The old man was possessed by the evil one , the devil. There was plenty of evidence in the wife's second hand accounts that suggested he had died, that the body was possessed when the wake-watcher left the room.
In the book of Job the opening has Satan walking among the world of men looking for a good man. He finds the good man in Job and puts Job to the test.
Perhaps the opening scene's husband was that good man and because of the wife's murdering of the old man...possessed or not...Larry, their descendent, must suffer the trials of Job. The sins of the father, in this case the mother, will be visited seven-fold upon the children to the seventh generation.
Book of Job retold...
Larry is Job encountering modern trials. He seeks meaning from others, three rabbis, and is left with no clear answer. This is reinfored by the tornado, the whirlwind at the end of Job where Jehovah speaks , basically saying that man must suffer and the ways of God are mysterious.
The initial encounter with the Korean kid showed the prof. lacked compassion...he could have given him a secretive second exam...He seemed loveless and he was totally loveless to his family. At least his wife sensed this and needed some semblance of love in what's his name, who at least acted warm to her. Prof. was drifting thru life without making connections with his fellow human beings.
"When the truth is found to be lies. And all the joy within you dies. Don't you want somebody to love? Don't you need somebody to love. You'd better find somebody to love."
The opening scene reinforces this because the wife out of ignorance and fear kills the old man while the husband responds to his humanity with warmness. It was not a zombie movie. It is realistic movie and so the guy was not a zombie. Inviting him in and stabbing him was the ultimate violation of a basic : extend hostpitality to guests under your roof. The old woman shows a loveless approach to life, the husband a loving approach to life.
It is possible his loving approach could have ended in their deaths by a zombie but it was still the right thing to do because death is inevitable and we must behave with love towards other humans. All the rest is an empty, meaningless universe described by soulless equations.
We have to accept the mystery and indecipherable nonsense and absurdity of it all while treating others kindly.
Such a face! I just love pet photography, elpicealsy labs-their eyes are so expressive. Fitting that you chose the week of the Westminster Dog Show to post this. The brown colored fur makes it so much easier to see their eyes. My labs are black, and properly exposing their eyes is sometimes a bit tricky. Give Tahoe a pat on the head for me!
Even after viewing this film a few times since early 2010, despite the slow humor I still found it quietly disturbing until it's meaning and message slowly dawned on me.. I realized it had to do with identifying with the main character's need to mathematically rationalize a series of overlapping events (based on the "wisdom" of his religion as they were occurring) when he hasn't "done anything" to deserve it.
Larry does not have the advantage of meeting ancestors for advice on dealing decisively with anomalies of nature/"evil" and thus can not see the parallel in his life when he unwittingly allows various issues to escalate and intertwine because of his weakness in gaining respect from Sy, his wife, kids, neighbors, students, colleagues, rabbis, etc. .
The clue to achieving religious clarity is stated at the beginning of the film where we are advised to "receive with simplicity" the things that happen to us. Because he has not done this (he is accustomed to complex equations), after he finds himself in crisis and gives into temptation (finally accepting the bribe because of financial pressure) he realizes too late that the prior events were meaningless when he receives the "bad news" phone call from his doctor and the mysteriously tornado shows up without warning.
The core message of the film seems to be that complicated but meaningless misery will surely follow if you don't act to drive out the the unwanted things that have entered your life and will make it difficult to distinguish between acts of God (inevitably caused by our "sins") and the lessons to be learned.
Life is complicated. It won't end with everything resolved... it will just end. Like the movie