August 5, 2008
El Orfanato (The Orphanage) - $9
I've said more than once on my site that I'm not a big fan of the horror genre. By that I mean movies like Texas Chainsaw, Saw etc... I do enjoy a good thriller from time to time though and the distinction to me is in what is being done to frighten me. I don't mind being scared of something mysterious or haunting, but I'm not fond of seeing disgusting gore designed to terrify me in a very simplistic way.
The Orphanage is exactly the kind of thriller I like. The story revolves around a woman named Laura who has bought the orphanage she spent her childhood years in prior to being adopted. Her and her husband intend to turn it into a boarding house for mentally challenged children while also living there with their own son, Simón.
In one of the movies' more eerie scenes Laura finds Simón talking to someone in a cave near the beach they frequent. Laura never sees anyone and assumes Simón is talking to an imaginary friend. That day Simón leaves a trail of shells that lead back to the house so that the friend he met in the cave can find it and come over to play. The next day Laura finds the shells in a pile by the front door and from that moment on she begins to hear and see things in the house that prompt her to believe that this imaginary friend of Simón's may not be imagined after all. When Simón goes missing Laura is convinced that the spirits in the house are to blame.
The Orphanage is beautifully shot and is frightening for all the right reasons. There is mystery and story to what is happening in the house and the fear the movie makes it's audience feel is a powerful fear of the unknown. There is a purpose to the horror as well as it adds to the story being told rather than being the only part of the story. The Orphanage even manages to give you an almost touching ending.
The Orphanage has an amazing tone and mood with imagery that makes it far more than just a horror movie. The acting and writing are great though I'm always left wishing I spoke the language of a subtitled movie especially when it impresses me. How much more impressed would I have been if I could understand the dialogue as it was intended?
This is a must see, I'm putting The Orphanage on my 'Watch It' list and give it a value of $9.