Aged (2023) Review
Aged is the second film from writer/director Anubys Lopez. After I reviewed his previous film, Those Who Call he called me out on Twitter for giving it a negative review when it was his first film. He’s not the only filmmaker I’ve gotten a response like this from, and I don’t get it. I mean if a film deserves special reviewing criteria because of the director’s inexperience, surely the audience shouldn’t be expected to pay full price to see it either. Fair’s fair, right?
Lopez also said he hoped I’d check out his next film. That film is Aged which opens with a meeting at a coffee shop between Veronica (Morgan Boss-Maltais, Stray, The Sleepover) and Charles (Dave McClain, The Curse of Professor Zardonicus, Behind Closed Doors 2: Toxic Workplace). It’s so stiff and awkward that at first, I thought it was a bad Tinder date.
Actually, Charles is looking for a live in caretaker for his mother Mrs. Bloom (Carla Kidd, The Reckoning, Adventures in Game Chasing) who’s confined to a wheelchair and suffers from dementia. Despite her misgivings, she ends up taking the job.
This is a slow burning film and nothing odd happens for most of the first act until Veronica has a strange conversation with the Bloom’s gardener Joe (Adonis Ringo, Citizen Bonzo, Above the Ground) who offers her a cryptic warning about the house. After that, however, things begin to get strange as Mrs. Bloom’s dementia flares up, strange figures appear, and Emily (Bria D’Aguanno, Patriot’s Day, Final Thesis) pays an unnerving visit. Perhaps strangest of all, Veronica is forbidden from leaving the house.
Once Aged gets to this point Lopez does generate a creepy vibe as he builds off of those events and, along with cinematographer Alex Mirabal (Those Who Call), reinforces that feeling with some unsettling imagery. A sequence with a tub full of blood and rose petals sitting in a field briefly conjured the spirit of Jean Rollin.
Interestingly, Aged dispenses with the usual attempts to confuse the viewer as to whether or not they’re seeing something supernatural or the product of the old woman’s dementia. That actually makes sense because, in films like this, it almost never turns out to be a product of dementia, or at least not the obvious person’s. Here we’re given the choice of the supernatural or a High Tension type of twist.
Strange occurrences begin to unfold, challenging her perception of reality and plunging her into a nightmarish descent. Mysterious sounds, glimpses of shadowy figures, apparitions, and a pervasive sense of dread turn the once-promising job into a living nightmare.”Anubys Lopez
Unfortunately, Lopez reveals a bit too much which makes it easy to figure out what actually is going on before it’s revealed. And once Veronica starts to suspect that things are very wrong, her response, or lack thereof, is puzzling. At one point she apologizes for slapping Mrs. Bloom where most other characters would have unapologetically stabbed the old bitch.
It’s too bad that it starts falling apart at the end because Aged is, for most of its running time, an effective thriller that gets a lot out of one location and a handful of characters. The plot, which echoes films like Skeleton Key and Burnt Offerings mixed with original ideas, is supported by some nice visuals that help make the most of those limited resources.
Lopez certainly does a much better job here than he did on Those Who Call, and while it’s not a complete success it might well be worth a watch for those looking for a quietly chilling film.
Filmdom will release Aged on Digital Platforms on June 15th. If you’re looking for more chills, FilmTagger can suggest a few titles.