The Orphanage (2007) Poster

(2007)

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4/10
Great build up, disappointing ending
Artur Machado1 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Drama/mystery/thriller with a half-horror environment. A woman decides to go live with her family to her childhood home that was an orphanage at the time. When her son begins to communicate with an imaginary friend, the house gradually reveals its sinister secrets.

The premise is good, but it's just another ghost story where the ghost is not needed for the plot. In the end, a search inside the house was the minimum necessary for the woman to find the deceased body of her boy and the movie would last even less without the illogical things that succeed: how did the kid went to the basement if the door that leads there was closed years ago with wallpaper covering it? Did he cross the wall? Despite the implausibility of the story (that turns it stupid), it is well acted, has some disturbing and creepy scenes and has good cinematography, which is why I don't rate it less than 4/10.
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4/10
Very slow moving mystery/suspense story with supernatural elements
trishaade3 August 2017
The Orphanage concerns a former resident who ultimately is adopted and returns to the abandoned institution as an adult to open a home for disabled children. Prior to the opening, her son, who is also adopted, disappears. Most of the plot involves the mystery of what happened to her child and her friends at the orphanage.

I have to say that for most of this movie I was bored out of my mind due to the slow pace. The concept itself was okay and the story is all tied up in a tidy bundle by the end, but getting there was quite tedious at times.

The acting was okay, but bordered on the melodramatic in certain parts. However, the mom's desperation and frustration over the loss of her son is appropriate. I think the characters did okay overall with the lines they had been given considering the slow pace. I just wish the film would have had more oomph. Some of the sets and cinematography were quite nice and interesting as well and the orphanage itself has quite the creepy feel to it. The film has a fair amount of atmosphere.

IMHO, this film had the horror equivalent of Crimson Peak, a movie that I actually did like. The horror element in The Orphanage is quite tame, so if you are looking for thrills and chills, I don't know that this film will do it for you. I don't know that it will do for a hardened horror fan either. Mystery, suspense and drama fans might like it if they don't mind the supernatural elements and the snail's pace.
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8/10
A little wonder of Spanish cinema.
Filipe Neto29 March 2017
This movie is a small pearl of horror movies and comes from the country next to me. It tells the story of a couple who went to live in a renovated orphanage and where, soon, their little son begins to see invisible children before disappearing. From then on, a tense supernatural story unfolds, holding us to the screen until the end. The script is simple but effective, the story is good and the permanent tension is gradually growing. Directed by Juan Antonio Baiona (a director I had never heard of), it is a film that comes in line with other works of the most recent Spanish cinema, by Guillermo del Toro or Alejandro Amenábar. The environments and scenarios have been carefully elaborated and the actors' work (highlighting Belén Rueda and Roger Príncep) is moving and convincing. This is undoubtedly a film that deserves much more visibility, ending up being harmed by its European origin and not having the same advertising machine as the great American works.
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5/10
Standard
Warning: Spoilers
It surprised me how high the rating was for this movie after seeing it. Maybe it's because it is one of very few horror movies that deliver any kind of human story. It seems like Del Toro was conflicted over whether he wanted it to be a horror movie or not. On one hand, the kids from Laura's childhood did not have malicious intent, but on the other hand the story plays out in a way that is definitely intended to induce fear and suspense. Nothing about the nature of the story or characters called for most of the horror elements that were included. There was no story reason for Tomas' mask to look creepy, or for him to hurt Lauren. There were other small things that seemed to have only been done for jump scare and suspense purposes, like when the ghost kids smash closed the window to respond to Laura or Simon muttering mysteriously in the cave instead of being more playful with his "friends". The scene with the medium was also made very suspenseful, but really didn't need to be. These things aren't necessarily bad, but I don't think they really helped to tell the story. The only horror genre motivated thing that was entirely bad was Beninga getting hit by the ambulance; it was actually really funny because of how ridiculous it was.

The story itself is fairly standard and formulaic, but it doesn't have any evident holes or issues. It's adequate and nothing more, not making any statements or offering anything that unique. The characters are similarly flat, which makes sense because the focus is more on the situations they are in rather than their actions. I found that this made for flat scenes and a flat movie overall, but that doesn't mean you won't enjoy it. I suppose it's well directed and is definitely made to look visually appealing. There was a lot done with the lighting and angles. From what I have observed, horror and thriller movies seem to be great outlets for production specialists to really have fun and get inventive, particularly directors of photography. They may not feature the greatest writing, but they are excellent examples of visual storytelling and using certain kinds of shot combinations to create the right mood.

I wouldn't recommend that you go out looking to watch this movie, but if it's showing in your Spanish class or on a bus trip or something it may keep your interest. If you don't like jump scares and gore, you'll be okay. There are very few of either, and the first twenty minutes or so are not scary or suspenseful at all. Actually, the movie is really more of a fantasy story than anything, and was just infused with horror elements to increase drama. Overall Rating: 6.3/10.
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8/10
A horror built on emotions
Mace5 February 2017
J.A. Bayona and Guillermo del Toro's The Orphanage is a masterfully crafted piece of Spanish horror that transcends high above the relatively low bar set for the genre. While consistently suspenseful and dark, the story is told in a oddly beautiful way. This isn't the average horror film where the fear is generated from gory images or cheap scares, but rather it's atmosphere and emotional tension and eventual deterioration of our main character. The Orphanage is bold and takes many risks, most of which pay off, but what impressed me the most was the elegance and maturity showcased by Bayona in his debut feature. Guillermo del Toro's influence on the film is immediately noticeable as every aspect within the film is executed with a sense of macabre beauty, from the breathtaking shots to the excellently detailed setting.

The cast is fairly limited and the story strongly hinges on our emotional connection to our main character played by Belén Rueda. She was simply excellent as we witness her character slowly starts to lose her grip on everything she believes. She's a strong, determined female character who emits a confidence that is reflected not only in herself, but the entire film as a whole.

The Orphanage is a film for the patient and at times it seems more of a film for movie-lovers rather than actual horror fans. The atmosphere and tone drive the story forward, and while a few scares occur now and then, it's the unwavering sense of dread that makes the experience relentlessly suspenseful at times. And once we begin to uncover the truth behind the film's many mysteries, these moments of suspense intensify. While there are a few scenes of far-fetched violence that the director seems to indulge in, he never gets lost in it.

The main thing that sets The Orphanage apart from most other horror movies is the amount of heart the film features. The story is hauntingly sad, but once we begin to solve the film's mysteries, it only becomes even more heartbreaking. The use of child ghosts may seem eye-rolling at first, but the idea is never exploited and even adds to the emotional impact. The ending is really hit-or-miss for most people but I found it to be the perfect way to wrap up such a beautiful and emotional tale of love and loss.

It may not be endlessly re-watchable as the film does drag on at times, but if you can make it past some slow stretches, the payoff more than makes up for these moments. The Orphanage is a smart, elegant and sophisticated horror film. The cinematic and acting prowess from the cast and producers in unquestionable and in turn works to make the viewing experience all the more rich. While it can't be said for many of the genre, The Orphanage is a horror film built completely off the emotions of it's story, character's and the feelings it evokes from the audience. Where most horror films aim to make you faint, The Orphanage aims to make you cry.
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7/10
Simple & Sophisticated
Thomas Drufke7 January 2017
Sometimes the best thing a horror film can do is simplify itself. The Orphanage benefits from having a strong and grounded performance from Belén Rueda, without overwhelming it's plot with supernatural clichés and jump scares.

One thing is for certain, J.A. Bayona is phenomenal director. I've heard great things about his upcoming 'A Monster Calls', 'The Impossible' is one of the most heart-wrenching films of all time, and The Orphanage kicked off his directing with a bang. But there's one thing all of those films have in common, they deal with a mother's relationship to her son. I've obviously never met Bayona, but he had to have a strong connection to his mother. And among other things, that was the most satisfying element to The Orphanage. Guillermo del Toro produced this, and as much as I love a lot of his films, sometimes his films are more about spectacle than they are about real human emotion. Luckily, Bayona gave plenty of that to The Orphanage.

Movies about disappearances or deaths of children are always very difficult to watch. Especially the films that take a horror approach, like The Orphanage. Kids are always creepy in horror-thrillers, there's just no two ways about it. But as long as Belén Rueda keeps her performance grounded, this movie stays afloat.

This movie certainly delves into some things that we have seen in horror films before, mostly having to do with supernatural ideas or dream-like people returning from the dead, but I never found myself all that invested in those scenes. I'm far more interested in seeing how a mother reacts to her child go missing. The film doesn't necessarily have as many layers as other horror-thrillers, but as a first time director, I couldn't have asked for more from Bayona. Hopefully 'A Monster Calls' and The Jurassic World sequel continue the string of great work from him.

+Mother-son relationship

+Stays relatively grounded

+Simple story…

-…Could have had a little bit more depth

7.7/10
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8/10
Powerful ending
begob17 November 2016
A wife returns with her husband and child to live at the old orphanage from which she was adopted, but the secrets of the past return to haunt her family ...

A tragic tale that delivers not just on ghostly menace but on pathos and humanity too. A slow build up is punctuated with a few effective jump scares, but the story changes gear during an imaginative treasure hunt and comes to its climax with near perfection.

The plot is a little underdeveloped, leaving the odd hole, and some of the dialogue is misjudged - especially in a Q&A scene at about 40 mins - but all that is forgiven as the director brings it home on a wave of emotion.

The performances are good, and the lead actress is outstanding: not just fascinating in close-up but a treat for the eyes as well.

Music was sometimes too playful - in a horror that can be a sign of the director losing his nerve, but it didn't spoil the tone. Photography was good, with beautiful locations and a stylish circling pan of the actress in a crucial scene towards the end.

Overall: a little shaky, but a pleasure for even seasoned horrorists.
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9/10
Understated and stylish Spanish ghost story
Leofwine_draca22 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
THE ORPHANAGE is an excellent little modern-day ghost story and another example of Spanish genre cinema outclassing foreign competition. This flick has more imagination than a dozen US torture porn offerings or half a dozen Japanese female ghost jaunts. Although it clearly owes much to THE INNOCENTS and THE OTHERS, it stands in its own right as an effective ghost-story-cum-mystery as a couple move into an abandoned orphanage with their adopted son and soon find themselves menaced by sinister forces. The plot sounds familiar, but THE ORPHANAGE succeeds thanks to subtlety, originality, and the refusal to pander to the audience.

Those looking for CGI effects, action, or gore effects should go elsewhere because this film has none of them. There are a few jump shocks but even these are limited in favour of creepy atmosphere – this is without doubt a mood piece. It's not the most horrifying film I've seen and I wouldn't even class it as a 'horror' film per se – okay, yes, it is a ghost story but not a frightening one. Instead it's moving, poignant, nostalgic, and come the twist ending I don't mind admitting that I was crying my eyes out at the mixture of happiness and sadness it brought.

The film has an excellent location – a creepy old coastal orphanage, complete with secret rooms and passages – that would have been effective in the hands of an amateur, let alone the intelligent, mature director Juan Antonio Bayona. Guillermo del Toro was kind enough to put his name to it as producer to secure a wider audience and it was a good choice, as many people have discovered just how great a movie this is. Special mention goes to the entire cast for their performances, with obvious mention to Belen Rueda who has to act in a very difficult central role and comes away completely wonderful because of it.
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8/10
nice moody ghost story
SnoopyStyle12 August 2016
Laura returns to live in her former home, a closed orphanage. She brings her husband Carlos, and adopted son Simón. Simón claims to have a new friend Tomás. He's angry telling Laura that his friend told him that he's adopted. She is attacked by a mysterious boy in a mask and Simón goes missing. Suspicion falls on social worker Benigna Escobedo. Six months later, Laura sees her getting killed run over by a car. Medium Aurora helps Laura discover the truth.

This is a murkier ghost story. It's got a nice creepy mood. The lead is compelling. It doesn't always have the action to drive the horror. It relies more on the mystery. There is a great masked kid. It has a nice payoff but it could use a flashback sequence to tie it back better. There are times when the connective tissue is missing.
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7/10
Creepy little ghost story
bowmanblue17 July 2016
In ghost story terms, there's nothing particularly new about 'The Orphanage' – it follows the modern ghost story formula pretty well, i.e. family moves into new location, strange things happen, no one believes them, contact expert to clarify supernatural element and then climax. The Orphanage ticks all those boxes and in that order. However, just because its story isn't that original, doesn't mean it's bad.

It's Spanish, for a start. I don't know why I always give foreign films more leeway when it comes to acting terms. Maybe it's the subtitles that mean I can't really tell a 'good' foreign actor from a 'bad' one. But, the acting certainly seems well up there to me. It's about a couple who have adopted a young boy and move back into an old orphanage to refurbish it and open it up for taking on new children. However, things go more than a little wrong when their son starts developing 'imaginary' friends and then vanishes completely during the opening event and, no, they don't find that he's been taken into the TV, ala, Poltergeist.

See? Nothing particularly new there, but it's the film's overall tone, direction and acting which elevates it about the – literally – thousands of similar clones which infest DVD bargain buckets at your local petrol station. The setting is great and I've already mentioned the acting. But it's simply the foreboding feel of dream and despair that keeps you watching.

Basically, if you like your ghost stories slow-burning and creepy (and don't mind subtitles) then give this one a go. It moves slowly to a sensible ending and doesn't have any hordes of CGI monsters or major action sequences, so don't be expecting a horror marathon of epic proportions. Just expect something subtle and dark.
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10/10
Artful and Creepy
Free of cheap scares and senseless gore – The Orphanage relies on setting, story, and artful camera work.

Consider such scenarios that are common in many haunted house films: children with sensitivities toward paranormal phenomena; a house haunted by ghostly children. These can be genuinely creepy scenarios so long as the film is done right. To capture the creepiness factor, the lines between reality and a child's fantasy must be ever so subtly blurred. There must be layers of terror lurking underneath the shield of innocence, with each successive layer becoming more and more disturbing. The Orphanage gets it right. It successfully builds a bridge between innocence and terror and we the viewers walk this bridge in exhilarating trepidation.

To read more, visit my blog - the link is on my profile page
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6/10
I enjoyed it
Ciubotariu Anca25 March 2016
I liked this movie. Not so scary which is fine by me as I think what you can't see is scarier then a horrible looking ghost. The house has a gritty feeling about it which is well portrayed here, reflecting the more and more disturbing anomalies that begin to happen. Been Rueda is a good actress and very relatable as a mother whose child is missing. she is also o good looking women even thou she really shows her age. At the time of the movie she was 42 and showing her age but in the movie they made her 36 which is really not believable. why not say what you can see. overall a nice movie not to scary so you can watch it alone on a Friday night.
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7/10
Gloomy Yet Beautiful
Charles G22 February 2016
Once again I've fallen in love with a Spanish Horror movie. Directed by Juan A. Bayona and produced by Guillermo Del Toro, The Orphanage impresses with its cold and gloomy atmosphere. Despite the fact there are ghosts included, the movie doesn't rely on cheap jump scares but rather on its touching story and dark elements. Beautiful cinematography and a plot twist are only a few of many positives. A strong lead performance made me genuine feel for the the characters. The Orphanage is a prime example of less being more. Without a doubt a modern Horror classic. I would even recommend this movie to people who aren't that fond of the genre.
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9/10
What a beautiful movie
gusainrakesh21 February 2016
I have seen many horror movies, but in this genre this will remain one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen. To me it shares the same spot with pan's labyrinth on the top. On a wonderful story the acting from the cast is brilliant. The story starts to build slowly but it's the beauty that when you go inside the groove it becomes the different experience altogether. I like atmospheric movies and man the atmosphere of the movie is bone chilling and creepy yet beautiful. The colour of this movie is greyish which depicts the mood of the ordeal Laura was going through.There is nothing over the top in this movie. It's a sheer pleasure to watch it at any time. The ending in particular is awesome and it memory remains with you for a long time after this movie. This is the second time I have watched this movie and it still feels fresh. I could not believe that this is Bayona's directorial debut. If this is the start then I would like to see more films from him. Hats off to this movie. It will remain one of my all time favourite :).
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No stars
mirandacfoster20 December 2015
i found this movie, English trailer and everything, it looked really good, until i found out it wasn't actually in English. I'm dyslexic, i can barley type, let alone try and read English subtitles for and hour or 2. I find it extremely offensive that the US and Canada offer Spanish, french, Swedish etc. versions but a lot of other places (not all thank god) don't think to make English versions. If they did they would get a lot more positive reviews and make more money from the film. Even the girl with the dragon tattoo series made English versions, and i can honestly say i'm Very happy they did because its still a favorite series to this day. i love watching foreign movies because they have such creative, gory imaginations, and when they come in English that just makes it 10x better. I don't care that the original is in another language but at least convert it to English. I even found a french version over English which i was surprised about considering the worlds top three most spoken languages are Chinese, Spanish and English. So unfortunate and disappointing about this movie. No stars given, since i cant even watch it.
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7/10
Atypical Horror Fodder
jtncsmistad-8268911 December 2015
From thequickflickcritic.blogspot.com/ "The Orphanage" is not your run-of-the-mill horror movie. In fact, it's not really a horror flick at all. Not in traditional terms at any rate. And most certainly not in the common contemporary sense, either.

Spanish Director J.A. Bayona crafts a healthy share of scares and suspense for sure, but not at the expense of presenting a compelling chronicle skillfully infused with drama and genuine human emotion. At it's heart a narrative of a mother's love for her child and the ferocious and limitless power embodied in such, Bayona's film also gives us a ghost story, summoning as it does so spirits both conjured and broken.

Belén Rueda is a relentless dynamo of raw strength and dogged determination as a parent who refuses to believe that her lost child has lost his life. Her extraordinary performance is intensely demanding and grueling, one rarely witnessed from any actress regardless of the role. And the strikingly breathtaking cinematography by Óscar Faura consistently punctuates the overall impact of most every scene.

The recommendation is to go in to "The Orphanage" anticipating something far out of the ordinary. Or at the very least without the expectation that it will fall in line with what you've come to expect.

For more of my Movie Reviews categorized by Genre please visit: thequickflickcritic.blogspot.com/
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10/10
Wonderful
Edmunds Zvejnieks20 November 2015
Excellent movie! Amazing. I was really moved, touched, crying. This can easily be included in my best 10 movies of all time. No doubts. Interestingly that I was searching for a horror movie through various top horror movies reviews and found this to be watchable because it was made by makers of Labirinto del Fauno, which is another one great movie though a little bit different. I was expecting less satisfaction than from Pan's Labirynth because rarely someone creates two great movies in a row, but this was not the case. Everything is well done, well planed, well combined - acting, characters, music, scenes, visualizations. I would not say it's a horror movie, because it's more about dark sides of our life and an endless love.. a must see! You will like it to, if the world of your inner feelings can grab it.
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10/10
Stunning
andreimakarov25 September 2015
This is my first review in over 10 years of IMDb usage. My fault, but I mostly find existing reviews sufficient enough, some close to truth, some a little further. Some a bit too angry, some a little too lustrous.

But this time. I just couldn't resist. This movie is absolutely stunning with almost no drawbacks. I have seen a lot of horrors, gore, fantasy, and this is such a perfect mixture of drama, thriller and suspenseful horror that you simply mustn't miss it. Go for it. Have no doubt. It is worth it from the first second till the very last tune in the titles.
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6/10
Unusual, gripping, corny ending
angelica_raine18 August 2015
There were a lot of jumpy scenes throughout the film and I particularly liked the build up to each nerve-racking scene. I feel that the main reason to watch it would be the storyline as it was quite inventive and creative.

In summary, the film is about an orphanage that is bought by one of the previous orphans who used to live there. It constantly flashes back to the strange incidents that happened in the past and the mysterious disappearance of a handful of the orphans who were never found. Flash-forward to the present day and the new owner of the orphanage has a young son who then also disappears under mysterious circumstances. The whole film is then centered on trying to find her missing son and the connection it has with the missing children from decades ago.

I really enjoyed the storyline and thought the acting was to a good standard, I liked the air of mystery throughout the film and did feel on edge during a lot of the scenes. The ending was slightly corny, but overall I enjoyed the film.
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8/10
Plenty shock and suspense.
tao90224 July 2015
Laura grew up in an orphanage in Spain, and with her husband, Carlos, decides to buy the deserted building where she spent her childhood. They move in with their adopted son, Simón, and soon he begins to refer to 5 invisible friends that he has met. Laura decides to open up the home as an orphanage again. On the day that it is due to open she and her husband arrange a party but their son goes missing.

We are led to speculate whether it is the work of a strange old woman, ghosts, or simply unfortunate coincidence. Good film if you like the horror genre. Relies a little too much on shock/suspense scenarios and sound effects.

A well made, fairly original horror.
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10/10
That moment when a horror movie became a true emotional masterpiece!
danieldubu15 May 2015
In the beginning, I was expected another ,,haunted-house" movie, with jump scares and chilling moments. It started like one, it advanced like one and, in less than 5 minutes, it transformed into an emotional story that scarred me more than any story from a horror movie.

"The only love that I really believe in is a mother's love for her children." (Karl Lagerfeld). The entire movie was built on this quote: the way the plot goes on, the characters, the environment, everything! The most impressive element of this movie is the lighthouse, the symbol of guidance and safety. The plot is not focusing on it too much, but if you pay attention to some events, you will understand that the lighthouse offers a felling of safety, something that I never seen before to a horror movie.

The end of the movie was very special, I shed some tears. It's the kind of movie with an ending which you will remember for a few days after.

In conclusion, the movie was great and I strongly recommend it.
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9/10
mind blowing thriller
sarvesh77815 February 2015
One of the best horror movies, I've ever seen...just loved the performance of the kids and the bone chilling climax..which led me both into shock and tears..truly a horror masterpiece.The role of simon was especially wonderful..how cute that kid is! just loved the performance of Laura .the orphanage building and its location has a strange charm and spooky feel to it...This movie truly deserves to be made in English and other languages for an international audience.Also appreciable is the fast stroy line which keeps you on your toes and whodunit approach works really well. This movie truly deserves an academy award. Would like to congratulate the director and the cast for this outstanding feat.
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9/10
A Moving Tale of Loss In A Supernatural Fashion
ThatRegularGuy26 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I've never been a real fan of horror films, I've only liked the odd one now and then just to be frightened; but this film, this underrated gem, has made me value the genre even more whilst terrifying me not with cheap scares but with atmosphere, cinematography and lighting, and also leaving me with a tear in my eye upon its conclusion. Never has a horror film done that to me.

J.A. Bayona's The Orphanage (El Orfanato) was a Spanish horror film released back in 2007 to critical acclaim from both western and native audiences and critics, and personally I agree. The film maintains a slow pace whilst establishing the narrative and its setting, focusing on the eerie atmosphere the titular orphanage exhibits. The film relies wholly on its setting and subject matter to deliver its horror with only the odd jump scare here and there, and this worked extremely well. It was unnerving whenever Laura explores the orphanage, as the films excellent sound design and lighting made it a place of fear and horror.

SPOILER ALERT Although the narrative isn't wholly original, it is a perfect re-imagining of the classic ghost story; tying a narrative about loss and a mother's love with the presence of ghosts from the buildings past. It was only at the end of the film when I truly understood Laura's determination and love for Simon, being how she was willing to die in order to be reunited with her son after accidentally causing his death, that I became emotional towards the film. Given how she committed suicide to be with her son, and in turn take care of the ghost children upon learning of their horrific demise, I was surprisingly moved by this revelation so much that I was nearly drawn to tears. Never have I seen a horror film with a heart and moving ending such as this, and it has all the more encouraged me to explore the horror genre not with the intention of being scared but with being moved.

The acting was excellent, particularly that of Laura's portrayer, which aided the film in its goal of telling a moving story about a mother's love and loss in the form of a horror film. This film has me excited not only for JA Bayona as a filmmaker but for the horror genre becoming a means of exploring complex emotional issues that we humans endure in life. And for that I award this film 10 out of 10, or 5 out of 5, a must see foreign film for both true fans of the horror genre and film buffs.
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9/10
Elegantly composed and beautifully morose
brchthethird25 November 2014
THE ORPHANAGE, produced by Guillermo del Toro, is a clever, creepy and surprisingly poignant psychological horror film about parents' relationships to their children and the loss of a child. The story is about Laura, who grew up in an orphanage, but now has decided to return with her husband and adopted child, Simon, to run it as a home for disabled children. However, things begin to get a little weird when Simon starts to tell her about his imaginary friends who live inside the house. Then Simon goes missing, and Laura and her husband, Carlos, do everything in their power to find him.

Aside from the genuinely unnerving atmosphere created in the film, the performances from the cast were all outstanding. Even the child actor who played Simon did a great job at showing a range of emotions. Still, the film belongs to Laura and her heartbreaking performance is the film's emotional core. There were a number of scenes that reveal information in a subtle way that is never manipulative and only adds to depth of the film. Only in the last act does it really succumb to the usual jump scares and a score that leads you by the hand towards the conclusion it wants you to reach. Even still, the setup was strong enough that this didn't really bother me that much.

Also, even though the horror was mostly of a psychological nature, there were some other elements there that worked and one that I felt was unneeded. There was precious little gore, but what grisly images they did show served the story and were potent enough that they didn't need to linger on them for too long. There's also some haunted house tropes peppered throughout, which is understandable considering the setting. Still, it didn't exclusively rely on these which was admirable. The one thing I thought was unnecessary was a middle sequence in which Laura and Carlos seek out a medium to figure out what might have happened in the house a long time ago. Up until this point, everything was treated in a mostly realistic way, but this paranormal detour just didn't fit to me. It was well-done, but ultimately unneeded, in my opinion.

Overall, THE ORPHANAGE was an excellently done horror film with some good scares and a tragic undercurrent that might make you well up with tears. It certainly had that effect on me. The performances were excellent and the atmosphere is palpable throughout. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys psychological horror films, although you might want to be careful if you're a parent with children.
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8/10
A Sad And Haunting Tale
vincenttiggelman18 September 2014
My, what a beautiful film this is! Not a horror film, but a fiercely dramatic and mysterious thriller. The film has a gorgeous eerie atmosphere because of the Gothic setting, the desaturated tones and the creepy tale that unfolds it's mysteries slowly. Extra credits go to Belén Rueda who carries the movie with her fantastic acting and Fernando Velázquez for his excellent music that is by turns chilling and heart-felt. Don't expect shocks and gore. There is exactly 1 moment that startled me, but that doesn't matter at all. The film excels by the power of suggestion and atmosphere. Fans of "the Others" will love this film. If that one wasn't your cup of tea, look elsewhere.
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