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Jaume Collet-Sera directs this psychological horror starring Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsaard as Kate and John, a couple grieving the loss of their unborn child who decide to adopt nine-year-old Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) from a nearby orphanage. But almost as soon as they welcome Esther into their home, an alarming series of events begins to unfold, leading Kate to believe that there is something very wrong with Esther. Is this seemingly angelic little girl as sweet and innocent as she appears?
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It starts when recovering alcholic Kate (Vera Farmiga) and her husband John (Peter Sarsgaard) decide to adopt a child. They already have a son and a profoundly deaf daughter but a stillbirth has left an emptiness in Kate's life. They visit a local orphanage run by a group of nuns where they meet Esther (Issabelle Fuhrman), a girl from Russia whose background is largely unknown. The couple fall for Esther's angelic charm so Sister Abigail facilitates a remarkably quick adoption.
Unfortunately, over time it becomes apparent "THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH ESTHER."
Esther begins to terroise other children and then the family. Despite Kate's misgivings John remains blissfully unaware of Esther's psychopathic tendencies and instead blames Kate. Kate meanwhile, tries desperately to protect her own children. A twist in the tale, which you can kind of guess at but not quite, eventually reveals all.
In the best of traditions, this film gradually notches up the tension to its climax. Fuhrman is genuinely creepy as Esther. If I were to make a critism of the film it would be that it could have been edited just a little bit more, and that the concept of a cynical lead male character not seeing what is under his nose is something of a cliche. However, this film packs enough suspense and scary moments to make it worth watching.
The bluray shines for most of the movie but in some parts the image isn't as crisp as you'd expect, but for the most part it's beautiful. A good, deep modern horror movie, this movie starts off nice and peaceful (except for the creepy opening) but slowly rachetes up the tension and creepy. Information about the characters is given out in little bites like a good TV series, allowing you to figure out what peoples hang ups are all about before eventualy having them revealed. It's a fairly long movie, bit over 2 hours, but the length is filled with substance not just drawn out suspense scenes.
And ontop of all that, it's got a really cheap pricetag, even for an Australian like me with the exchange rate.
Special features include a 14 minute making of, which gets more interesting halfway through when it starts refering to the history of scary kid movies, some of which i'll have to track down. There are a couple of interviews as well with cast and crew, and deleted scenes and alternate ending (which are interesting but it's clear why they were cut as they add little to the movie and would have dragged it), and a trailer.
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The Blu-ray Disc presents a very natural full-HD image with high detail, low levels of grain, realistic colours, and well balanced contrast. Two audio options are provided as uncompressed stereo or DTSHD MA 5.1 surround, both of which are subtle and enveloping. A reasonable number of extras come in the form of interviews, featurettes and deleted scenes.
Overall I think it was worth watching Orphan in HD as opposed to on DVD (especially at the price it's currently available, but even at twice as much I wouldn't have felt cheated): the clarity of the image and the strength of the story really gripped for two hours and this is a great buy.
A married couple struggling to get on with their lives after the miscarriage of their third child gun for adoption as a means of healing the wounds left by that lost little girl - and to help recovering alcoholic wife Kate get her head back into the family. After visiting a small adoption centre, they choose Esther, a polite, charming, creative 9-year-old hailing from Russia. Esther is quirky, old-fashioned and knows her own mind, and the couple initially fall in love with her. It's not long, however, before Kate begins to suspect that all is not right with Esther. Is she spiralling back into her old paranoid depression, or is there really more to the little girl than meets the eye?
For any horror fans looking for a good scare, I grudgingly admit that the Orphan has very few of them. What it does have is a pervasive, unnerving atmosphere, some razor sharp black comedy, and you will be utterly disturbed by the ending. The scenes that precede the twist are get-under-your-skin eerie and perverse, and the twist itself . . . well, you'll just have to judge that for yourself.
What really made this film stand out for me is the acting. The writing is excellent and there is no slack in the script or in the characters and their roles - each one feels important and has a part to play. I hate it in horror movies when a character blatantly only exists to get killed off for the viewer's entertainment, 'slasher fodder' if you will.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I actually found this to be very creepy I don't see it as a film worth a repeat view as the twist wont have quite the impact it had first time around. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Peter J. Hodgson
Complete waste of money. Came with no case, Quality was really bad, looks like a pirate copy filmed in a cinema. Wont be buying from this seller ever again.Published 2 months ago by christopher Elson