Review by Joseph Fayed
Old People is a German horror film on Netflix that begins with a title card that says the quote, "In times of Yole, an avenging spirit was thought to inhabit old people." If you think that means the film will be a supernatural thriller that delves into the deeper meaning of terror that comes with age, you are sadly mistaken.
The film centers on a mother and her two children who visit the village to attend a wedding for family they have become estranged from. In this rural village, the elderly population decides to go on a killing spree of the younger generations in town. The plot does not extend beyond familiar tropes, but the biggest issue is that we learn nothing about any of the characters beyond a surface level.
Many of the old people who act as our antagonists are not introduced until we visit the retirement home where the grandfather of the family resides. At this point, we briefly see the horrible conditions that the elderly are being subjected to. Some more dialogue, perhaps amongst the elderly people living there or grandfather Aike's family, to explain their neglect of him would have been very helpful towards driving the plot forward. Instead, we are left to believe that the bloodbath that ensues is just because they decided to act out of order. No emotions were elicited here.
There are no genuine surprises while watching this slasher. Any of the family drama that unfolds between the divorced wife and husband and his jealous new wife could have been seen from a mile away. Admittedly it is hard to root for or against any of them when their fates are quite predictable. The first 30 or so minutes really add nothing crucial to the film until killings begin to occur. Also, twice during the film, we are subjected to prolonged scenes of the attacks without any audible dialogue. They were weirdly placed, and given how both scenes showed what happened to two central characters, it seemed drawn out and unnecessary to include.
The two children are also underdeveloped and poorly acted. Neither of them showcased any convincing despair when they were being attacked by the elderly. They truly are only secondary characters until the latter part of the film, and I would struggle to consider either of them protagonists by the finale.
It was hard not to compare this film to X while watching this. But what X did so much better was explain how one could be driven to rage if one lives such a lonely life. The elderly villains in this film were just lonely until they picked up whatever weapons they could. If you like elements of gore, then maybe Old People is for you, but there are more exciting horror films out there if you want to see some elderly villains.
Old People is now streaming on Netflix.