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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! If you like Pans Labrinth or Don't Look Now then this is for you!
This is one of the best films I have seen in a long time and perhaps the most powerful and moving. Reviewers debate whether the film is a 'horror' or not - well for me at least, I found it genuinely chilling and scary and can think of few other so called horror films that had a profound and emotional effect on me. Infact I would go as far as to say very few films have...
Published on 8 April 2009 by Asmodeous

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars NOT a horror but a heartwarming drama
I am baffled as to why this film is listed under horror as there wasn't anything in it that scared me in any kind of way. There are some supernatural references but the essence of the film seems to be very much about a mother's turmoil after her ill son's disappearance. Despite not being what i was expecting it is a great film. I was prepared to jump out of my seat and...
Published 18 months ago by Stephanie


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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! If you like Pans Labrinth or Don't Look Now then this is for you!, 8 April 2009
By 
Asmodeous (North Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Orphanage [DVD] (DVD)
This is one of the best films I have seen in a long time and perhaps the most powerful and moving. Reviewers debate whether the film is a 'horror' or not - well for me at least, I found it genuinely chilling and scary and can think of few other so called horror films that had a profound and emotional effect on me. Infact I would go as far as to say very few films have ever given me the chills - but this did. More than that I was weeping like a emotional wreck by the end. It is fortunate that the wife hates watching sub titled films so I was able to 'experience' this without the indignity of others witnessing it!
Set in Spain and subtitled for nthe non spanish speaking, the film is a well conceived 'haunted house story' delivered in a manner similar to The Others and containing an atmospheric feel akin to the excellent Pan's Labrinth and Dont Look Now. For those who haveendured the loss or fear of losing a child - this story is both impactful and full of empathy. Carefully crafted, mature and intelligent in composition - a dark horse of a masterpiece. Supremely well acted and directed and highly recommended,
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars NOT a horror but a heartwarming drama, 27 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The Orphanage [DVD] (DVD)
I am baffled as to why this film is listed under horror as there wasn't anything in it that scared me in any kind of way. There are some supernatural references but the essence of the film seems to be very much about a mother's turmoil after her ill son's disappearance. Despite not being what i was expecting it is a great film. I was prepared to jump out of my seat and hide behind my hands but ended up being close to tears after the emotional and heartwarming rollarcoaster that it puts you through. I do recommend it but if you expect to be terrified you will be disappointed!
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54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Thriller from the Spanish Team, 8 Oct 2008
By 
This review is from: The Orphanage [DVD] (DVD)
The Orphanage, does bring sophistication in ghost stories which is rarely heard of, but Guillermo Del Toro manages to pull it off time and time again, and somehow he even managed to inject his magic into this one, which he only produced - as this very much plays out like one of his own films. Not to discredit Mr. Bayona, though, for he has done a fine job. This is a dark, powerful, and moving masterpiece that both adheres to convention and brings some new, more artistic elements to the table in the direction and storytelling.

There was nothing about this film I didn't like. The acting, the thrills, the cinematography, the story, and the atmosphere. Everything was not short of sheer brilliance. The chilling moments freaked me out a couple of times, which I'm glad they did. That was what I wanted out of this film, but I was offered so much in return. Since I knew Guillermo Del Toro was involved with this project, I had a feeling it would be good. I just didn't think it would be THIS good. It was also very heart-warming, which was something I did not expect.

The acting is great, Belen Rueda as Laura is magnificent. Fernando Cayo as the husband Carlos is also good; he looks like a Spanish version of Josh Lucas. The kids do a decent job. And seeing Geraldine Chaplin (Charlie Chaplin's daughter) was a surprise, and she delivered an excellent performance as the 'seeing' medium. The bond that Laura, Simon, and Carlos shared is very sensitive and is carried out well throughout the movie.

This is definitely one of those horror films you should see more than once. The horror films you see nowadays are weak, not scary, and most of all; not worth your time. This one is WORTH the time. Believe me, his film has absolutely everything you need to know on how to make a well-executed ghost story and more.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic, spine tingling, soul touching - masterpiece., 27 July 2009
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This review is from: Orphanage [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I have just finished watching this movie and I am in tears.
(And I'm a guy).

Tears, not through fear, but through emotion.

I have never before watched a film with such an incredible plot, twists, and final scene as this.

Yes it makes your hair stand up on end, (time and time again) yet there is little violence if any.

Yes there are creepy scenes and darkness, but this is after all a scary film. It meant to scare you and it does, I lost count how many times I said 'freaky' outloud and felt really un-nerved.

Yet it has a mind blowing end sequence that is just so moving, so touching that you must watch this utterly superb film.

10/10 - never seen anything like it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEWARE: CHILDHOOD GAMES ARE NOT PLEASANT IN "THE ORPHANAGE", 28 Mar 2008
By 
Movie Mad (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
For the past few months I, a huge fan of movies, have been eagerly anticipating the latest Guillermo Del Toro film to hit our screens. After all of this angst, the day finally arrived and I can't tell you how pleased I was with the result.

"The Orphanage" by debut director Juan Antonio Bayona, is a truly mesmerising tale produced by the visionary director of "Pan's Labyrinth" (another superbly executed Spanish fantasy movie).

At the start of the story, children play a "knock, knock, knock on the wall" game in the grounds of an orphanage. However, these images soon melt into blackness to be replaced by wallpaper (for the title sequence) which is then ripped away by young hands, with tormenting music echoing in the background. I soon gathered that this was not going to be the most pleasant of tales.

Around thirty years on, we slowly slip into the world of Laura who has just moved back into her childhood home, the orphanage. The setting is now slightly more sinister: darker clouds, stormier seas and creaking doors galore. As the film progresses it becomes apparent that Laura's adopted son, Simón, has HIV and is therefore on constant medication, not great when, in a moment of carelessness, Simón vanishes. What evolves from this scene is a harrowing tale which examines the reality of loss, insanity, horror, and, most importantly, challenges our imagination, the one thing that when in the darkness of the orphanage, we cannot control.

Some scenes in this movie are utterly horrific, there is no doubt about it. Although gore is of the minimum, suspense and horror and childhood games are not. There is one section of this film that scared me witless. Imagine the haunting eyes of a medium (played by a superbly creepy Geraldine Chaplin) alone in the dark corridors of the orphanage as the screams of dying children echo through ours ears. Or perhaps, the games children play with our minds when we're alone in the dark. Let me make this fact clear and simple: this is one hell of scary ride.

Like "The Others" in many ways, this gothic film is brought from a well-made ghost story to an excellent movie by its female lead, Belén Rueda. In the film's first quarter, she portrays a vision of serenity that is soon shatter by the loss of her son. Although she shines mostly in the dark corridors, her cacophony of screams are the single most important thing in this movie. They really do send a shiver down your spine. As with the harrowing, water-drenched moment on the beach and at the film's shockingly emotional conclusion, Rueda lures us into the action on screen and sends a sorrowful tear dribbling down your cheek.

The film's conclusion is unlike any other I have ever witnessed during a ghost story. It is not cheesy or predictable or pointless. And it doesn't let the whole film down. It is simply origional and emotional. I won't go into great depth about what happens as it will ruin the entire movie, but I will give you one little clue: think of Peter Pan and Wendy, the story of never growing up, never wanting to leave your roots.

"The Orphanage" made my day cold, and I'm sure it will do the same to you. What could have been an average film with an average story and average scares, was brought to our eyes with such meticulous detail from director Juan Antonio Bayona that it emerges as the last decade's greatest ghost story. It lingers in your imagination long after the horrors have ended. Not only does it seamlessly blend Guillermo's fantastical vision with horror, "The Orphanage" depicts the life of a parent whose child has disappeared to stunning effect. And that is a rare attribute to a find in a movie.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creeping, undefined dread, 4 Jun 2008
This review is from: Orphanage [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Hitchcock used an example to explain the difference between surprise and suspense. If people are seated at a table and a bomb explodes, that is surprise. If they are seated at a table, and you know there's a bomb under the table attached to a ticking clock, but they continue to play cards -- that's suspense. There's a bomb under "The Orphanage" for excruciating stretches of time.

I was expecting the slow-moving "Orphanage" to descend into routine shock and horror movie, or even into the pits with the slasher pictures. But it doesn't. Most of the movie is all waiting, anticipating and dreading. The jolts that come about midway are of a similar magnitude to movies such as Sixth Sense and Blair Witch Project.

The story (no spoilers here) of `The Orphanage' focuses on Laura, who as a young girl was raised in the orphanage before being taken away one day and adopted. Now in her 30s, she has returned with her husband and their young son Simon (who has imaginary friends). They have plans to turn the Orphanage into a home for sick/ disabled children. But before they can embark on this venture, Simon vanishes.

Laura is the main character in this movie; we are inside her tormented mind. Her husband only appears in a few scenes and all the other characters in the move are minor parts compared to Laura. Laura spends months trying to find her son and she seeks help from a psychic, the Police, and her son's imaginary friends.
All the while Laura embarks on a quest to retrieve him that will push her to the limit of sanity.

The film is slow moving, but it manages to expertly linger to create atmosphere, a sense of place, a sympathy with the characters, instead of rushing into cheap thrills.
The Orphanage stands as one of the most beautiful and moving horror movies in recent memory.

As it gears up for a truly unexpected, emotionally draining finale - destined to please or frustrate depending on how nihilistic you like your horror - this elegant ghost story ignores genre conventions to deliver a touching tale of motherhood, love and what may or may not lie on the other side. The last time a movie affected me as much as this was five years ago when I was blown away by `The Vanishing' (the original Dutch movie, not the USA remake).
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the creepiest films I've ever seen, 11 Aug 2008
By 
Dr Evil (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Orphanage [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
`The Orphanage' from producer Guillermo del Toro is about a woman named Laura who returns to live at the old orphanage where she grew up, with her husband and her adopted son, Símon. Símon has some imaginary friends who play treasure hunt games with him. When he goes missing Laura finds out more about the orphanage and learns that Símon's friends maybe aren't imaginary after all.

First of all, I must say that this is without a doubt one of the creepiest and most atmospheric films that I have ever seen. I am a massive fan of Del Toro's previous film, Pan's Labyrinth, so I couldn't wait to finally see this film. Although it perhaps isn't as good as Pan's Labyrinth overall, it is a lot more gripping and eerie and is one that kept me thinking long after it had finished. I watched this film knowing nothing about it too, so if you can avoid knowing the story before watching this, it is all the better for it as I really didn't know what to expect next.

It got to near the end of the film and I was thinking that the ending didn't make all that much sense but then there is the double twist which made me think - wow, this is a classic. If it hadn't been for the last scene, I think my opinion of this would be a lot different and perhaps my review rating a little lower.

I do like foreign films, although don't watch too many of them, but after about 5 minutes of watching this I didn't even realise I was reading the subtitles anymore as I was just so engrossed in the story. So if that is something that would put you off watching this - don't let it as you will honestly be missing out on one of the best supernatural thrillers ever made.

Overall this is a very chilling and genuinely scary film that I highly recommend. Everything about it from the story, the acting, the atmosphere, the presentation and the music is just brilliant, However, I strongly recommend not watching this alone or every creak in the house will make you wonder what it is!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars proper scary movie, 24 Dec 2009
By 
Derek Grant "dero02" (ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Orphanage [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
i really enjoyed this movie as there was none of your usual gore and blood. it was just scary and quite jumpy in parts. similar in parts to the others(nicole kidman) with a big house and creaking doors. its a spanish movie but you forget the subtitles are even there after a couple of minutes. great storyline and great ending. iwatched it on dvd but have since purchased it on bluray to add to my collection and its worth the few extra quid for bluray defo.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Orphanage is a terrific ghost story., 22 Mar 2008
By 
film fan (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
I went to the local multiplex cinema to see this amazing Spanish ghost story. I was enthralled by its premise and the execution of the film was brilliant.

It tells of how a young woman called Laura, who acquires this old orphanage where she once had a life, and decides to turn it into a place for children with learning disabilities. On the opening day, her young son, Simon, who has imaginary friends because of his vivid imagination, disappears and Laura loses control of her feelings and embarks on a search to find him.

A couple of days before this, a strange old lady comes calling saying she's a social worker, but she turns out not to be all she seems. On her search, Laura decides to bring in a medium to hopefully try and find her missing son. Despite the lady conceding she heard five voices screaming from this one room, Laura decides to go it alone.

I felt that the performance by the Spanish actress Belen Rueda, as Laura, is impressive and believable. She shows a lot of range in this performance and you feel for her sadness and eventual happiness.

There are some terrific and really frightening moments throughout this inventive and scary film. The most memorable for me, I think, would be the orphanage building. It's a place where you wouldn't want to be left alone knowing that the ghosts of days gone by haven't been put to rest. The brooding score and atmospheric cinematography are chilling and brilliant. The production design is first rate too. These elements all add to an impressive ghost story that's almost old-fashioned in its delivery and execution.

It goes to show that you don't need computer generated effects to make a decent horror/thriller. You just need an eirie old building and use the insides of it. The doors opening and closing on their own is enough for me. This is one of the best films of this kind I've seen. If you don't mind thrills see it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat overrated, 26 Aug 2012
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This review is from: The Orphanage [DVD] (DVD)
This is a fairly satisfying little ghost story which rehashes the 'creepy ghost children' theme to reasonable effect. The big problem with this attempt at the genre is that the scare and jump scenes are just few and far between, aside from one good 2 minute sequence where ghosts appear in a dark room and a scene when the dead are summoned through a medium , it has very little to offer in terms of scare factor. It is very slow paced, unnecessarily long and ultimately misses the mark. I was getting pretty bored about 2 thirds of the way into this and hoping it wasn't going to drag on much longer. The story itself is pretty good, big old creepy Orphanage, (some) ghostly figures appearing in the dark, lovely scenic settings but the on screen story is laboured far too much and any ghostly scenes are significantly under worked and fall flat. I watched this once and won't be watching it again, not bad but nothing special by a long shot. 6 out of 10.
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The Orphanage [DVD]
The Orphanage [DVD] by Juan Antonio Bayona (DVD - 2008)
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