Connor's Review of The Orphanage
WOW! To be honest that is the best way to sum up J.A. Bayona's The Orphanage and even then that might not be doing it justice. Maybe it was because I stumbled upon it by accident because before watching the film I had heard very little about it and merely picked it out because there was nothing else I wanted to see at the time but boy was it an impressive film. I do not think I have ever watched a horror film quite like The Orphanage I mean for the first half of the film it seems like your typical horror film, there is the old abandoned house, a child goes missing while mysterious things happen around the house and there is a creepy old lady who is lingering around the house but one important thing that so many horrors now have is the "eye in the mirror" moments that make you jump! The Orphanage relies solely on building tension in a Hitchcock style manner and it makes the movie nerve wracking and delightful to watch at the same time. I am not familiar with the cast as it is a Spanish made film but the leading lady is absolutely superb and I can only hope that she won numerous awards for her role as Laura.
The film starts by introducing us to a young girl named Laura who lives at an orphanage but is about to be adopted flash forward 30 years and Laura is now 37 and has moved back into the abandoned orphanage with her adopted HIV suffering son and her husband. Laura's son Simon tells his parents about his imaginary friends but his plea's about them being real fall on deaf ears. Laura plans to adopt 5/6 more children but is struggling seemingly with Simon and his pleas about a boy named Tomas who lives in the house. When Laura hosts a party for potential residents of the orphanage Simon goes missing and for the next 6-7 months we follow Laura as she desperately tries to find her son while being haunted by mysterious spirits within her own home.
The Orphanage is eerily refreshing and is one of the rare horror films of the last 20 years that does not need to use scare tactics to make the film scary instead it utilizes the ability of the cast and the wicked plot to build suspense and to produce one of the best films I have ever seen.