which, along with some bloody effects, help the film through its rough spots. The cast is something of a HELLRAISER / HELLBOUND reunion, while Doug Bradley is absent it does include Kenneth Cranham (Channard), Barbie Wilde (Female Cenobite), Oliver Smith (Frank Cotton/Mr. Browning), Simon Bamford (Butterball Cenobite), Nicholas Vince (Chatterer Cenobite) and the effects are provided by Stuart Conran.
Fun, if flawed, DARK DITTIES PRESENTS: THE OFFER is worth seeing if you get the chance. You can keep updated on showing and future episodes of DARK DITTIES PRESENTS on their website and Facebook page.