Raúl Cerezo and Fernando González Gómez directed The Elderly (Viejos) based on the screenplay Cerezo co-wrote with Rubén Sánchez Trigos and Javier Trigales. When it screened at Fantastic Fest last year, it was a Nominee for the Best Picture category in the Horror Features (2022). At the Fantasia Film Festival, it was a nominee for Best Film, and Zorion Eguileor (The Platform) won the award for Best Actor. Following a successful festival circuit (including Sitges), the film is in limited theaters on October 13, and if not in your town, it will be released on VOD and Blu-Ray on October 31, 2023. It is certainly one that I would add to the list of horror films to add to your collection once you view it.
When the film begins, there is a scene in an apartment/condo that has a radio blaring about the present-day heat and how it is anticipated to rise and continue. In Texas, anyone who lives here or just visited during the summer months knows how the extreme heat makes us feel – and the dangers of the heat for almost all -not just older adults, as has been a well-known fact. As part of this announcement, the film also displays the Celsius and Fahrenheit readings. The display of the new temperature reading on the screen kept reminding me of the daunting heat in Texas. I did not doubt that this heat made everyone miserable, depressed, sad, and ready to lash out at anyone for any reason. As the heat rose, the senior citizens showed signs of self-inflicted harm, speaking of violence to come, locking things away, and what may have been signs of dementia.
It was not just older adults who had a hard time with the heat, which aggravated all manners of discord in families. Mario (Gustavo Salemerón) suddenly lost his mother and must now take care of his elderly father, Manuel (Zorion Eguileor), after exhibiting unusual behavior. Mario’s pregnant wife, Lena (Irene Anula), objects, but his teen daughter from a previous marriage, Naia (Paula Gallego), also wants her grandfather to move in with them. She has a solid connection to her grandparents. Manuel does not like Lena, but he agrees to try it out. No sooner is he there than he speaks threateningly, insisting his wife will be coming back. Once he locks himself in his bedroom, he works on his own “project” in secret.
Manuel’s former neighbors, then Mario’s neighbors, exhibit unexpected behavior. Lena tries to warn Mario about his father, but he dismisses her, even after he views strange things in town. Despite all the hints in plain view, the threats heard, etc., with the weather worsening and leading to a storm, only some are safe. It did not surprise me that Naia’s connection to her grandparents is vital.
The film does have some scenes of violence, but it has supernatural elements with hauntings and images to provide fright. But it is when the storm arrives that the elderly all act in unison. The drama within the family and the psychological thriller component will also appeal to some viewers who enjoy the mix.
The primary cast also includes Juan Acedo and Ángela Gamonal. The film from Spain has a running time of 95 minutes (one hour and 35 minutes).
Source: Dark Star Pictures