“ Genre: Horror / Theatrical Release: 2009 / Suitable for 15 years and over / Director: Jaume Collet-Serra / Actors: Isabelle Fuhrman, Vera Farmiga, Erik Olsen, C.C.H. Pounder, Peter Sarsgaard ... / DVD released 2009-11-30 at Optimum Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL „
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- Story -
A couple are left emotionally scarred after suffering from a stillborn child. They have a couple of children including a deaf-mute daughter but wife Kate still feels like she has alot of love to give and decides it would be worth looking into adoption, to help a child who really needs it, so they visit an orphanage and come across a child called Esther, who they fall in love with.
After adopting her, she learns sign language and slowly starts manipulating their children and doing dangerous things, putting the family in danger and making sure that its Kate that appears to be the wrongdoer. Its not long until she realises that Esther isn't the innocent child she first appeared to be and so she starts to look into her background but her husband John refuses to believe there's anything wrong and thinks she's just paranoid. Can the truth be discovered in time before the family are irreparably damaged? you'll have to watch the movie to find out.
- Thoughts & Opinions -
This film has some decent special effects and it certainly works in terms of being quite creepy and making you jump, although overall I didn't really like the undertone it had (perhaps I'm guilty of over-thinking it though?). Its nothing new as far as the story is concerned and I don't like that it seems to be saying somehow that foreign children or those not like us just shouldn't be trusted...I guess its like movies such as The Omen, from the little I know of that - in that its about an evil child. Of course I thought its perhaps ironic that the troubled child in this movie happens to be Russian (or is claimed to be Russian), given its an American movie and America has always been so keen on that part of the world(!) *note the sarcasm* lol. It centres on the fear of the unknown, which is one of those basic fears most people have...again, its not really covering new ground but maybe that doesn't bother you, depending on what your looking for(?).
Watching some scenes was quite disturbing, not so much in the graphic detail, although on reflection there was a bit more than I had maybe expected but its more what was actually taking place, again its the concept of a young child being violent and trying to frame others that is more disturbing than in other movies when its adults being violent to other adults.
One other aspect I just couldn't quite understand, which I found quite frustrating, was the character of the husband, John. He seems to not believe his wife for so long into the movie that I find it quite unfair and unlikely really and when he does twig that oh, she'd been right all along, it was quite predictable. We learn that Kate has had some issues which is probably partly why he's slow to believe her but all the same, you still wonder... I just didn't like that character at all, personally.
On the other hand, I can't deny that its somewhat gripping to watch as a horror/thriller, if your just looking for some cheap thrills then it does a pretty good job of that. There are some scenes that may take you by surprise and there is a plot twist which you may or may not see coming but at least the main question is answered, at least to a small extent, which can't always be said about some movies (I hate it when a movie ends and your still left wondering what that was all about with key information/sub plots left with no partial/entire conclusion). Don't get me wrong, by the end your still left with questions but it makes marginally more sense, in a way, than if the story hadn't provided any insight into Esther's history, I think...
I thought the performances were decent enough, I noticed that Esther (or more Isabelle Fuhrman who plays her) her demeanour changed after the plot twist was uncovered - which makes sense given the story...it added to the tension and certainly its quite gripping viewing the last few scenes but overall? I had a bad feeling about the whole movie. Again, like I say, perhaps I'm taking it too seriously or over thinking it I don't know but something about the message it puts out I just don't like and apart from anything else, I can't say its entirely original, so I can't really rate it for that.
As far as im concerned, I'd give it a 1 or a 2 star rating but I think overall, if your looking for a creepy movie with a few scares to entertain you on an evening, this could be satisfactory, though no more than that, so ill very hesitantly give this a 3 star rating.
- Would I Reccomend It? -
Funnily enough, no I wouldn't. Its really nothing new and I felt something about it was a bit distasteful, plus the husband character was annoying, so nope, I wouldn't bother with this unless there's nothing else on.
Thanks for reading my review, I hope you found it useful and thanks for any and all reads, rates and comments.
Orphan was retold to me by a friend and she described it in a king of epic, horrific way that made me curious to see what she was on about, so I got myself a copy and sat down to watch it and was...disappointed.
Don't get me wrong its not a terrible film, I have definitely seen worse, but I found the acting to be too contrived and the only good actor for me was the mother Kate, played by Vera Farmiga, who portrays a recovering alcoholic and bereaving mother outstandingly, giving the issue of still birth the right respect it deserves. The other actors however were much less successful in my opinion and the film lacks any real elements of horror, such as extensive building of tension and darkness. Instead the only real horror aspects of the film was the fact the child was a stranger in the home and a brooding, unusual, eventual killer.
For me personally, I'm much more into psychological horrors/thrillers that are attempting to show me something but instead Orphan was simply a way to kill time. Perhaps I am being too harsh, the film did have some good elements such as a somewhat interesting plot and instances of dark humour, but on the whole it was simply not a true horror and so failed to really impress me. The filming itself is faultless as was the lighting effects which helped add to of it all, such as at one point during an imposed black out the 'orphan' Esther switches off her light and in a black out her disgruntled and demented pictures can be seen as she has drawn them in ultra violet. This was an interesting concept as it was almost a symbol of Esther herself, that is seemingly calm on the outside but in reality much darker and more twisted.
It had the potential to be a great film but fell short at the hurdles for me. Not only was it lacking in terms of psychological elements to suit my personal taste, but the actual 'horror', (of which you'd expect in a horror movie!) only really occurs nearing the film's climax where she brutally murders a main character. Other than that, much time and effort goes into creating Esther as an evil suspicious character and so I felt it was lacking in some other areas. However, the director was successul in the creation of Esther, a charicature of the evil child we all imagine, who has the potential to destroy others' lives.
I'd recommend this film to a friend just maybe...not a particularly good one.
RELEASED: 2009, Cert.15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 125 mins
DIRECTOR: Jaume Collet-Serra
PRODUCER: Joel Silver, Leonardo DiCaprio & Susan Downey
SCREENPLAY: David Johnson
MUSIC: John Ottman
Isabelle Fuhrman as Esther
Vera Farmiga as Kate Coleman
Peter Sarsgaard a John Coleman
Jimmy Bennett as Daniel Coleman
Aryana Engineer as Max Coleman
CCH Pounder as Sister Abigail
FILM ONLY REVIEW
When recovering alcoholic Kate Coleman's third child is stillborn, she and her husband John decide on adoption. They visit a local orphanage and are very drawn to a 9-year-old girl called Esther. Sister Abigail who is in charge of the orphanage informs Kate and John that Esther was brought to the USA from Russia when very small.
Esther seems to be a delightful child. Her English is perfect, due to having spent most of her years in the local orphanage, and she is intelligent, polite, a gifted painter, piano player and singer. As well as being articulate and observant, Esther also has impeccable manners.
Once home, Kate and John introduce Esther to their other two children. Their little daughter, deaf-mute Max, immediately warms to Esther but from the outset, son Daniel is guarded and not willing to welcome his new sister into the family.
Having very quickly become proficient in sign-language, Esther is able to communicate with little Max and the two appear to form a close bond. Kate and John are delighted with their new adopted daughter, but as time goes by, Daniel's wariness of Esther increases.
Esther is sent to the local school which Daniel attends, and it isn't long before her some of her behaviour indicates that she may not be as sweet and lovely as was first believed. At home and as Esther becomes more difficult, Kate begins to regret adopting her. As Kate's uneasiness gradually compounds, she becomes hell-bent on finding out more details concerning Esther's past.
That sets the basic scene, and as always, you must see the film for yourself to find out what happens.
From the outset, Orphan grabbed my attention and interest...not once throughout the whole film did I find myself drifting away from what was happening on the screen.
This well-structured film rolls along, in what I call carrot-dangling style in that it is obvious things aren't going to be as rosy as Kate and John anticipate once their adopted daughter Esther is taken home from the orphanage to join the rest of the family, yet it isn't immediately obvious what paths the maladjusted child storyline will travel. Straight away it is clear that Orphan isn't going to be another movie out of the demon-child Exorcist or Omen bag and that on its own is enough to stimulate interest in watching the film from start to finish.
I was particularly impressed with the quality of acting by all of the main characters.
Firstly, Vera Farmings was extremely convincing as Kate, the teetering ex-alcoholic mother and housewife, distraught at the stillbirth of her third child, yet initially delighted when she and her husband John bring Esther home from the orphanage. I liked her personality, finding her to be an intelligent character who, despite her problems, managed to maintain more than a modicum of stability, without resorting to hysterical outpourings the minute something tiny goes wrong in life. I also liked the actress' speaking voice....very soothing, soft and reassuring.
I found Peter Sarsgaard especially charming as easy-going nice guy John, obviously devoted to his wife and children despite there having been some marital problems between he and Kate which are re-surface when it becomes apparent that Esther isn't quite the type of little girl she initially seems to be.
The other two children, Jimmy Bennett as Daniel and little Aryana Engineer as Max respectively, were brilliant. Jimmy beautifully portrayed Daniel's compounding uneasiness towards Esther's presence in the household...coming across as moody, sulky and uncooperative, after unsuccessfully having tried to express his misgivings about Esther to his parents. Aryana Engineer, especially bearing in mind how young she was when playing the part of deaf-mute Max presented as a truly delightful little girl, showing a unique understanding of (for a child of her age) and an ability to perfectly act a wide range of emotions, facial expressions etc. This little girl is already an excellent actress, and I foresee a great movie career ahead of her even if she merely retains her current standard, let alone what could be possible for her if she improves as she gets older.
Isabelle Fuhrman is superb as the initially well-behaved, beautifully mannered, artistic and intelligent Esther....so very adult in her approach and outlook, yet there lurks something inside of her which simply isn't quite right, and I feel the actress deserved some sort of award for the intricate part she played as joint lead female role in Orphan.
Compared to the rest of the main cast, CCH Pounder's role as Sister Abigail was comparatively small, but I felt she acted this lesser part very well. Unless I was misunderstanding something, I interpreted little snatches of Sister Abigail's personality as a tad playful, that is until various things happen which cause her a few problems!
I'd like to pass some comment on the film score, but am unable to for the reason that I simply didn't notice it at all. In retrospect, that could be a good thing as it may be an indicator that the music truly and 100% blended into the atmosphere of the film to the point where it is indistinguishable from the dialogue and sound-effects - the hallmark of a perfect musical score, if that is the case. I feel certain that had the music been irritating, overbearing, inappropriate or tedious, I'd have noticed its presence immediately.
Orphan as a film is a very good story, with a completely unexpected and unique twist. However, I do have one or two little gripes. The first of these is that here and there throughout the movie, a significant amount of the spoken dialogue was indistinct to the point where I was in danger of missing some of the more intricate aspects to the story simply because I couldn't hear what was being said. I thus found I had to use more concentration than I was comfortable with in order to work out what was happening .... the worst culprits of mumbled speech being the characters of Kate and John. My next gripe is that, as with quite a lot of movies of this nature, much of the crucial part was filmed in almost total darkness and it was very difficult to understand the details of what was going on, especially towards the end.
All in all though, I found Orphan to be an extremely gripping, entertaining and enjoyable film which for the most part is very well directed, superbly acted by all concerned, and it has that completely unanticipated, very neat twist...you certainly can't see it coming! It's just a pity that some of the muffled dialogue and confusion caused by the scenes filmed in almost complete darkness took the edge off of what otherwise is a near-perfect production.
I feel certain that Orphan would greatly appeal to fans of psychological thriller films. I wouldn't myself categorise it in the horror genre, as although various aspects and consequences of Esther's behaviour and presence in the Coleman family's lives could be considered more than a bit over the top, the film is nonetheless extremely entertaining, interesting and gripping.
At the time of writing, Orphan can be purchased on Amazon as follows:-
New: from £3.43 to £20.06
Used: from £2.02 to £20.06
Collectible: One copy only available priced at £6.99
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
This is not a movie to watch on your own, after dark when no one else is in the house, it's quite a scary phycsological thriller full of jumps and scary situations. This is just what I did and it really scarde me and had me thinking about it for quite a long while afterwards.
It focuses on a couple, Kate and John who we find out have had a still born baby but are mourning the loss and wish to adopt a child. They have had some problems in their marriage which are played out later on but overall seem quite a happy and contented couple who are trying to make the best of thing. They already have two children, a little girl called Max who is deaf and mute and a son called Daniel. I think the character of Max is really interesting. The deafness in my opinion lends itself to making the movie more scary. There are lots of silences in this movie and a lot of the talking is done in sign and sub titles so the introverted, silent world of the little girl which can often be a scary place anyway is really played up in this movie. It adds an eerie sort of presence to the film which I think would not really be present with a speaking part. The little girl is amazingly cute as well which I think makes it all the more interesting.
Kate and John decide to adopt a little girl called Esther from an orphanage. She is originally from Russia but her first set of adoptive parents in America died in a fire and so John and KAte take her home. At first she is all sweetness and light but they some people start to see that something is wrong with Esther.
The house they live in is gorgeous but far away from any neighbours and very remote. I think it adds to the suspense that it is big and has lots of scary corners and parts and that it was snowing at that time of year so everything seemed very bleak and dark. The filming itself was very dark too, nothing was very sunny or bright so this really adds to the suspense too.
Esther was brilliant as a character/actress. She was very convincing as not is all as it seems with her. She uses her talents perfectly and to me was the perfect scary little girl part that every horror movie should have. This movie does get quite scary and disturbing at the end so definitely not a movie for kids or the easily scared but a good story and film for me.
The DVD was released at the end of November 2009. It runs for approximately 123 minutes and is rated 15.
I first saw the Orphan when it was on Channel 4 not too long ago, I was bored and there wasn't much else on telly so I decided to give it a go. It was only a 15 so I decided to watch it on my own, as I don't get scared that much by horror movies, but I wish I had watched it with someone else!
Basically an American couple, Kate and her husband John, already have two children, Max - who is a about a 6 year old girl who is deaf, and a son - Danny who is about 13. Kate and John sadly lost their third child as it died before it was born, so they decided that they want to adopt a little girl. They go to an orphanage and fall in love with a 9 year old Russian girl called Esther, who is smart and well mannered. They adopt her and take her home. But Esther isn't all what she seems, and as the story unrolls you see her true character, and what a manipulative and very frightening girl she really is. There is quite a few scenes that made me jump, and I found myself hiding behind a pillow. There is also a few gory scenes, and also at the end of the film there is a twist which I would have never of guessed.
I really thought the acting in this film was good. I thought the best ones were:
Esther - The little girl playing Esther is truly brilliant at acting! I really felt that Esther was a disturbing character, and the actress couldn't of played her better, it must have been a very challenging role for the young actress to play seeing as she is only young, and because the actress is American she had to put on a Russian accent for the whole of the film, which must have been hard.
I also thought the little girl Max was good, and also Kate, John and Danny were also well played.
My Overall Opinion:
I found the Orphan a scary film to watch, it had a lot of parts that made me jump, and the twist at the end that I would never have guessed was also genius. I think what made the Orphan scarier then most horror films, is that the evil character was played by a young girl who is Russian, and I don't know why but there is something about young children in horror films that creep me out, and the Russian accent I find is also quite scary. I don't normally get scared a lot when watching horror movies, but this one defiantly did scare me.
You can buy the Orphan for £4.39 from Amazon.
Thanks for reading my review.
I'm not a huge fan of supposedly epic horror films like The Omen and Rosemary's Baby, but I did quite like The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, and I think this film, The Orphan, is a bit of a mixture of all of those films put together. It's classified here as a horror film, but I'd be more tempted to say it's a psychological thriller / horror. It doesn't just rely on gore and special effects to thrill the audience with, it draws heavily from it's chilling, original plot and well performed acting too.
The film stars a series of actors I've not heard of outside of this film: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman, CCH Pounder and Jimmy Bennett. There was the very odd occasion where the acting slipped a bit, but over all, I felt like I was watching a competent team of A and B list actors putting on an energetic performance that they really believed in themselves. A massive credit has to go to the two girls starring in this film, Aryana Engineer - who played the deaf five or six year old Max, and Isabelle Fuhrman who plays phsycho orphan Esther. Both girls were cast in roles slightly younger than they really are.
The film has quite a simple storyline to follow, though it's an interesting and far-fetched one at the same time. Esther is adopted into a family who are grieving a dead child, and soon starts to cause alarms to go off in Mum's head. Mum tries to convince the rest of the family that something is really wrong with Esther, but they are starting to believe that something is actually wrong with Mum. The youngsters find out the hard way that Esther is not all that she seems to be at first, but they're just too scared to come forward and speak out.
A few fires and a lot of blood later, the strange truth unravels in a hurry, resulting in a gripping and slightly horrific action-packed climax. The film takes us out on a high note, and as with all good films, left me wanting more too.
My only criticism of the film would be, as with many films from similar genres, it could be a bit dark in places. This wasn't throughout, there were plenty of daylight scenes included, it was just an annoyance in places. I also felt that though Esther's performance was excellent and she made for a very convincing psychopath, her character lacked realistic depth during other scenes. All along you could tell that Esther was an evil little witch, and I think I'd have preferred it if I'd been surprised to find this out part way through the film perhaps.
Over all the film is worth four stars though, and it's a great buy at just over £4 from Amazon at present. Well worth a watch if you're interested in this kind of film.
I hadn't watched a horror film in a while and had heard really good things about this one, so yesterday evening my boyfriend and I settled down to watch this.
Kate and John Coleman have a strained marriage. Kate's third child is stillborn (they show Kate losing her child in great detail-not for the faint-hearted and I had to leave the room and ask my boyfriend to call me back when the scene was over) and Kate is devastated. However, because of this, they decide to adopt a child. They visit the local orphanage where they are immediately drawn to a nine-year-old Russian girl, Esther, (Isabelle Fuhrman) who seems like a sweet, albeit different, child. Kate and John's deaf daughter, Max, welcomes Esther into their home immediately but their son, Daniel, is unfriendly towards his new sister. Esther soon changes from a sweet, innocent little girl into a mean, manipulative one. She terrorises both her siblings, and Kate becomes suspicious of the little girl (due to a combination of motherly instinct and a visit from a woman from the orphanage who tells Kate and John that something isn't right about the child). She tells her husband that the girl may be psychologically disturbed, but John doesn't believe her and the cracks in their marriage start to deepen. Soon Kate starts to discover things from Esther's past, things that she never could have imagined, things that threaten her life, and the lives of her family.
I will be honest-this film really scared me. Even now, I am alone at home and slightly creeped out and thinking it probably wasn't a good idea to write this review while being completely alone-very few films have this effect on me so you can imagine how scary this film must have been. There was a bit of gore in it, and I can't stand gore so I would just look away when the gory parts were on, which was fine, because there weren't too many. There is a brilliant twist in the film, a twist that isn't very easy to guess. That said, when I learnt from other reviews that there was a twist in the film I was actually able to correctly guess the twist. However, I didn't know if I was correct and until the twist was revealed, there was nothing to suggest it would happen, so I was pretty shocked when it was revealed. I did feel the ending dragged on a little, but just a little. Unlike other horror/thriller films, I felt that the story was quite plausible, and not unrealistic or hard to believe. Also, the twist makes it different from the other films out there that centre on "evil" children.
The acting in this film is absolutely brilliant. Isabelle Fuhrman plays Esther brilliantly. She is very convincing as a sweet, innocent little girl (so much so that John doesn't believe anything that Kate says about her) and equally convincing as a dark, cruel monster. Very few children could have played such a difficult role so brilliantly. Aryana Engineer, deaf in real life, who plays Max, is absolutely adorable. My heart went out to the poor little girl throughout the film. Vera Farmiga who plays Kate and Peter Sarsgaard who plays John, were both very good in their roles too-both parents who were just trying to do the best for their family, in their own way. Jimmy Bennett, who plays Daniel, is very good at playing a typical young boy at first, and then playing a protective brother and son. You can't help feel sorry for the two siblings throughout the film, going through things that most children don't have to go through-my heart went out to them and I really hoped that no harm would come to them.
Brilliant acting and a good storyline have made this film a must-watch for horror/thriller movie fans. If you'd like to watch it, the DVD is available on Amazon for just £3.99.
This review may appear on other sites under the same username.
After I finished watching this on DVD, I scoffed when my girlfriend wanted to sleep with the light on. However, once the TV was off and the shadows had closed in I actually found myself feeling a little spooked, mainly because while the first half of Orphan is atmospheric and interesting, the last twenty minutes are as scary as anything I've watched in the last couple of years.
I won't reveal the intricacies of the plot (if I do then what's the point of watching the film?) but the basic premise is this - a normal suburban family decide to adopt an older child (Ester is 9) in order to "use" the love they were saving for their third child, who unfortunately died before birth, prior to the start of the film. Unfortunately, while at first Ester is the model daughter, we quickly find out she isn't quite as nice as she seems when she starts manipulating and then terrorising the other family members.
The acting is excellent throughout. The character of the mother frustrated me and the husband irritated me, but the children were the best. Aryana Engineer as the deaf Max is just "warm" throughout, even when she is getting manipulated. Isabelle Fuhrman is　just sinister and at times quite terrifying. While at first you dislike Danny (Jimmy Bennett) because of the way he treats Esther, when she starts turning evil you really get behind him.
There are some horror cliches in this film (the ice pond) for example, but there are some terrifically dark touches too - like when Ester picks the roses (that have a special meaning I won't reveal), which was just horrible.
I had a few issues however - for example, late in the film, with his family breaking down around him, the husband drinks a bottle of wine. He's a big guy (similar to me) and I just found the level of his drunkeness unlikely. A bottle of whiskey, maybe, but one bottle of wine ... I don't think so. Also, in the hospital - I just couldn't believe that with all the suspicions the family had by then of Esther that they would have left Danny alone in his hospital room.
I guessed the twist - I liked it and it made sense but I'm a big fan of twist endings anyway. Many people might think it a little forced, but it does seem quite obvious when you think back to earlier moments of the film. But that's all I'm going to say about it!
Overall, I'd recommend it to any horror fan. There's another horror movie with a similar title (The Orphanage - in Spanish language) which is very different but also good.
The movie runs to 123 minutes.
A version of this review is also on my ciao page under headofwords.
Thanks for reading!
Kate (Vera Fermiga) and John (Peter Sarsgaard) are a loving family with two happy children, Daniel (Jimmy Bennett) and their younger daughter, Max (Aryana Engineer) who is deaf. Kate has recovered from alcoholism, but suffers trauma from having given birth to a stillborn child. They decide to adopt a nine year old Russian girl called Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) a local orphanage. At first Kate, John and Max take to their new addition to the family who seems delighted with her new home. However, Daniel has reservations from the beginning. This seems like jealousy at first, but soon Max starts seeing some increasingly odd behaviour at school but is sworn to secrecy. Before long she is on a terrible secret. Meanwhile Kate begins to uncover some disturbing truths about Esther that may threaten the very lives of her family...
"Orphan" takes a regular "cuckoo thriller" and executes it in fine style. This includes some tight direction, some outstanding performances by the film's child actors and a very original twist that no one in our house saw coming. Like an Alfred Hitchcock thriller, the film starts with its emphasis in a different direction to where it will be headed - Kate's anguish over her stillborn third child. It's a dream sequence and it also has surreal quality that we won't see again for the remainder of the picture. In the hands of a hack, the scene could very easily have stuck out like a tactless ghost sequence in Coronation Street or Neighbours. Given Jaume Collet-Serra's work prior to this - the terrible if financially successful horror remake "House of Wax" and the forgettable "Goal II: Living the Dream" - a hack's work is exactly what I expected. I am delighted to say he proved me wrong from start to finish, carefully complimenting the clever plot provided by David Leslie Johnson and Alex Mace without being tempted to insert cheap shocks or transparent red herrings.
Far from being a clumsy distraction, the opening sequence helps us understand and, more importantly, sympathize with Kate's need to adopt. After this scene the film wastes no time in getting into the drama proper and the antagonism Kate will face with her new "daughter" works as a great early twist. However, despite an all round good adult cast it is the trio of Jimmy Bennett, Isabelle Fuhrman and, in particular, Aryana Engineer that are at the real heart of the film. This is the young Engineer's first film and was cast on her ability to use sign language - a casting agent saw her communicating with her deaf mother. However, not only is Engineer so convincing in the role as a deaf child, but also one who is thrust into exceptional circumstances. It is largely her performance that makes the emerging threat of the movie's cuckoo so effective. Her character's sense of vulnerability, confusion and courage act as powerful contrasts to Fuhrman's cold and manipulative Esther.
A good thriller/horror works best when the director knows how to play an audience and hits them with the unexpected. Hitchcock knew this and Spielberg timed it to perfection with "Jaws". "Orphan" might not be remembered as one of the greatest suspense movies ever made, but the usually commercial Collet-Serra is clearly willing to take some risks that will throw viewers off the formulaic route. They pay off when they happen, especially with that aforementioned twist, but I think the film's alternate ending (viewable on DVD) would have been a better choice. I don't know how much this was the studio's choice, but two production companies were involved, which might have something to do with the decision to go with an action-packed and non-ambiguous finale. A similar decision was made "Fatal Attraction" and the debate over whether or not this was the right choice continues to this day.
"Orphan" is a slick and clever turn on a familiar theme. Despite being considered a horror it is more in line with pictures like "The Hand that Rocks the Cradle" and "Fatal Attraction" than "The Omen".
Orphan is a 2009 film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. At first I was a bit sceptical about the film. It was the type of film that was either going to work or fail miserably. I have to say I was not disappointed by the film.
Whilst is a horror the film is not jumpy. There are a handful of slightly scary moments however I feel the horror within this film is more disturbing rather than in your face jumpy.
The film focuses around Esther, a brilliant nine year old girl who is fantastic and art and music and seems to be well ahead of her age. Esther was brought to America and adopted only to find her parents burn to death in a mysterious fire. Q Kate and John who fall in love with Esther and decide to adopt her after they lost their third child.
The parents are suffering after the loss of their unborn child and hope to find closure in Esther. Kate is a recovering alcoholic and the cracks in the relationship between her and john are clear.
When they bring Ether home odd things begin to happen. Esther's class mate is injured among other 'occurrences'. The only link back to Esther's old life is a mysterious old bible she brings with her.
The acting in the film is decent which Esther Isabelle Fuhrman) without a doubt putting in the best performance. The little girl really managed to creep me out.
The film has a great twist at the end, however slightly un-realistic. The DVD comes with an alternative ending which is defiantly worth a watch.
Orphan is certainly not the scariest movie of the year however it is original and I cant think of many films like it. I would certainly recommend it, if only to see the twist at the end.
Orphan is a horror film with centres around Esther, an Orphan with an Evil mind. It is by directed Jaume Collet-Serra and stars Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, and Isabelle Fuhrman in the title role of Esther. John and Kate are a married couple who have two living children, a son Daniel and a daughter Max who is deaf. They also tragically lost a daughter during pregnancy and Kate took to drinking. After 12 months without a drop of alchohol passing her lips and after much counselling, the couple decide to adopt a 9 year old russian girl from their local Orphanage.
The home explain that Ester lost her previous adopted parents in a house fire and that she has been through a great deal of stress in her life.
Esther joins the family and whilst Max welcomes a sister, Daniel takes an instant dislike to her. Kate begins to realise Esther knows things that children shouldn't know and has suspicions about her early on. Kate tries to convince John that Esther is bad news.
The head of the Orphanage, Sister Abigail, tries to inform them that she has looked into Esther's past, and bad things always seem to happen around her. Esther overhears this and begins to wreak her evil havoc on those who are prepared to hurt her including the other children in the family. Kate continues to pursue information about Esther's background to prove her evil ways, which are traced back to a mental institution.
There is a great twist to the story, which i would not have guessed, and Isabella Furhman portrays a fabulous child from hell!
The film was enjoyable and worth buying to add to the collection but i am unsure wether it was worthy of the big screen.
I am an absolute wimp when it comes to films, but once I started watching this with my friend and her mum.. well I couldnt bring myself to stop watching it.
Kate and her husband Jon, who already have 3 children but lost one due to unforeseen circumstances decide to adopt a child. They go to an orphanage and get on really well with a particular little girl Esther. Esther is charming and well mannered and someone who Kate and Jon think would make a good child to adopt. The papers of Esther say that she is origionally from Russia and has been adopted by many families including one in Estonia, whos house caught on fire and the whole family died - strange.
As the story goes along, we see a change in Esther from the sweet little girl to a manipulative one and her true motive is revealed at the end.
The actors in this film do a really good job and I found the characters to be believeable. However I did find it disturbing that the kid actors in this had to witness a few terrible things! I hope they were taught that the things they saw are naughty and not normal.
The settings and scenes in which the film was shot absolutely matched the film and made it more creepy that it needed to be.
This thought this film had a really clever storyline and it left me feeling quite shocked for a long time after I had watched it. When the secret of Esther is revealed it really did freak me out! I was already thinking that the film was really clever, but when her secret was revealed i thought it was even more clever!
I did enjoy this film, even though it was quite gory and not something Im used to watching. It wasnt just the normal gory film with no real storyline, but a film that makes you think and wonder.
If you like twisted films then this is definitely for you. I think after watching this film, I wont be adopting a child any time soon!
Kate and her husband Jon are trying to rebuild their marriage after the devastating loss of their unborn baby. Kate started drinking heavily but is now in recovery and they decide to go down the road of adoption.
At the children's home they meet Esther a precocious nine year old from Estonia. Not only does Esther speak English but she plays the piano and paints beautifully. She also dresses like a Victorian child with her hair in pigtails and pretty old fashioned dresses. Talking to Esther the couple think she is a mature, well spoken little girl and they fall in love with her and decide to take her from the home and give her a better life.
Once home with them everything at first is perfect but things soon start going wrong. While playing at the park a boy is hurt and he blames Esther. Jon doesn't believe it but Kate soon starts to have her doubts.
Starting to believe Esther is psychologically disturbed and quite possibly evil Esther manipulates everyone around her and only Kate can see something is wrong. If someone upsets Esther they end up getting hurt. Fearing for her children's safety she goes back to the orphanage to find out more about Esther's past.
Finding out about Esther's mysterious past Esther must convince Jon that Esther is dangerous before it's too late and Esther gets rid of Kate.
Orphan is a stylish little horror movie, it's extremely well made and while never going to be Oscar worthy it is definitely a cut above the usual type of these movies. The director manages to build the tension in the movie and yes it's a flashy Hollywood movie with lots of gloss but it doesn't detract from the movie and all the expected jump scenes are there but it also slowly ranks up the tension and the twist in the tail is both unexpected an brilliantly executed.
The cast are all without exception brilliant. Vera Farigama gives a good performance as Kate a woman who is on the verge of losing everything and Peter Sarsgaard is excellent as always as Jon. The two child actors who play their children are also good, the boy is a little annoying but the girl who plays the daughter is absolutely adorable and really natural on screen. She is a deaf mute in real life and I was impressed with how competent she was in the movie, her facial expressions were great.
As good as everyone else is they are completely blown off screen Isabelle Fuhrman who plays Esther. I don't think there has ever been a more evil child shown on screen and Isabelle plays the character with a subtlety that is well beyond her years. She goes from both innocent sweet child to murderous monster and plays both parts pitch perfect using her looks to her advantage with eyes that are so expressive and it's genuinely creepy. It's an outstanding performance and I haven't been this impressed with a child's performance since Dakota Fanning in I am Sam. The film makers were lucky to get her as another child actor without her talent would have brought the whole film down.
I remember when it was released that there was a fuss from adoption agencies saying that the movie would put off people thinking of adopting but I think people need to relax it's a movie and a good one at that if a little trashy but I hardly think someone is going to watch it and imagine all children are evil.
Yes it is a tad ridiculous in parts but that just adds to the fun and the twist is both unexpected and makes perfect sense at the same time in the context of the movie.
Anyone looking for a good popcorn thriller with some outstanding performances can't go wrong with Orphan.
like action, thriller and horror movies. I'm not a fan of comedies and don't own any comedy DVDs. My DVD collection consists of mainly horror and thriller films. Although I like a good scary movie, I also don't like watching them on my own so tend to watch them with my sister or a friend seeing as I don't have a boyfriend to hide behind. How-ever after having a procedure done at the local hospital and having to keep my leg raised I thought I would take the opportunity to watch a new film I had ordered on Amazon a few days ago.
I've heard a few different opinions of this film, mainly good things and after reading review and reading the back of the DVD it sounded like a type of film I might enjoy to watch. The fact that this has also been rated 5 stars and horror film of the year by 'The Times', also prompted me into buying this as well.
Orphan is an American horror film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra who is most famous for the 2005 remake of House Of Wax, and was also the director for Goal! 2 Living The Dream. Orphan was released in the United States in July 2009 and was then released on DVD and blu ray in October 2007. When looking on the internet there are many different comments and reviews regarding this film, some of which say this is the best horror film of 2009 whilst other reviews says that the film fails to to build on it's interesting premise and formulates into a sleazy horror film. There are also reviews saying that the film becomes trash during the second half. Of course we all have different opinions on different films so the only way to find out is to watch it!
The DVD itself has a chilling looking picture of Esther on the front of it and from looking at the front cover this gives me the impression that esther isn't quite so angelic after-all. When looking at the front cover of the DVD Esther has a some-what dark feeling to her. On the back of the DVD it states that the film is 'The Omen With Ringlets . . . A superior Evil Child Horror. It will aslo give you some infomation regarding actors in the film and who it was produced by, etc. Also on the back of the DVD are some images from the film which will put shivers down your back. The film is rated a 15 and contains strong sex, language and bloody violence. Running time is approx 118mins.
The tragic loss of Kate & John's unborn child has taken a toll on their marriage and Kate is plagued by nightmares and is haunted by demons from her past. Kate & John already have two children who they love dearly one of whom is deaf. Whilst they struggle to regain some normalcy in their lives, the couple decide to adopt another child (Esther) from a local orphanage. At the orphanage they find Esther alone and are drawn to this very polite and well spoken girl. They decide to adopt Esther and take her home to meet the rest of the family. Esther is a very well spoken and polite girl whom other children take the mickey out of because of her taste in old fashioned clothing and the piece of material she wears round her neck and her wrists constantly.
As Kate & John welcome Esther into their home, alarming events start to happen and Esther is always there when these mysterious events occur. Kate starts to believe that there is something wrong with Esther and convinces John to agree to take her to see a doctor. Surely enough the doctor says she is fit and healthy and there is nothing wrong with her apart from that she is lacking attention from her new mother (Jane). As this girl does alarming things, this angelic girl isn't what she appears to be. Kate is concerned for the safety of her family and she tries to convince John and others around her to see past Esther's sweet facade. How-ever Jane's warnings go unheeded, and it may be too late for everyone.
The cast features some well known actors and actresses and the main characters are played by the following:
* Kate (Mother) - Played by Vera Farmiga, is an American Actress and has also played large parts in films such as Running Scared, Departed and Up In The Air. Vera is also an Academy Award nominated actress.
* John (Dad) - Played by Peter Sarsgaard, is an American film and stage actor and has a appeared in many well known films such as Dead Man Walking, Boys Don't Cry, The Man In The Iron Mask and more.
* Esther (Orphan Girl) - Played by Isabelle Fuhrman has appeared in Justice, Hounddog and Ghost Whisperer, how-ever she is well known for playing one of the main roles in this film Orphan.
Other actors/actresses who also appear in the film include:
* C.C.H Pounder - Plays Sister Abigail
* Jimmy Bennett - Plays Daniel Coleman
* Aryana Engineer - Plays Max Coleman
* Margo Martindale - Plays Dr. Browning
* Karel Roden - Plays Dr. Varavra
* Rosemary Dunsmore - Plays Grandma Barbara
I purchased this from Amazon for £5.99 which included super saver delivery which means I didn't pay any extra for delivery, how-ever it would mean my item would take a bit longer (3-5 days) to get me, but that was fine. This is also available on Blu-Ray for £15.93. Of course you can also buy this from other stores such as HMV for £6.99 with free delivery. Prices may vary in local supermarkets and other stores.
***EXTRA'S ON THE DVD***
The following extras are included on the DVD:
* Deleted scenes/Alternate ending.
* Mama's Little Devils: Bad Seeds & Evil Children.
* Interviews with cast and crew.
I haven't yet watched any of the extra's so I can't give my opinion of them.
Although I wasn't too sure about watching this on my own, I'm glad I finally watched it as it was as good a film as I thought. It had a good story-line with great actors in it and the build up through-out the film was good. This film does have plenty of action and also has some gruesome/bloody scenes as well. I was quite surprised that this film was only a 15, as there is one certain scene in the film which I didn't find too pleasant at all. The film does have a twist at the end and I was very shocked and I would never have guessed the twist and I don't think anyone else would either. This is a fantastic film and a must see, especially for the horror fans out there. This is one of the best horror films I have seen in a long time and I'm very pleased I bought this DVD I would definitely watch it again in the future.
(Review also on ciao)
Orphan is a pretty good horror movie that is well worth watching. It is a rather gory blood soaked film but also quite chilling as I tend to find anything with kids that area a bit sinister rather disturbing and freaky. The opening scenes are a taste for what is to come as mother to be Kate played by Vera Farmiga is shown having a rather bloody miscarriage and husband John played by Peter Sarsgaard is distraught and the marriage is showing the strain so the pair decode to adopt a young orphan called
Esther played by the errily talented Isabelle Fuhrman.
The problem is Esther is not the meek and mild child that she appears to be and soon they begin to see signs that she not only has precoscious talent but a mature and violent side to her and a secret she wants to remain hidden.
Fuhrman is really impressive as she plays a truly evil character who is not your typical child horror character who is possessed by some evil spirit, this little girl is just a nasty piece of work.
I did find the ending of this film rather contrived however this is the only black spot against it. On the plus side it is a really scary film with some good plot twists that will keep you guessing throughout the length of the film and the quality of the acting is good overall.
Well worth a viewing in my opinion and you can buy the DVD for £3.99 from Amazon.