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Orphan(2009)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Starring:
Vera Farmiga/Kate
Peter Sarsgaard/John
Isalbelle Fuhrman/Ester
Aryana Engineer/Max
8 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
A 30 something couple (Farmiga and Sarsgaard), who recently lost a child, adopt a cutie patooney 9 year old Russian girl (Isabelle Fuhrman) to fill the gap, and fill it she does. Via murder, psychological torture and more murder. There’s something wrong with Ester they say…YA THINK! Kid is f*cking nuts and I love her for it!
THE LOWDOWN

I don't think Mommy likes me very much. It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own.- Ester

I had a positive gut feeling about ORPHAN off the bat. I can’t put my middle finger on “why” I did but I just knew in my rotten to the core heart that the flick would own me, you and every unwanted one legged slut out there. Even though it was from Dark Castle, a label that rarely crossed the average line in terms of film quality and that the marketing campaign was underwhelming to say the least… ORPHAN simply talked to me. With that, I didn’t think it would be THIS damn good! BOOYA! HEAR ME NOW!

I couldn’t have stopped myself from having a gleefully evil time with ORPHAN even if I had tried. The flick’s mean spiritness, its zest as to embracing the flaws in its refreshingly layered “hero” characters and its tendencies at flirting with taboos really appealed to me. For a studio flick; this one sported a huge sack and a strong penchant for the morbid and I so respected that. I went through two phases while watching this tramp in training. At first, every time something horrible would happen, I’d giggle like the Joker on nose candy much to the dismay of my date (Yeah I go beyond one night stands sometimes — I DATE too! Who knew!) sitting next to me. She thought I was nuts! And she was right. Ester really went to town on this family and for some odd reason I was getting off on it, big smile on my face.

Then phase two kicked in, and that was me just being shocked by what was going down. No chuckling — just pure terror striking my soul. LOVED IT! Visually, the style was restrained, almost old school but with a keen attention to stylistic framing which resulted in a gripping look. Director Jaume Collet-Serra was definitely on the ball with this one, he perfectly executed his action and scare bits. Serra's cinematographer was also "on" as he managed to potently bring out the darkness of the imagery in a semi slick fashion. YUM! Flick looked MACABRE GORGEOUS! And when it was tension snack-time; this bad girl went buck nuts, no holding back here, whooping me stupid in the process. Throughout this watch, I couldn't shake the feeling that everybody was up for grabs — they all could’ve died at any moment — and that definitely jacked up the stakes of the whole.

It’s been a while since I clenched that theater seat arm rest with mucho stress due to the pulse pounding suspense oozing off the big screen; so thanks to ORPHAN for bringing that loving feeling back to me this year. Add to that solid actors all around with the kiddie thespians (always wanted to use that word - there ya have it) nailing it and then some (Isabelle Fuhrman and Aryana Engineer have to be the best child actresses I’ve seen in the last 6 years), a chilling score by John Ottman and a finale that not only double downed on ugliness but that also spit out one warped twist that I didn’t see coming and you get fun f*cking, fun times for the whole Sawyer family.

Arrow Self Indulgent moment: The theme of "appearances/illusions” was rampant in this one. After I left the theater, I was listening to the new SICK PUPPIES album and when I heard these lyrics, they reminded me of ORPHAN right away. Allow me to share. Why? Cause I can… he he he : I did my best to try and be - A mirror of society -But we both know the mirror’s cracked -And everybody's in the act -Faking what they cannot feel - Hoping they can make it real. Yup, that’s ORPHAN or should I say Ester for ya!

Any negatives to pea-soup spew? Not much. Granted if you’ve seen THE GOOD SON, CHILD’S PLAY, THE STEPFATHER, MIKEY (very underrated and cruel - see it guys and dolls) or THE OMEN, this one’s first hour won’t be a huge surprise as to its progression. The film planted its seeds quite blatantly. Somewhat see through and predictable were the words. With that stabbed, gutted and hid in a dumpster; even though the setups were IN MY FACE; nothing could have prepared me for the payoffs which uppercut me like Tyson losing it in Desiree Washington's bedroom after she FALSELY accused him of rape. GODDAMN! Finally, the characters did a couple of dumb moves to serve the plot — but nothing I couldn't let go of…. I had to say it cause its my job. Straight up though, overall, this was a pretty damn air tight script… I was mucho impressed! PROPS!

Arrow says, ADOPT THIS ONE and love her as if she was your own!

GORE
We get bloody hammer hits to the heads, a squashed bird, messy stabbings and couple of other evil deeds that I won’t reveal here. What a mean movie.
T & A
Vera Farmiga in her underwear is always a treat to me. We also get a nipple through a shirt shot, but there was nothing erotic about it. The ladies get Peter Sarsgaard showing off his chest shag.
BOTTOM LINE
ORPHAN kicked my ass and it is now one of my fav genre wham-bams of the year. Well written, with strong actors and aiming to shock/frighten with no apologies; this one hit the dead spot — dead bang. Sure the subgenre it had its knife stuck in has been done to death and the first two acts felt a tad familiar. But the last block brought it all home with such gusto that I let that go in the snap of a neck snap. It felt SOOOOOO good to be SCARED again. Support quality inclined, non-remake horror on the big screen and don’t let this little gem slip through your fingers! ORPHAN is much better and well rounded than the trailers put out. GOLD!

NOTE: I recommend this double bill: see MIKEY (1992) first and then ORPHAN right after and call it a life well lived!
BULL'S EYE
Jaume Collet-Serra also directed HOUSE OF WAX for Dark Castle.

This was Alex mace (story) and David Johnson's (screenplay) first produced feature length script. Good work dudes!

Isabelle Fuhrman (Ester) will also been seen in the upcoming CHILDREN OF THE CORN TV mini series.

ADOPT THE ORPHAN OFFICAL SITE HERE