8 one day, 40 the next...
“How would you feel if a 50-year-old man called and told you that he was your six-year-old nephew?”
The movie “Old” has been out for a watch and I’m comfortable with reviewing this movie with spoilers, but I will try to keep this one brief. Consider yourself warned.
The movie starts with a classic family of four (Mom, Dad, sister Maddox (age 11), and brother, Trent (age 6)) arriving at a resort for a family vacation. There is plenty of banter and fun times before we learn that Mom and Dad are having issues. First, they’re planning to get a divorce, and second, Mom has a tumor. The Plan is to have one last family vacation before telling the kids. This, of course, doesn’t work as the kids can hear their parents arguing even though they weren’t trying to be quiet.
Trent also makes friends with a little boy living at the resort. The two boys bond over making coded messages which makes them feel like spies.
At breakfast the next day, we are introduced to two groups staying at the resort. One is a married couple, where the wife has epilepsy and suffers from seizures and the husband is a nurse. The Second group consists of a man, who’s a doctor, his model-esque wife, their daughter Kara (age 6), and the doctor’s mother.
As everyone is enjoying their meal and planning their day, the manager from the hotel approaches them and offers them an exclusive day trip to a secluded beach. They agree to go and are joined on the shuttle bus by the doctor and his group. Once on the beach, the married couple would join them.
There is also a man on the beach when they arrive, a rapper known as Mid-Sized Sedan (rap names, amirite?!)
While the kids are swimming a body washes ashore. It’s the body of a young woman we saw in a brief scene earlier swimming with who we now know is Mid-Sized Sedan. The woman is dead and the doctor immediately assumes that the rapper is guilty of murder despite no immediate signs of foul play.
This is body No. 1. It’s also worth noting that the rapper is a Black man. This will be mentioned later in my scoring of the movie.
Body No. 2 would be that of the doctor’s mother. The group is freaking out, mainly over the shock of the sudden discovery of the dead woman; this shock is what the doctor blames for the sudden death of his mother.
Body No. 3 is the dog. The doctor’s family had a dog.
Minds are still generally calm, but the group collectively agrees it’s time to get off the beach. There’s a cave out, but every time someone goes to leave, they stumble out of the cave and blackout. It happens three times. All the while, the kids are growing.
Talking to Maddox and Trent, in an attempt to distract them from the very adult issues plaguing the group, the nurse and wife are trying to guess the kids’ ages. They guess Maddox at about 16 and Trent at about 11. The kids deny these ages and the nurse’s wife, a psychologist, attributes their denial of their “obvious” ages to trauma from the deaths. Mom and Dad return to their kids shortly thereafter and we realize what’s going on - the kids are aging.
Our group realizes that there must be something about the beach that causes people to age rapidly. That’s why cuts and injuries heal almost instantly.
From here the movie tracks pretty quickly. They try to get off the beach and fail, losing members in the meantime to fearful reactions (the doctor kills Mid-Sized Sedan) or failed escape attempts (The nurse tries to swim away only to wash ashore later on). Also to note. Now-preteen Trent and now-preteen Kara, while alone to their own devices, have sex. Kara is instantly pregnant, delivers, and the baby dies - this all happens in a real-time span of five minutes.
While trying to figure out how they all got into this mess, we learn that Mom heard about this resort from a pharmacy receipt. The resort knew of the medical conditions of everyone there. Mom’s tumor (which, by the way, grows, threatens her life, and is removed. She recovers in minutes), the nurse’s wife’s epilepsy, the doctor’s schizophrenia, his wife’s calcium deficiency, and the unspecified illnesses of Mid-Sized Sedan and the woman and they were all targeted.
After the events of the day, everyone is dead except for our classic family of four, though with many hours spent on the beach, Mom and Dad are in their equivalent 80s. Dad is going blind and losing his memory. Mom is losing her hearing. They pass away of “natural causes” before bed. Maddox and Trent wake up in their 50s (aging overnight, of course) and resign to their fate…
…until Trent remembers that his friend from the resort gave him a code before leaving that he didn’t decode that mentions the coral just offshore. Assuming it's a hint, they two swim for it.
This is where we see that someone has been watching them the entire time, as Trent suspected before, and we learn that this resort is a cover for a pharmaceutical company to run medical trials quickly using the aging properties of the beach, which were calculated to be about 2 years an hour.
In the end, as a new group is entering the resort, the assumed dead Trent and Maddox arrive and expose the resort, handing off evidence to a police officer that six-year-old Trent met the day before. The movie ends by showing us how, despite getting stuck in the coral, Maddox and Trent managed to swim away from the bench and come ashore alive, later being flown home in a helicopter.
I gave the movie a score of 7. The “paradise that mysteriously ages you rapidly” was the premise of a really good Stargate SG-1 episode called “Brief Candle”. People arrive innocently, start aging, can’t escape, figure out what’s happening, resign to their fate, but then find a way to safety. This is the base plot of both the show and this movie. It’s not overplayed, so it didn’t lose points completely, but it lost one. Also, the ending wasn’t as believable when you look at how long Maddox and Trent were underwater. Even with the explanation, I personally feel that’s cutting it too close for reality and despite all that, it was still predictable.
As for the main story, even with all things considered, the group, with no real investigation, cracks the secret spot-on way too easily. Only the Mom reveals how she came to learn of the resort. I don’t recall anyone else chiming in so they didn’t even compare stories. Doesn’t work for me. Everything else was fine and I was entertained.
I’ve seen Old, but I don’t see myself rushing to see it again. It’s a borderline “waste of time”.