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By Heidi Martinuzzi | February 10, 2005

Like many of the best and high budget Hollywood films, Old Man ha a mediocre plot, cliché “scare” shots, and second-rate acting. It, like a Hollywood film, is technically flawless, with excellent lighting, editing and cinematography. The music in Old Man is breathtaking, and the entire effect smacks of, dare I say it? Art. The only thing preventing this film from being on par with low budget classics like Evil Dead 1 and London Voodoo is that it’s not shot on film, and the quality of the actual image is not as good, probably due to budget restraints, that it needs to be in order to impress the festivals and the critics.

Old Man is a haunted house film that has a unique flavor to it. Linda and Michael are a young couple who have purchased a house in a quaint town for an amazingly low price. Linda can’t believe the good price her husband got on it! What Linda doesn’t know is that years ago there were some brutal and particularly gruesome murders committed in that house, and everyone in town still remembers the impact it had on their small community.

When Linda is approached by a young man named Jeffrey her troubles really begin. Jeffrey, possessed of an uncanny perception, tells Linda that she and her husband are not safe in their house. Jeffrey goes on to describe the murders in gory detail for Linda’s benefit, and to describe “Old Man” Bowden, the man who killed his family and several other youths in Linda’s home so many years earlier. Appalled by the news, Linda begins to sense that there is a presence in her home. As her fear mounts, she begins to see things that shouldn’t be there. It appears that Linda is going insane, but Jeffrey stands by her. Jeffrey himself holds the secrets to many of the events that took place so many years ago, and he wants to prevent “Old Man” Bowden from killing again…

The music in “Old Man”, by Mark D’errico, is worthy of a big budgeted production and sometimes eclipses the rest of the film in professionalism. The sound editing is impeccable. The creative cinematography betrays the talent of the DP and director. McConnell has a great sense of character development and how the technical choices he made would affect the plot. Erika Stone gives a good performance as Linda, the shaken and worried housewife, and Kevin Cirone is very good, bordering perfect, as Jeffrey Bowden. The rest of the cast pales in comparison. Though Jason Kulas and Erika together are quite believable as a young couple in love.

Unfortunately, the villainous specter of the Old Man isn’t scary. Using a mask to make a young actor appear old (instead of just casting an older actor) must have been a choice that was deemed good at the time, but because of this immature and non-frightening costume/makeup decision, the film seriously suffers. Without the fear, this film falls flat towards the end and never seems to live up to the promises it made earlier in the storyline with the great directorial talent and inventive lighting.

Erika’s character of Linda is the traditional domestic in distress that you often see as a classic horror storylines (Rosemary’s baby, 7th Seal, Toolbox Murders). Nobody will believe her when she tells them what she’s experiencing, and nobody will listen until it’s too late.

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