The Orphanage - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Orphanage Reviews

October 7, 2013
A frightening movie that earns its scares the hard way, generating unbearable tension through artful technique instead of computer.
October 18, 2008
The picture is a creepily effective exercise in gothic technique.
October 18, 2008
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
[Director Bayona] has a fine career ahead of him.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
October 18, 2008
Alas, there's no Ahhhh! moment at the end to justify the mounting tension.
October 18, 2008
The year's best horror picture is also one of the simplest.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
July 16, 2008
Bayona never spoonfeeds the audience, giving us lots of latitude to exercise our imaginations and believe what we choose as the film builds to its devastating climax.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
June 4, 2008
What's even more disquieting is the persistent undercurrent of exploitation -- the mixture of grief and jarring shock effects and the pitiless use of a disfigured child as a source of horror.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
March 20, 2008
An extraordinary performance by Belén Rueda is the beating heart and tortured soul of The Orphanage.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
January 11, 2008
The movie is so good at using its horror elements to explore deeper, less fantastical emotions. For all its bump-in-the-night suspense, The Orphanage is ultimately as much about motherhood and grief as it is about apparitions and shadowy corridors.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
January 11, 2008
A well-made, Spanish ghost story that will creep you out and draw you in.
Full Review | Original Score: B
January 11, 2008
[Director] Bayona has fashioned an assured, even conservative piece of work, one that's lusciously filmed and more than a little terrifying but that in the end never widens out to greater art.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
January 10, 2008
The Orphanage is never less than engaging. Here and there it's even genuinely frightening.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
January 10, 2008
The Orphanage is a classically creepy Spanish horror film and a joltingly modern one. It turns down the thermostat on its chill slowly, deliberately. That just makes the big frights all the more heart-stopping.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
January 10, 2008
[Director] Bayona draws on everything from Peter Pan to Henry James's The Turn of the Screw, but it has a creepiness that's all its own.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
January 10, 2008
The Orphanage (El Orfanato) is the rare horror film that breaks your heart even as it makes it race.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
January 9, 2008
When I first saw The Orphanage, I found it an overly clinical genre exercise whose sentimental moments felt forced, but it will also plant roots in your subconscious and linger there for weeks.
January 9, 2008
Beautifully conceived and composed, it's eerie, sometimes frightening and surprisingly moving.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
January 9, 2008
The Orphanage may take a couple of twists too many toward the end, but where it goes is effectively frightening.
January 7, 2008
The film is less of a shocker than an adventure in anxiety, testing and twisting some of the classic studies in infantile curiosity.
January 7, 2008
A creepy, spooky little movie.
January 4, 2008
Like the best of horror films, it gets under your skin not with gore or cheap jolts but with an unnerving, ever-building tension, and with images that remain with you long afterward, interrupting your own quiet dreams.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
January 4, 2008
Ms. Rueda is such a gifted actor that she keeps this movie alive through thick and thin.
January 4, 2008
Sergio Sanchez's richly ambiguous screenplay allows you to interpret what you are watching on both a supernatural and a psychological level, and either way is equally unnerving.
January 4, 2008
Despite a few bloodcurdling shocks, this handsome Spanish ghost story from producer Guillermo del Toro follows in the suggestive, richly romantic tradition of the old Val Lewton chillers.
January 4, 2008
In a season filled with dark-themed films, it stands out as an elegantly mounted, surprisingly humane but terrifying horror thriller well worth seeing.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
January 3, 2008
By exploring the psychological terrain of a haunted woman, the movie brings a dimension of reality into this otherworldly situation.
January 3, 2008
Eerie, atmospheric...an unexpectedly poignant ghost story.
January 2, 2008
The ghosts of so many other arty supernatural Spanish-accented thrillers crowd the room in The Orphanage that you may feel at first like you're at a séance presided over by Guillermo del Toro.
Full Review | Original Score: B
January 2, 2008
An emotionally resonant, nerve-jangling experience.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
January 2, 2008
The Orphanage, a diverting, overwrought ghost story from Spain, relies on basic and durable horror movie techniques.
January 2, 2008
Plot details only hint at the subtle metaphors lurking in Sergio G. Snchez's script and the gut-wrenching jolts elegantly orchestrated by first-time director Juan Antonio Bayona.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
January 2, 2008
Go see it already.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
January 2, 2008
The last act is laced with surprises, but, unfortunately, none that you might call pleasant.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
January 1, 2008
An effective mixture of horror and fantasy, with the supernatural bleeding into dreams that teeter on the brink of reality.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
December 28, 2007
A superior ghost story.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
December 20, 2007
Director Juan Antonio Bayona and screenwriter Sergio G. Sánchez ratchet up the tension to such excruciating heights that, while you're watching the film, your impulse is to scream out loud just to feel some sense of release.
September 19, 2007
Director [Juan Antonio] Bayona employs the visual language of horror films...with restraint and good taste.
September 18, 2007
I'd venture to say there are more goosepimply moments and well-earned jolts in this picture than in your average year's worth of commercial shockers. And yet, it's also the only horror film in recent memory that brought me to tears.
May 24, 2007
There will be moments so tense, you'll need to calm yourself by saying, 'It's only a movie!'
May 22, 2007
The children just want to come out and play, and so do the very clever filmmakers running The Orphanage, a fastidiously grim ghost story that rattles the bones of the haunted-house genre and finds plenty of fresh (but not too bloody) meat.