8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The Orphanage is a terrific ghost story.,
This review is from: Orphanage [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
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.