OLD MAN (2022)
Plaion Pictures UK. Digital Platforms 5th June
Stephen Lang is possibly best known for his roles in the James Cameron Avatar movies, though it is more likely horror fans will recognise him for his lead in the two Don’t Breathe films. In Old Man he plays an irascible and angry aged geezer who lives in a remote cabin in the woods. He appears to be quite lonely but also a bit of a nutter – you probably wouldn’t want to mess with him! Bad luck then for soft spoken, young, naive hiker Joe (Marc Senter) who turns up on his doorstep, having got lost. Invited in it isn’t long before the interloper is feeling more than a little intimidated.
So begins a back and forth of combative conversation, as they interrogate each other to discover what makes them tick. Joe is clearly scared and unnerved by the situation he finds himself in as the old bloke is more than a little menacing. As they converse secrets begin to be revealed – but what will they discover and to whose detriment?
Unfolding like a play, the story takes place in one location, however director Lucky McKee – best known for The Woman and May, among others – manages to wring the maximum tension out of Joel Veach’s talky script, with the use of different angles and compositions to best utilise the limited setting to full effect. This is an actor’s piece with the expected great performance by Lang well matched by Senter. Whether it is enough to fully hold the interest will depend on your tolerance for dialogue driven narratives.
As their uneasy relationship picks up pace, they begin to learn more and more about each other, with flashbacks filling in the details with clever use of cross cutting. Are they spinning yarns or telling the truth, as their accounts lead to a Twilight Zone type ending which you may well guess before the film draws to a close.