Ile Owo, a Nollywood psychological horror thriller that graced cinema screens last year, has been available for streaming on Netflix since May 19. Directed by Dare Olaitan (Ojukokoro), Ile Owo transports us into the life of Akanni Owo, a wealthy man who wants nothing more than to live forever despite his abundance. He consults with the witch Fijabi (Bisola Aiyeola), who tells him that his soul has been claimed but that she may still save his sons’ lives from death.
However, in order to appease the spirit of Sagbadewe, a rite in which a pure young bride is sacrificed every 25 years must take place. After establishing the Owo’s destined course, the story changes to Busola (Immaculata Oko-Kasum), a woman who has never had any luck in love but who, shortly after terminating an engagement, encounters Tunji (Efa Iwara), a guy who seems to be the answer to all her prayers. After making some disturbing discoveries, it might be too late for her to save herself.
No doubt, Ile Owo carries ideas that would make for an intriguing and exciting plot, but at the end of the 1hr 35min film, it leaves several open questions that still need to be answered to help us understand the story better.
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Here are 5 questions that have been thrown open by the plot of Ile Owo.
How is Busola’s father related to the Owo family?
This is one question that is pertinent and lingers throughout the film. If he isn’t part of the Owo family, how is he able to communicate with the Sagbadewe spirit? And if he was indeed part of the family, why would he be giving up his daughter, who is also part of the family?
What were the other terms and conditions that surrounded the immortality rituals?
The only details mentioned about the rituals are the stipulated time and the requirement of a pure maiden; would the rituals only be for Owo’s sons or for all his male descendants? Would they be able to sire children, or did they sacrifice their potency for immortality?
What kind of ritual is it?
Another question brought up is the shrouded ritual’s details. The film depicts several forms of ritual at different times. Is it a sexual sacrifice where the spirit sleeps with the maidens, a blood sacrifice, or are they turned into zombies to serve the spirit for life? Essentially, what exactly happens to the women? Are they turned into lifeless husks while Owo’s sons live off their lifeforce, or are they offered directly to the Sagbadewe spirit?
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Why was Busayo’s mother killed when the father could have just distracted her?
In another part of the plot that is befuddling, Busayo’s mother’s (Tina Mba) prayers were supposedly disturbing the ritual and Busayo’s father (Akin Lewis) kills her to stop her praying. Her death which should have prompted a criminal investigation is also dismissed almost casually, as a blunt force trauma is confirmed by the doctor. The conclusion only hints at a shortcut route to eliminating the prayer-filled spiritual character and possible complications they might cause. Overkill? I think so.
What happens to the Owo family after the botched ritual?
After the failed ritual process, we see the Owos running away in terror (and Busola’s father too; what is he doing there?) Did the Sagbadewe spirit take their lives in anger because of their error, or will they be given another chance to perform another ritual?
These questions, if properly answered by the plot, would have made for a more enjoyable film and provided the plot the backbone it badly needed to sustain itself.
Ile Owo is available to stream on Netflix.
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