I was going to pass on this film initially due to the trailer looking like a cheap knockoff of 2016’s Don’t Breathe, even going as far as to cast Stephen Lang as the lead for the film…Boy was I wrong.
It’s hard to see a scenario where ‘Old Man’ isn’t one of my top 10 films of the year. ‘Old Man’ combines everything that I love about the art of filmmaking. A small-budget film that doesn’t rely on a blue screen to keep an audience entertained. A handful of actors put the focus on storytelling and character work to sell a film. How do you make an entertaining film using the minimum given to you? ‘Old Man’ answers that question with flying colors.
‘Old Man’ is a film about a crazy old man played by Steven Lang. He lives in the cabin alone wandering around and talking to himself wondering where his dog went. One day he gets an unexpected visitor, a visitor he doesn’t trust because he gives off by being a dangerous individual. The old man sits the visitor down and questions his motives of why he’s here and what he wants. The film becomes a mystery where one of the two men in the cabin is lying about their intentions but you don’t know who it is.
‘Old Man’ is one of the best psychological horror films of the last few years. A film that doesn’t rely on jump-scares to engage its audience focuses on storytelling and character progression. The film is barebones filmmaking at its finest. Stephen Lang’s performance is phenomenal as an unstable yet emotionally broken old man who isn’t fond of visitors.
The bread and butter of this movie is the famous dialogue between the two characters, dialogue that slowly reveal the bigger story at play, keeping audiences engaged. The film plays more as a mystery film than a horror film as the audiences search for the truth. Lang’s unnerving performance as the crazy old man adds a lot of dread to the story as you don’t know his backstory; he treads the line between crazy and dangerous.
Marc Senter’s Performance is not be slept on either. Mark plays the wandering hiker by the name of Joe who seems innocent at face value but clearly has a dark path of his own. It’s not known whether Joe stumbled upon the old man’s cabin or if he went there with sinister intentions.
The film does a great job of show don’t tell storytelling making audience question of who is the good guy and who the bad guy in this scenario. The film is shot in one central location with only a couple of additional sets used for storytelling purposes. The great thing about this movie is that it proves how you don’t need a quarter billion dollar budget to make a good movie. Strip away the bloated cast, crew, and special effects; you have something that Hollywood has lost for many decades, a character-driven film.
A low budget doesn’t mean low quality and “Old Man” is a brilliant film that tackles the topics of loneliness, sanity, and guilt. The film may not have a major studio behind it but it is certainly one of the best films you’ll see in 2022 thanks to Stephen Lang’s ability to sell a film with his acting.