The Orphanage


The Orphanage

Critics Consensus

Deeply unnerving and surprisingly poignant, The Orphanage is an atmospheric, beautifully crafted haunted house horror film that earns scares with a minimum of blood.



Total Count: 177


Audience Score

User Ratings: 66,996
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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 son, Simon, to reopen the orphanage as a facility for disabled children. However, something ominous haunts the darkened hallways of this silent, stately manor. When Simon's behavior begins to grow increasingly bizarre and malicious, Laura and Carlos start to suspect that the mysterious surroundings have awoken something ominous in the young boy's imagination. It's not long before Laura, too, is drawn into this disturbing web and the repressed memories of the past come flooding back in a terrifying torrent of tension and deeply disturbing revelations. With opening day drawing near and their situation growing increasingly grim by the hour, Carlos attempts to write off Simon's bizarre behavior as a desperate bid to get more attention from his distracted parents. Laura isn't so easily convinced of this theory, though, and soon embarks on a desperate quest to unearth the terrible secret that lurks in the old house, waiting for just the right moment to inflict devastating damage on both her and her family.


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Critic Reviews for The Orphanage

All Critics (177) | Top Critics (44) | Fresh (154) | Rotten (23)

Audience Reviews for The Orphanage

  • Oct 03, 2018
    Your enjoyment of The Orphanage will come down a lot to what you want from your horror movie. There aren't a lot of cheap scares, nothing jumping out at you, but there really aren't many big scares at all. There's a couple moments that I found effectively spooky, but that really isn't the point of the movie. It's really more of a mystery and emotional drama with a horrific concept at its center. Yes there's ghosts involved, and yes there's a paranormal investigation akin to something we'd see in Insidious, but it's not about the spooks jumping out at us, it's about finding out what the ghosts want and the emotional journey of this woman and her child. In that sense though, it's pretty godamn effective. It is in many ways something of an adult fairy tale with a sinister edge, and I really liked that about it. Know what you're getting into, because it can be crushingly depressing, but the story works.
    Michael M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 07, 2017
    Sometimes the best thing a horror film can do is simplify itself. The Orphanage benefits from having a strong and grounded performance from Belén Rueda, without overwhelming it's plot with supernatural clichés and jump scares. One thing is for certain, J.A. Bayona is phenomenal director. I've heard great things about his upcoming 'A Monster Calls', 'The Impossible' is one of the most heart-wrenching films of all time, and The Orphanage kicked off his directing with a bang. But there's one thing all of those films have in common, they deal with a mother's relationship to her son. I've obviously never met Bayona, but he had to have a strong connection to his mother. And among other things, that was the most satisfying element to The Orphanage. Guillermo del Toro produced this, and as much as I love a lot of his films, sometimes his films are more about spectacle than they are about real human emotion. Luckily, Bayona gave plenty of that to The Orphanage. Movies about disappearances or deaths of children are always very difficult to watch. Especially the films that take a horror approach, like The Orphanage. Kids are always creepy in horror-thrillers, there's just no two ways about it. But as long as Belén Rueda keeps her performance grounded, this movie stays afloat. This movie certainly delves into some things that we have seen in horror films before, mostly having to do with supernatural ideas or dream-like people returning from the dead, but I never found myself all that invested in those scenes. I'm far more interested in seeing how a mother reacts to her child go missing. The film doesn't necessarily have as many layers as other horror-thrillers, but as a first time director, I couldn't have asked for more from Bayona. Hopefully 'A Monster Calls' and The Jurassic World sequel continue the string of great work from him. +Mother-son relationship +Stays relatively grounded +Simple story... -...Could have had a little bit more depth 7.7/10
    Thomas D Super Reviewer
  • Sep 21, 2014
    The Orphanage is a 2007 film that is incredibly creepy. I've been looking for it since it was released on DVD, and am just now finding a copy. There is a small but wonderful cast in place as this mostly monotone film plays out. Geraldine Chaplain is incredible. The twists and hints are well placed to lead this film to a magnificent ending that only makes the story itself that much better. The Orphanage is a must see for any horror fan.
    Jason C Super Reviewer
  • Feb 18, 2014
    Directors C Super Reviewer

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