2 hours, 3 minutes
R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.
for disturbing violent content, some sexuality and language.
Vera Farmiga ... Kate Coleman
Peter Sarsgaard ... John Coleman
Isabelle Fuhrman ... Esther
CCH Pounder ... Sister Abigail
Jimmy Bennett ... Daniel Coleman
Margo Martindale ... Dr. Browning
Karel Roden ... Dr. Všrava
Aryana Engineer ... Max Coleman
|After dealing with the tragedy of a stillborn baby, a young family - Kate (Vera Farmiga "The Departed") and John Coleman (Peter Sarsgaard) and their two kids, Max (Aryana Engineer) and Daniel (Jimmy Bennett) decides to adopt a child, and for some reason, rather than taking the decidedly simpler road of adopting a newborn baby, they adopt a nine-year-old girl. This kid, who is appropriately and creepily named Esther (Isabelle Furhman), who is all sorts of charming to begin with, turns out to be a far different kid than they originally thought. It seems that Esther has a dark past, one filled with coincidence and misfortune. Oh and is she ever creepy. In an early scene, Esther uses a brick in a terrifying manner, making a teasing little girl pay. This is all before she turns completely psycho.
Orphan directed by Jaume Collett-Serra ("House of Wax") is filled with all the expected horror clichés. But not the first time, thatís too predictable. Always the second time. Claustrophobic camera angles mean there is probably someone right where you canít see them. The score, with its rising disharmonies and sudden crashes, suggests when there may be a scare coming, just in case we canít figure it out for ourselves. And its characters tend to act in whatever way serves the plot best. Kate is sometimes a raging alcoholic, sometimes an overly caring mother. Infidelity issues come up between Kate and John, but hardly come up again. John is sometimes a trusting, loving husband and father, other times heís ignorant and disloyal. Thereís Kate and Johnís therapist who rather than being the learned psychoanalyst she should be, falls into Estherís traps like everyone else.
If anything, the film works better as a comedy than it does as a horror movie. It has several great laughs, most at the expense of its characters. Some moments were likely intentional, others were definitely not, and even more are hard to figure out. And when it all comes down to it, thatís exactly why Orphan falters. Its drama is never truly defined, its comedy rarely comes from moments that are supposed to be funny, and its scares, twists, and revelations are so absurd and silly that itís impossible to take this movie seriously, but there is still enough suspense, tension and surprises to keep horror fans on the edge of their seats
and ultimately satisfied.