If you’re looking for a cheap thrills, blood and guts horror/thriller, then you’ve come to the wrong place. Spanish horror movie The Orphanage (El Orfanato) is a slow and deliberate movie that usees careful plot direction, plenty of atmosphere, capable actors and appeals to our own fears to bring an edge of terror that shivers down your spine as this unpredictable story unfolds.
Set in an old abandoned children’s home, set atop a cliff overlooking the ocean, The Orphanage has all the elements for a clichéd movie. Whilst it may still have the occasional cliché, it manages to steer clear of the obvious, managing rather to take us on a disturbing look at what happens when hope is replaced with paranoia.
The story centres on Laura and her husband, Carlos, who purchase the old orphanage where Laura grew up, with the aim of turning it into a home for disabled children. Their own (adopted) son Simón, has Aids and is enough of a handful on his own. They don’t take long to settle into their new home, and Simón soon has a few imaginary friends.
During a party to celebrate the imminent opening of the refurnished home, Laura is attacked by one of Simón’s imaginary friends, and Simón himself goes missing. It’s at this point that things really start to pick up, and the thin line of reality begins to blur as life and death intersect.
The Orphanage is a beautifully filmed, well crafted masterpiece that deserves a place in any film fans dvd collection.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read
Rating: R13 – Content may disturb.
Released on: February 5th, 2009
Year of Original Release: 2007
Stars: Belén Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Roger Príncep, Mabel Rivera, Montserrat Carulla, Andrés Gertrúdix, Edgar Vivar, Óscar Casas
Length (Minutes): 102
Media Format: DVD
Director: Juan Antonio Bayona