Arthouse Horror ‘Old Man’ is Tired and Weak

Sommereligh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer

Plot: When a lost hiker stumbles upon an erratic old man living in the woods, he could never have imagined the nightmare that awaits.

Review: Arthouse horror or more recently known as elevated horror is a sub-genre that has seen a resurgence in recent years. Personally I tend to call them cerebral horror as I find the terms arthouse or elevate to sound a bit bougie. But whatever you choose to call it, this sub-genre can arguably be the most divisive to horror fans. Some consider them amazing; others think they’re overrated (just check out the reviews of films like Hereditary or The Lighthouse to see what I mean) but all of this is my way of saying Old Man is the kind of horror movie you’ll either find really interesting or really boring, depending on your personal tastes.

You want some coffee? I made it with my own scat

The story is a very contained one, taking place in an old cabin in the middle of nowhere and starring only two main players. Stephen Lang (Avatar, Don’t Breathe) plays the titular old man who looks and acts exactly as you would expect from a man who lives in total isolation. He’s joined by Mark Senter (Starry Eyes) who plays a hiker that gets lost and happens on the cabin. Things are immediately hostile as the old man thinks Joe is there to rob him or worse, but as the evening unfolds the conversations between the two men reveal dark secrets and a connection between them that, depending on how closely the viewer is paying attention, will become quickly apparent.

While there’s not a lot to this story, matter of fact I think it would’ve fared better as an episode of an anthology instead of a full-length film, Stephen Lang gives it his all. Unhinged and extremely paranoid, his old man sets you on edge and keeps you there for much of the run time. Senter doesn’t fare as well in his role though as I found him off-putting when what he’s going for is ordinary man in an uncomfortable and possibly dangerous situation. His portrayal of Joe made it too easy to figure out where this was going for me so when the reveal came it all felt anticlimactic. That said the setting works to the films benefit; it’s just a shame the writing and the overall story was so weak.

Knife or gun? Come on. This ain’t Jeopardy. Simple multiple choice

Old Man lacks the nuance and tension needed to make it a winner. It might be worth checking out if you’re a fan of Stephen Lang but there’s just not enough here to call this a horror movie worthy of watching this season when strong horror films like Old People are killing it (pun intended) at the moment.

Score: 4 out of 10


2755F829-2EEC-4A68-B6F7-F963F48C9D92 Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.

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