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Orphan (2009)



Average Rating: 5.5/10
Reviews Counted: 147
Fresh: 81 | Rotten: 66

While it has moments of dark humor and the requisite scares, Orphan fails to build on its interesting premise and degenerates into a formulaic, sleazy horror/thriller.


Average Rating: 5.2/10
Critic Reviews: 33
Fresh: 15 | Rotten: 18

While it has moments of dark humor and the requisite scares, Orphan fails to build on its interesting premise and degenerates into a formulaic, sleazy horror/thriller.



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Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 870,060

My Rating

Movie Info

An outwardly angelic little girl displays an unforeseen devilish streak upon moving into the home of her new adoptive parents in this shocker starring Peter Sarsgaard and Vera Farmiga. In the aftermath of a miscarriage, prospective parents Kate (Farmiga) and John (Sarsgaard) find their lives turned upside down; their marriage is falling apart, and the demons of Kate's past begin manifesting themselves in a series of horrifying nightmares. Deciding that the best means of achieving some semblance


Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense

David Leslie Johnson

Oct 27, 2009


Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (148) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (81) | Rotten (66) | DVD (16)

Decidedly amoral.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Director Jaume Collet-Serra (House of Wax) endows this ugly mess with a slew of unintentional laughs, but not enough to repay the 123-minute time suck.

August 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comment (1)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This wickedly entertaining, if slightly over-stretched, variation on the familiar 'evil child' scenario displays an unusually complex grasp of twisted psychology.

August 7, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It would be harder to find a more dark and joyless thriller on the market than this one.

July 29, 2009 Full Review Source: ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's bloody, you should be warned, but in the end it is worth it.

July 27, 2009 Full Review Source: At the Movies
At the Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Painfully predictable.

July 27, 2009 Full Review Source: At the Movies | Comments (17)
At the Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Dump a murderous psycho brat with a corny Russian accent into that troubled mix and you've got a real horror show on your hands. But not a good one.

February 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Georgia Straight

Weak adult characters and lame ending aside, Orphan succeeds more often than not, mainly thanks to Fuhrman's performance and Collet-Serra's direction. It's not a fantastic thriller but it's not bad and often far better than it probably should be.

April 25, 2011 Full Review Source: | Comments (2)

If we could all stop for a moment and think about how excellent and uplifting garbage can be, America would rally around this movie like the treasure it is.

April 4, 2011 Full Review Source:

The movie is, as these things go, enjoyably trashy.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source:

As interesting as Collet-Serra's story is, there's simply nothing here that you won't find in other better evil children films in the library...

December 4, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Alas, in the end, it's not nasty enough.

December 1, 2009 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Bad Seed-style horror movie is gory and ludicrous.

October 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Orphan is not very good. At 90 minutes, it might have been amazing. At nearly two hours, it's tedious.

October 25, 2009 Full Review Source: PopMatters | Comments (3)

This is the rare fright flick that is actually grounded in some genuine human emotion.

October 24, 2009 Full Review Source: Aisle Seat | Comment (1)
Aisle Seat

For the most part, Esther is an entertaining and solid addition to the Evil Child canon.

October 22, 2009 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

...more concerned with producing cheap thrills and melodramatic effects than creating any sense of mystery or suspense.

October 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis | Comments (2)
Movie Metropolis

David Johnson's script plays fair with red herrings before a devilish denouement with all the torque of a good twist. Esther doesn't just want to topple the Colemans' house of cards. She wants to torch it, and "Orphan" is gruesome, gripping material.

September 19, 2009 Full Review Source:

A difficult child that horror-loving parents will find hard to adopt as one of their own.

September 11, 2009 Full Review Source: SFX Magazine
SFX Magazine

Something isn't quite working in the intended way when the audience's primary reaction for two-plus (!) hours is raucous laughter.

August 31, 2009 Full Review Source:

Orphan is as much a high-tension, frightening thriller as it is a straight-up horror flick, at least it is until it devolves into outright silliness in the final act.

August 28, 2009 Full Review Source: Washington Times | Comments (3)
Washington Times

a carefully staged deconstruction of our assumptions about horrorshows about preternaturally manipulative and malevolent children

August 25, 2009 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

"A superior entertainment."

August 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Quick Stop Entertainment | Comment (1)
Quick Stop Entertainment

Collet-Serra's film succeeds in being genuinely creepy, is commendably well acted by all concerned, and contains the best twist since The Crying Game.

August 21, 2009 Full Review Source: The Australian
The Australian

Audience Reviews for Orphan

I hope I didn't have any brain damage from watching this awful piece of crap that goes for every single ridiculous cliché of horror movies: from stupid scares even when there is nothing to be afraid of to the most irritating idiocy of nobody ever believing the main character.
September 1, 2013

Super Reviewer

August 13, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

The evil child coming to a household that has it's own demons from the past to deal with is such a well known movie trope, that it's hard to imagine a film having much too add to the genre. And this one doesn't really. The tension builds slowly and you actually feel bad for the well acted child antagonist for a while. As things get more bloody, the film becomes less believable, but at least the twist adds some very fresh spice to the mix and doesn't have to rely on any supernatural element. The showdown is exciting even if a little unbelievable. Overall pretty entertaining and while never particularly scary the film has its moments of tension.
May 11, 2013

Super Reviewer

I specifically sought out Orphan due to its high ratings on flixster. Did I see the same film? This is one of the worst written pieces of crap I've ever seen. The twist ending was ok but the rest of story was truly awful. If it is a horror it fails for not being scary and if it's a thriller it fails for not being thrilling. I couldn't care less by the end whether anyone lived or died although I think I would have preferred that everyone had died. It's a cliched, rehash of every other colour by numbers formulaic 'horror' movie but with added bad editing (towards the end the Mum and deaf daughter are with the police who have just arrived by car. The next scene they're alone and battling the Orphan once more and the police can be seen arriving in their cars in the distance. Again). If you want to scare people in this way you have to add realism, they fell at the first hurdle when they simply waltzed into a convent and picked a girl to adopted within seconds like it's that easy to adopt. A good horror/thriller should have you on the edge of your seat and looking through your fingers with anticipation of what is about to happen, Orphan had me shouting at the TV and made me want to throw it out the window. Honestly people, this is a crap film!
February 7, 2013

Super Reviewer

    1. Esther: I'll cut your hairless little prick off before you even figure out what it's for.
    – Submitted by Ceara R (18 months ago)
    1. Esther: Thats the story of that's the glory of love.
    – Submitted by William D (22 months ago)
    1. Esther: I know. They fuck.
    – Submitted by April W (2 years ago)
    1. Esther: Please, don't let me die, Mommy.
    2. Kate Coleman: I'm not your fucking mommy!
    – Submitted by Mike Y (2 years ago)
    1. Esther: I think people should always try to take the bad things that happen to them in their lives, and turn them into something good. Don't you?
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
    1. Esther: if you tell anyone what you saw i cut your hair less pecker off, understand
    2. Daniel Coleman: hmm
    – Submitted by Seth S (3 years ago)
View all quotes (6)

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Foreign Titles

  • Esther (FR)
  • La huérfana (ES)
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