‘Ile Owo’ (2023) Ending, Explained: What Is The Sacrifice Of ‘Make Old Young’?

Ile Owo is the only film I’ve seen recently that failed to make any sense at all. It is proof of what happens when the lore on which a film is based is not properly explained, and I am lowballing. It seems as if the creators made the film for themselves rather than for an audience. The number of questions that began forming in my mind as I watched the film is almost uncountable, and none of them formed out of my interest. Ile Owo takes a piece of folklore and jumbles it up in a way that makes it lose its meaning, whatever that is. This, along with completely bland characterization, makes the film a failure.


Spoilers Ahead

Plot Synopsis: What Happens In ‘Ile Owo’?

Owo, a rich trader, wants to be young forever. A powerful sorceress named Fijabi tells him that though he has lost his chance to be young, his sons still have a chance. To gain immortality or long life, they will have to sacrifice their brides to Sagbadewe (the devil). This ritual will have to be carried out every 25 years. Then, bizarrely, the story shifts its perspective from Owo’s sons to a woman who is chosen by the Sagbadewe to be sacrificed. Busola lives with her mom, who is a religious woman, and her father, who is recovering from an injury in his leg. After being cheated on by her fiancé, she meets Tunji, a rich guy who loves her a lot. It turns out that he and his brothers are Owo’s successors who intend to sacrifice their brides and girlfriends for immortality. How Busola’s father is involved in this scheme and why he killed his wife (Busola’s mother) in the second half of the film, I cannot understand. Busola only realizes that she is in trouble at the end of the film, when she is apparently about to give birth to… I have no idea what. She drinks the blessed oil her mother her, and she manages to escape from the ritual and Sagbadewe.


Connection With Lore

Firstly, Owo’s deal with Fijabi is ridiculous. What’s the point of having (an) immortal son(s)? It’s not as if his lineage will come to an end once his next generation dies, and the only way to protect his lineage is to make the next generation immortal. The only way I can explain this is that considering how patriarchal he is, he might want to ensure that if he has just the one son, he doesn’t end up having one granddaughter, in which case that would be the end of his lineage (since his granddaughter would get married and give birth to a child of a different lineage). So a longer life would mean higher chances of having more grandsons, who would then take his generation forward. Perhaps this is why we see Tunji having so many brothers. Coming to the ritual, i.e., the sacrifice of “Make Old Young” and Sagbadewe, it is clear that the ritual invokes Sagbadewe, who takes control of the bride or girlfriend, and in turn, grants immortality to Tunji and his brothers. But what about Busola’s father? Why was he talking to Sagbadewe? He is in no way connected to the ritual unless he also belongs to Owo’s lineage. This could mean that Tunji and his brothers are nephews of Busola’s father (not considering them his sons, as that would be even weirder), who deliberately distanced himself from them so that he could sacrifice his own daughter. It makes sense that he couldn’t sacrifice his wife because she was a very religious woman. As bizarre as it is, this is the only explanation I can think of that connects Busola’s father and Sagbadewe.

‘Ile Owo’ Ending Explained: How Does Busola Escape Sagbadewe?

At the very beginning of the film, we see a woman who we later come to know as Tomisin (the girlfriend of one of Tunji’s brothers). She has already undergone the ritual. Toward the end of the film, we see the same thing with Busola. So it is clear that every son has to sacrifice his girlfriend or wife to be immortal. It is the last scene of the film that makes no sense to me. Why are the girls beheaded? Is it a part of the immortality ritual? What is in Busola’s womb? A son? She vomits a Sagbadewe figure. Why? One of the possible reasons comes at the end of the film when we see Tunji turn into a figurine. So it might be that Busola got pregnant with Tunji’s son and the child would be born as a result of the ritual, but since it was incomplete, the baby turned into a figurine. Thus, we can say that all the figurines are basically men who weren’t able to complete the ritual or unborn sons. The last shot of the film shows Fijabi adding yet another Sagbadewe figurine to her collection and saying that it is possible to be immortal. In other words, become a figurine forever. Throughout the film, we do not see anyone who has lived a long life. But we have seen a lot of figurines. This might mean that the whole ritual was a plan by Fijabi to use the spirit of Sagbadewe and trap men in the figurines. She didn’t care about the many women who were sacrificed in the process. Maybe it was Sagbadewe’s condition to help her fulfill her desire to trap men, and she was ready to wait because she was probably the only one who was truly immortal.


Ile Owo is what you make of it. Most of what I have shared with you is conjecture. This is not to say that the plot compelled me to think about it because it was interesting. It made me wonder what was happening, and the above-mentioned words are how I explained to myself what was occurring in the film. If you have seen it, you will hopefully agree with me. If you don’t, I’m sure you can’t deny what I said. Because Ile Owo fails to tell us what it intends to do. And what makes it worse are the characters that have zero influence on the plot. The actors do the bare minimum and fail to establish the motivations that separate one from another, especially Bukunmi Adeaga-Ilori as Busola. The end result is an absurd plot that does nothing more than confuse, if not frustrate, the viewers.

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Shubhabrata Dutta
Shubhabrata Dutta
Shubhabrata’s greatest regret is the fact that he won’t be able to watch every movie and show ever made. And when he isn’t watching a movie or a show, he is busy thinking about them and how they are made; all while taking care of his hobbies. These include the usual suspects i.e. songs, long walks, books and PC games.

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