31 Days of Hallowe’en 2022, Day 30: Old People [2022]

Netflix sucked me into this by saying it was from the producers of the pretty good Blood Red Sky. What a fool I was.

The impressively titled Old People, directed by Andy Fetscher, follows an extended/split family (split by divorce) coming together to the German countryside (filmed in Poland) to celebrate a wedding in which the outsider is a person of colour who gets maybe two lines total before being savagely murdered by an old white dude.

I’m sure there’s nothing to that subtext. Or the fact that “anyone who breaks up a family is cursed” before someone blames the divorced woman for apparently causing this epidemic of murderous ancients. Or the creepy religious overtones or any of the other weird old-fashioned blobs of sexism that keep raining on the film like the spores in every scene (are spores the new lens flare?).

Nobody in this film is worth rooting for, because nobody is written with an ounce of actual character. Melika Foroutan does the best she can as what passes for the film’s main character Ella, but the opening and closing narrations are actually from her daughter Laura (Bianca Nawrath), who is given little direction other than to cry a lot, which I guess mirrors the father Lukas (Stephen Luka)’s direction of just to keep shouting “Ella” and trying to disarm her in the middle of a murderous epidemic. But I don’t think the actors are the problem here: it’s the writing and directing. In fact, the standout is probably Paul Fassnacht as Ella’s father Aike, who brings a warm discord to his role.

As for its title, the film actually does a disservice to old people, despite the movie browbeating us with the message that our elders aren’t treated well by society. Maybe that would have some impact in a film that shows some humanity or backstory or conflict or something among the group of said elderly rather than just having them be droning, mute, lumbering piles of bodily grossness, but, given that Ella is shown apologising to her father despite him literally fucking disowning her over the divorce, the ultimate thing this film is actually screaming at us is just “WORSHIP OLD PEOPLE UNCONDITIONALLY OR ELSE”, which is exactly the kind of subtle motif I’d expect from a movie using bible passages as weapons. Fuck’s sake.

Worst of all, it’s not even scary. The characters make increasingly idiotic-as-fuck decisions, such as Ella opening a door, unarmed, after someone bangs on it, despite Laura begging her not to. Every woman is either a whore (the opening kill is suffered by someone who mentions a fetish), or damned (the divorceé), jealous ho (the stepmother), and all of their motivations are entirely driven by the men around them, even the mute old woman who steals the bride’s wedding dress. What therapy-needing incel wrote this?

This is a lazy, boring insult to horror movies, old people, women, interracial relationships, children, parents, and spores.

Score: 🎃

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