Posts Tagged ‘orphan’


August 1st, 2009
Year One - Jack Black

Orphan - Jaume Collet-Serra

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Movie: Orphan (2009)

Studio : Warner Bros.

Info : Click Here

Runtime : 123min

Website :

Trailer :



Movies about creepy kids have long been a reliable box office draw. Usually consisting of some seemingly angelic little boy or girl who starts out all wide-eyed and innocent but in the end is revealed to be a granny-mangling demon from the bowels of pre-pubescent hell, this sub-genre has given us such nightmarish cinematic icons as Regan from The Exorcist and Damian from The Omen.

The Orphan probably sits somewhere between the above classic examples of how to do creepy kid movies and Children of the Corn (as an example of how not to). Essentially it’s a domestic horror tale centering on the troubled Coleman clan and the swirling black-hole of loss and guilt that resides at the core of the family. We soon come to learn that the black-hole is the result of the tragic loss of Kate and John’s unborn baby. Kate is in therapy for her drinking problem while John deals with things by wandering around the house in a near perfect state of semi-consciousness. And so, to fill in the hole they decide to adopt another (older) child. Enter Esther.

Believed to be born in Russia and possessing prodigious musical and artistic abilities, the delightfully polite Esther immediately impresses Kate and John with her quiet and sad demeanor and they quickly decide to take her home from the orphanage. What was interesting at this point was that Esther was not simply being depicted as a one-dimensional mini -monolith of evil, but rather seemed genuinely vulnerable and moved by her introduction to the Colemans’ (relatively) stable family life.

It wasn’t long however before the creepy kid clichés began to pile up. But still, I reassured myself, that’s okay – heck, you could argue that all genre movies are just a series of orchestrated clichés! It was in the final act though that I finally gave up on The Orphan. Back-pedaling furiously from the complex position of having created an almost sympathetic killer kid, the film-maker instead took the easy way out by inserting one of the most ridiculous “twists” to come down the pipeline since Bobby Ewing came back from the dead in Dallas. Yes, the “twist” did answer a few (unimportant) questions – but it also provoked a new one: why did I spend $10 dollars on this crap?

In the end, despite the strong first half, the only person I would recommend this orphan to is Madonna.

-Paul Meade

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