Saturday, July 14, 2012

33. The Orphanage (2007)

Title:        The Orphanage (El Orfanato)
Year:        2007
Supernatural Thriller
Type:        A-Movie
Run Time: 105


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Academy-Award nominated filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro (director of Pan's Labyrinth) presents The Orphanage, a chilling ghost story about a woman who discovers dark and horrific secrets hidden within her cherished childhood home and her desperate attempt to rescue her family from the nightmare into which she unwittingly led them.

Alternative Synopsis
Personal Thoughts

The Orphanage (El Orfanato) is a 2007 Spanish horror film directed by Juan Antonio Bayona. Typically, it takes me awhile to get around to watching movies that are not in english (having to read subtitles for an hour and thirty minutes is not something I look forward to), but must say, I'm glad I finally buckled down and gave this one a chance.  

So I'm a sucker for a good, cozy, well made, artistically crafted ghost film ... yes, that much is obvious, and The Orphanage in my opinion, definitely doesn't disappointment. Beautiful cinematography, a dauntingly creepy house, good acting, an interesting story -- outside of having to read it, this was definitely my kind of movie.

There are plenty of ghost movies out there on the market, and though The Orphanage is nothing new under the sun when it comes to haunted house stories (it sticks close to the ghost genre format) it is a well crafted, nicely put together supernatural thriller. I think it's important to mention that, just because a movie isn't a fresh idea ... just because we've quote on quote "seen it before" doesn't make a movie a bad movie. A movie doesn't always have to be a fresh, clever, original idea in order for it to be considered a good movie in my book (most movies aren't). A good movie is a good movie.

Plot: Fueled by fond memories from her childhood, Laura (Belén Rueda) persuades her husband (Fernando Cayo) to help her revamp a seaside orphanage into a facility for disabled children. But soon after the couple moves in, their son, Simón (Roger Príncep), begins exhibiting disturbing behavior. As Laura tries to understand Simón's increasingly malevolent actions, she becomes drawn into the house's terrifying secrets in this unnerving chiller -- (Synopsis taken from Netflix)

I'm a fan of atmosphere, suspense and story, and this movie had it all, and did it all very well. The Orphanage was more good (good acting, solid story, suspenseful) than it was scary. Although I don't consider it to be a very scary movie (most true horror fans probably wouldn't consider it scary at all), I will admit that it definitely does have it's share of hard to watch, dark and creepy moments where the viewers will expect something to jump out at them, which is typical for these types of movies (my wife is afraid of things popping out at her).

Though The Orphanage worked for me, it might not work for you if you're planning on watching it, expecting something on the lines of an Asian inspired ghost film (the dark haired girl in a white dress), or a Paranormal Activity type flick (demonic possession) -- if those are your expectations, then you'll probably be greatly disappointed.

In closing, I enjoyed The Orphanage ... without spoilers, and giving anything away, I'll say that I thought it was one of the better ghost movies of the 2000's. If you're a fan of ghost flicks (films about creepy haunted houses, mediums, and children that see ghost), then this may just be the movie for you, which is why I am making it movie recommendation 29 - Overall Recommendation Number 33

According to wikipedia, in 2007, new line cinema bought the rights to produce an english-language (probably meaning American) remake. Mark Pellington (The Mothman Prophecies, Arlington Road) will direct the remake.

What I liked:

- The suspense (it was pretty intense for a PG-13 style ghost film)
- The ambience and atmosphere
- The story
- The scenery and cinematography
- The acting
- The old beautiful but haunted looking house
- The ending 

What I didn't like:

- Not a lot of scary scenes for a movie considered to be a horror movie (which I actually didn't mind)
- The Blu-Ray version of the movie that I watched wasn't in english so I had to read subtitles for an hour and 45 minutes
My Ratings

How good was it:     

How scary was it:        

How much did I enjoy it:
The Orphanage Extras:

The Orphanage Wikipedia
You May Also Like:

The Mothman

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