Orphan is yet another movie featuring the familiar concept of a creepy kid terrorizing his or, in this case, her poor parents. I’m guessing that The Omen started this feeding frenzy which shows no signs of stopping. This movie also marks Dark Castle’s return to the horror genre after a brief pause. I loved their early 2000s movies like Thirteen Ghosts, Ghost Ship, and House of Wax. That last one and the movie we’re talking about today share the same director, Jaume Collet-Serra. I can already see a great future for him in Hollywood.
Before we go any further I want to make something clear. Orphan is not a classic horror leaning more in a direction of a psychological thriller featuring some scary elements. If Jaume trimmed about 20 minutes of footage this would’ve been a slick and fast affair. Instead of that, he decided on a more immersive approach thus making those explosive scenes feel much more impactful. The movie is quite good and don’t give up on it. Just try to get to the 30-minute mark and you should be fine. Additionally, the fact that most of these scenes involve kids is scary in itself.
Too bad our orphan is from Russia and not Romania because that would’ve opened up opportunities to talk about Romanian Orphans. The neglect and outright abuse you can read about was actually much worse. Moving on, the cast led by Isabelle Fuhrman, who plays the creepy orphan, did a fantastic job. Hell, Vera Farmiga singlehandedly raised the Rabbit Reviews rating from seven to eight stars. Peter Sarsgaard, whom you might remember from The Skeleton Key, was also good. However, Isabelle showed that a 12-year-old girl can act just as good as her adult co-stars.
Kate and John Coleman are not in a good place. Kate just lost her baby and this is the third time they’ve been in this position. They already have two adopted children but still decide to go for the third. And this is how they meet Esther, an orphan girl with incredible artistic talent. And Esther soon becomes a part of their growing family. She gets along with their 5-year-old deaf daughter, Max but has a bit of trouble connecting with12-year-old Daniel. At first, everything was going great but in just a few days strange things will start happening.
I don’t want to reveal too much about the plot but let’s just say it’s rather fucked up. I was actually taken aback by the brutality of certain scenes. As I previously mentioned, seeing kids do things normal kids usually don’t do is quite unnerving and unnatural. And you should take that word usually with a huge bucket of salt. Mostly because towards the end things start escalating at an alarming pace. If you’re looking for similar movies I suggest you check out Godsend, Case 39 and Let The Right One In.
I simply had to go back to this review in the year of our lord 2023 because a certain documentary came out which made the movie Orphan more fucked up than I could’ve ever imagined. I’m not quite sure how to point you in the right direction but I’m going to try anyway. After you’ve seen the movie, just google Ukrainian Orphan Girl and begin a weird journey I just came back from. YouTube is also a good place to start.
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writers: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, Alex Mace
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman, CCH Pounder, Aryana Engineer
Fun Facts: Director Jaume Collet-Serra justified his use of jump-scares in Orphan with the desire to keep reminding the audiences that they’re watching a horror movie and not some kind of a drama.