What Does The End Of Netflix German Film ‘Old People’ Mean?

Netflix shares a good relationship with the German creators. It was not very long before “Dark” was dropped on the OTT platform, a German series that became a worldwide sensation. The dark science fiction thriller was loved for its highly realistic treatment of the time travel concept. But the new German film on Netflix, titled “Old People,” isn’t interested in any science or logic per se. It has a simple and straightforward message: respect your elders or else. Yes, you heard that right. The new slasher movie from Netflix reminds us of the simpler days of films such as “The Stranger,” where the plot isn’t too dense or philosophical, and the films just thrive on the “shock element”. In Netflix’s “Old People,” some elderly people residing in a retirement home go berserk and kill all the young people they find in homes and in the streets. Yes. Sounds like a bizarre plot. Well, the treatment will leave you with much more gruesome moments, and there is a chance you will steer clear of the elderly in your homes for quite a while.

Spoilers Ahead

The Story Of The “Old People”

Directed by Andy Fetscher, “Old People” begins with an elderly man who suddenly loses it and kills his caretaker with his oxygen cylinder, thus mentally preparing the audience for what is coming their way. The plot begins with Ella, who returns to her hometown for her sister’s wedding. She has brought two children with her, Laura and Noah, whom she loves more than her life. However, when she returns to the town and discovers that things are way different from how she had left them. The entire town is akin to an old-age home as the younger lot from the place have moved to big cities after getting married or to study or work. Hence, the old people are left alone to fend for themselves. Ella’s own father, Aike, is at a nursing home, where he is taken care of by her ex-husband’s girlfriend. Ella feels bad for the left-behind elderly, but she can’t do anything to make them feel better since she has her own priorities. She concurs that it’s the way of the world and goes about her business of attending her sister’s marriage, unbeknownst to the fact that she might have to put her life on the line to save her children from the kill-crazy old people in the town.

The story begins slowly as we are introduced to the characters. Apart from Ella and her children, we get to know her ex-husband Lukas and his girlfriend, Kim. We spend quite a lot of time understanding the dynamics between all these characters, what they feel about each other, how many grudges they hold, and what their weaknesses are. For example, Kim seems to be jealous of Ella for a number of reasons since Ella’s children want their parents to reunite. Hence, Kim is always wary of the events surrounding her boyfriend’s former family. On the other hand, there is Ella’s elderly father in nursing, who has completely stopped talking. The old-school man wanted his daughter, but she did not listen, which caused a rift between the two. But it’s not only Ella’s father who’s behaving erratically after getting mistreated by his own children and grandchildren. Something has happened, and every elderly person in the town has stopped using words to communicate, and all they do is just sinisterly stare at our main leads. One can assume that it’s not a typical horror story as the audience feels in their guts that something far more terrifying is about to befall them, and no, it’s not the thunderstorm.

This ridiculously terrifying and ominous feeling is followed in the second half of the film, where all hell breaks loose. The elderly people start to walk out of their wheelchairs and begin to murder anyone below the age of 50. We are told the only targets are the young people who have no regard for their families or togetherness. An evil spirit overtakes the elderly and has them using the most gruesome ways to kill their targets. We, as audiences, are told that it was because of their discontent over the fact that the nursing home was severely understaffed and that they were not being treated well. What ensues is the pinnacle of gory horror that is sometimes hard to digest, sometimes laughable, and most often, it makes us all feel bad for the young people who are losing their lives left, right, and center.

The ‘Old People’ Ending, Explained

Towards the end, Lucas and Ella get together to help their children, Noah and Laura, escape, sacrificing themselves in the process. Laura finds a way to call her boyfriend Alex and tell him her whereabouts, but they get into the eyes of the leader of the murderous old people. Just when the leader pounces on Laura, about to kill her, Laura begins to sing her family song. Her brother, Noah, joins her too. This gets the elderly man to stop for a second as his hands begin to shake. Taking the opportunity, Aike, the kids’ grandfather, saves his kin by killing the leader of the murderous zombies. A background narration tells the audience that while the old people set out to murder people who broke families, they had a soft corner for the people who attempted to reunite families. Noah and Laura’s song was a song about family unity, and this does the trick.

The boyfriend, Alex, comes to the beach to rescue them and hesitates when he sees the elderly Aike with them, given all the murderous rampage the oldies have been on. However, he trusts Laura when she tells him that it’s their grandfather. While on their way back, Laura asks her grandfather if there is something the younger people could have done to avoid their disastrous fates. The grandfather tells her that there must be a time, but he doesn’t remember it since it’s way back in the past. It is also hinted that the only reason Laura and her brother were alive was that they had attempted to reunite their parents.

Hence, the writers attempted to make the final message as clear as possible without leaving the audience much room for thought. This is a non-subtle film that wears its intentions on its sleeves. The message is simple, and if we forget about all the gore and horrors that audiences were subjected to, it seems like the intentions behind making this film were too good. In a way, the film seems like a tongue-in-cheek dark comedy. It is because there are enough times when you feel like laughing at the bizarre happenings on-screen instead of being terrified of them.

But we must say that despite its flaws, the film does allow its message to be seen in clear and bold letters. Yes, we all must respect our elders, but it’ll be hard to respect them if they pounce on us with knives or, worse, oxygen cylinders.

See More: Why Netflix’s ‘Old People’ Is Probably The Most Bizarre Movie You Will Come Across This Year

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Manoj Ashodia
Manoj Ashodia
Manoj Ashodia is an independent filmmaker and a creative writer. He hails from India, a country with a millennium-old tradition of narrative fiction. He has been published on several popular online platforms and in print. He is a surrealist who hopes to have his stories seen by millions.
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