Orphan - Dollar Theater Movie Review
Orphan - Dollar Theater Review
There are two things that scare me in this world, and one is nuclear war. The other is little girls with long black hair who come up behind you just before you close the medicine cabinet in your bathroom during a thunderstorm. Orphan is the kind of movie that goes for the latter of those two, and in doing so I must admit, the film really delivers on its promise of delivering all kinds of horrible sights.
This is also the kind of movie that knows what we're already afraid of, and so it will capitalize on our paranoia again and again, rather shamelessly, actually. It must have been a half-dozen times that the tension building music swelled to a climatic build-up just before our hero would look into a mirror or close the refrigerator door. What kind of horrible sight would be there? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Well, maybe except that one time. And it's that one exception to the rule that makes Orphan just that much more terrifying. Anywhere else I would just be annoyed, but at some point during the viewing a noticeable knot had tied itself in my stomach. This film is really quite intense.
John and Kate are two characters who (in an unexpected parallel of the reality show of the same name) have serious problems involving children. After losing the third addition to their family, and getting off the wine wagon for good, they both decide that adoption would be the best way to give the love they had for the baby they lost to someone who dearly needs it. Quickly they make haste to a nunnery were they find little Esther, whose ability to paint is actually quite good in the right lighting. Excited over this talented young lady, the parents sweep her away.
And everyone lives happily ever after.
Still, there's something just not right about Esther. Maybe it's just something about girls her age. Or maybe she's just a horrible demon child. Whatever it is, it means that Esther knows how to use a hammer. Her new mother (Vera Farmiga) kind of has the feeling the kid wants her out of the picture. Her new father (Peter Sarsgaard) is pretty confident Esther's a sweetheart when she doesn't happen to have a bottle of kerosene in her gloves.
Orphan might be cheap at times with it's jolting noises and sudden images, but that's just part of what you pay to see. This is a horror movie that actually makes good on it's promise to scare, finding a place alongside Drag Me To Hell as one of the best horror films of the year. But whereas that film had a colorful fun charm about it, Orphan is downright brutal in assaulting your sense of anxiety. Esther is almost admirable in how daunting of a villain she really is. This is no doubt largely a success due to the performance of Isabelle Fuhrman, who at 10 years old has left a sizable impact on how tightly I lock my closet at night. Sleeping after this one isn't much of an option.