Orphan - A Review [Caution: contains spoilers]

Published by Banzai in the blog Banzai's blog. Views: 121

I'm gonna start this off by saying that I've now seen this film twice. This could mean two things. Either it's incredibly good, or everything else at the cinema at the moment is incredibly bad. And the two aren't mutually exclusivee

But actually, given the horror films that have been released recently, this was a great film. It was actually scary, rather than simply gory or just bemusing (see my Antichrist review). From the opening, it sets atmosphere brilliantly. The dream sequence (yes, I know) was coherent enough to be genuinely scary, and yet surreal enough to be passable as a dream. And that atmosphere is continued throughout the film. But the tension which is set up is diffused with deliberate anticlimax often enough to keep the audience guessing.

Which brings me neatly to the plot. It's both at once simple and complex, with a frankly fantastic twist at the end. And having watched it twice, I can say that the continuity is great too. Everything makes sense in relation to the revelation at the end, even if it does seem a bit of stretch if you dwell on it too long.

But the best part of the film is the character of Esther. The adopted little girl is creepy beyond belief, and is who Samara (of The Ring fame) wishes she was. The twelve-year-old actress plays her with such confidence, and such a brooding sense of menace, that she is utterly terrifying at times- manipulating those around her with seemingly no conscience.

However, there were a couple of things that I raised my eyebrow at. Firstly, the ultraviolet paint. A great touch, which was admittedly brilliant atmospherically speaking. However, it does raise the question as to where she got it from, given that all of her arts supplies were supplied by the foster parents. The other thing I wondered at was the Terminator-like invincibility of little Esther. Particularly rising out of the lake, she did seem to be channeling Arnie, a little.

But despite those minor complaints, it was a great film, and the best horror I've seen at the cinema since The Haunting in Connecticut. I highly recommend it, though perhaps not if you're intending to adopt any time soon...

EDIT: I forgot to mention, the film does have an annoying tendancy to plug Apple, like there's no tomorrow (i.e. iphones, macbooks, phantom Apple logos)
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