Ile Owo Movie Review: A spooky film that needed more horror and honesty
Make no mistake, it is exhilarating to have a glimpse into the Nigerian world of fantasy films. However, Ile Owo needed more finesse and focus
Netflix’s latest Nigerian film, Ile Owo, begins with the narration of a folk tale about a wealthy and powerful patriarch failing to achieve his dreams of becoming immortal. A sorceress tells him that his time is up, but that she can give his sons the elixir of youth and power. Thus begins a tale of intrigue, despair, voodoo, and a whole lot of god vs satan shenanigans.
Director: Dare Olaitan
Cast: Immaculate Oko-Kasum, Taye Arimoro, Bukunmi Adeaga-Ilori, Ademola Adedoyin
Streaming on: Netflix
Every spell by the powers that be comes with a certain set of clauses, and one such rule brings to the fore the life of Busola. She is a nurse, who has a god-fearing and brave mother, and a bedridden father. Also, her fiance is cheating on her, and when all the chips are down, she finally meets Tunji, one of the sons of that wealthy patriarch from the prologue. While it is interesting how Tunji and Busola get together, and she finally finds herself in the house of horrors, the route it takes is not just convoluted but rather drab too. There are no real scares in how things unfold. While the makers do away with the usual jump scares and sudden sound effects to spook us, Ile Owu, at one point, makes us miss those staples of the genre.
The film is best when focussing on Busola’s interpersonal relationships, and the ring of security provided by her mother. However, the representation of Satan and the machinations of that spell don’t really spell out doom as they ought to. It feels more like cosplay, and even the ‘big and shocking’ reveal doesn’t have enough zing to make us feel what Busola feels. The resolution between good and evil fails to affect too.
Nevertheless, consistently good performances are one of the positives. I only wish that all the ideas on paper had been translated to the screen. Does it want to be a Get Out redux? If yes, then why does it fail to evoke sympathy for the plight of its characters?
Make no mistake, it is exhilarating to have a glimpse into the Nigerian world of fantasy films. However, Ile Owo needed more finesse and focus, and a lot more hocus pocus to get us to enjoy their spooky fantasy rather than just watching it all unfold with a straight face.