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El Orfanato (The Orphanage) (2007)



Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 168
Fresh: 144 | Rotten: 24

When it seems like every horror movie nowadays is a remake or a grisly exercise in sadism, The Orphanage is a breath of fresh air for critics and audiences alike, seamlessly blending in a poignant tale of loss with the scares and blood.


Average Rating: 7.6/10
Critic Reviews: 40
Fresh: 36 | Rotten: 4

When it seems like every horror movie nowadays is a remake or a grisly exercise in sadism, The Orphanage is a breath of fresh air for critics and audiences alike, seamlessly blending in a poignant tale of loss with the scares and blood.



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Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 64,921

My Rating

Movie Info

Pan's Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro produces director Juan Antonio Bayona's gothic frightener about a long-abandoned orphanage with a particularly troubling past. As a child, young orphan Laura spent her formative years being cared for by the staff of a large orphanage located by the Spanish seaside. Those were some of the happiest years of Laura's life, and now, 30 years later, the former charge returns to the dilapidated institution with her husband, Carlos, and their seven-year-old


Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense

Sergio G. Sánchez

Apr 22, 2008


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Latest News on El Orfanato (The Orphanage)

January 4, 2010:
Mark Pellington Moves into New Line's Orphanage Remake
Mark Pellington, director of "The Mothman Prophecies," has been hired to helm Warner Bros.'...
August 5, 2009:
Fessenden Signs on for Orphanage Remake
New Line's remake of "The Orphanage" has got itself a director: Larry Fessenden, who has written the...


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All Critics (168) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (144) | Rotten (24) | DVD (20)

A frightening movie that earns its scares the hard way, generating unbearable tension through artful technique instead of computer.

October 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

At a time when American horror seems transfixed by graphic sadism, the acclaimed Spanish chiller El Orfanato harks back to an older tradition of psychological scares and things that go bump in the night.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The picture is a creepily effective exercise in gothic technique.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Director Bayona] has a fine career ahead of him.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
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The year's best horror picture is also one of the simplest.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Alas, there's no Ahhhh! moment at the end to justify the mounting tension.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture | Comments (2)
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Spanish director JA Bayona's debut feature is an exceptionally effective and surprisingly moving ghost story that seasons its horror with a pervasive sense of grief.

October 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

The horror genre is not often known for its subtlety, but The Orphanage proves that sometimes it's more satisfying to squirm in your seat than it is to jump out of it.

October 14, 2012 Full Review Source:

This Guillermo del Toro-produced Spanish spook-'em-up re-opens the door to the chilly, bracing air of the old-school ghost story.

October 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

As director Juan Antonio Bayona proves with his astonishing feature debut, you don't need a rusty scalpel to reveal the inner workings of the human heart.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Georgia Straight

This is a movie whose power and emotional pitch lie in the understated: the discreet performances, the lack of special effects, the laconic script.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

Bayona is a skilled technician, but seek elsewhere if you're hoping for the transporting originality of last year's Pan's Labyrinth.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

Spanish horror films have a rich, still underappreciated tradition, but The Orphanage could have been made by any anonymous Hollywood hack

August 27, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion | Comments (6)

However, the creative trust hasn’t forgotten those who love their art served up rich in metaphor and message.

July 23, 2009 Full Review Source: JWR

[A] pungent and scary film.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Guardian

Superbly directed, genuinely creepy Spanish chiller with a strong script and a terrific central performance from Belen Rueda.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

The Orphanage is simply content with getting through the entire story without tripping over its own flaws, and though it's definitely better than most supernatural thrillers, it doesn't belong in the same camp as del Toro or any of his films.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source:

The Orphanage is the first horror movie I've seen in a while that's scary enough to send people out of the theater.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News

You wouldn't think that a Spanish horror flick as high art, but in the case of The Orphanage, you'd be wrong.

September 2, 2008 Full Review Source: | Comments (3)

It captures pure terror. It's horrific. That's horror plus terrific. It's almost impossible for a film like this to be lumped into the same category as...

August 27, 2008 Full Review Source: The Scorecard Review
The Scorecard Review

Audience Reviews for El Orfanato (The Orphanage)

February 18, 2014
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Great awesome edge of your seat perfect movie. Wow I was speechless of how good this movie was. Laura purchases her beloved childhood orphanage with dreams of restoring and reopening the long abandoned facility as a place for disabled children. Once there, Laura discovers that the new environment awakens her son's imagination, but the ongoing fantasy games he plays with an invisible friend quickly turn into something more disturbing. Upon seeing her family increasingly threatened by the strange occurrences in the house, Laura looks to a group of parapsychologists for help in unraveling the mystery that has taken over the place.
January 20, 2014
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

The Orphanage feels like many of the other films in the genres for the first half, with samey scenes, unoriginal story and predictable 'jumps'. Then about halfway through the film shows its heart and it gets really good. It's one of those films that I liked throughout but ended up loving purely because of the last scene, which is perfect. It certainly redeems itself and shows its one of the best of its ilk.
April 30, 2012

Super Reviewer

Spain has turned out quite a few excellent horror films in the last few years, and in my opinion, some of the most terrifying and original films of the last decade. The Orphanage is a brilliant, near flawless and beautifully constructed ghost story. The film benefits from all the necessary ingredients to make a terrifying, and memorable horror film. Director J.A Bayona crafts one of the best ghost stories I've seen since The Others. What makes The Orphanage such a solid horror film is the tense, creepy atmosphere and effective pacing to steadily build up the horror. This is a solid, well acted horror film that is a must see for Diehard fans of the genre, or anyone looking for a good scare. I love horror, been a fan since I was a kid, and I've been quite unhappy with the current state of horror with all the remakes being released. Aside from a select few, most of them are terrible. However, it's nice to see an original, creepy horror film like this that comes out considering the fading trend of quality horror films. The Orphanage is a solid horror film. This is a smartly crafted film that delivers genuine chills and suspense. The Orphanage is simply put a brilliant, well acted horror film that is memorable and is one of the best horror films of the last decade. The film is scary, thrilling and spine tingling, as what a good horror film should be.
November 11, 2011
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

    1. Laura: One, two, three, knock on the wall.
    – Submitted by Victor H (2 years ago)
    1. Aurora: Seeing is not believing, it's the other way round. Believe,and you will see.
    – Submitted by Jude W (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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Foreign Titles

  • Das Waisenhaus (DE)
  • The Orphanage (El Orfanato) (UK)
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