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Reviews & Ratings for
Orphan More at IMDbPro »

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290 out of 380 people found the following review useful:

Finally a GOOD HORROR FILM. Good film period.

9/10
Author: theboywhocouldfly from United States
25 July 2009

Finally, a horror film about adults. Adults with complex issues and children that act like children and not hyper precocious sex models. The reason to see this film isn't to find out the over advertised " Esther's secret" of the film (a MAJOR misstep in marketing. Too many people now enter the film trying to figure out the "secret" before they normally would have been surprised), but rather to see a well-acted (extremely well acted by Vera F.)slow-building suspense story with excellent direction and cinematography. John Ottman's score also serves the film well, without becoming overpowering in signaling this is a "creepy" film. The actress who plays Esther shows a skill in performance that makes one think we may actually have another Jodie Foster to keep an eye on. This film works because we LIKE the characters (Rob Zombie please take note!) and fear for them and their survival. Dark Castle's best film, and it gives one hope that the horror/suspense genre still can be presented with intelligence and depth. Hollywood take note: we don't want a xerox of this film, but we do want more films that share this films strenghts: good script, likable real characters, excellent acting and nice, tension building direction.

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287 out of 386 people found the following review useful:

Well Made, Well Acted, Surprisingly Great Horror-Thriller!

10/10
Author: lork625 from United States
22 July 2009

Orphan REALLY surprised me. I expected some stupid pg-13 movie that somehow got an R rating. That was not the case. Let me tell you, Orphan is very disturbing at parts, and pretty gruesome. The movie overall is excellent, has some great acting, an amazing script, and excellent execution. The movie really has a lot of suspense and the twist is pulled off very well and packs a big punch to the viewer.

The best thing the film has is the script. What Esther does to the family is brilliant. The movie also has several sub-plots that work very well in the movie and add some complexity to the whole thing. The sub-plots never feel like too much, because they are very subtly put in there.

Overall, if you are tired of bad horror films, and want to see a very intelligent and well made film, i would suggest this. Or if you just want to see a great movie see this! I was very surprised at how excellent this movie turned out, and everyone else will be too! Seriously, if you want great, check it out! 9.5/10

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190 out of 258 people found the following review useful:

Remarkably well-acted, darkly humorous, and effectively disturbing

9/10
Author: yfguitarist
22 July 2009

Dark, edgy, twisted, effective, clever, intense, and blackly comic - one of the best "evil child" films I've seen. It's brilliantly cast - Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard are top-notch as usual, but what really stood out where the natural performances director Jaume Collet- Serra was able to get from the child actors. Usually child actors are painful to watch, but 12- year-old Isabelle Fuhrman gives a terrifying, chilling performance that is worthy of praise. Aryana Engineer in her screen debut as the deaf little sister Max is adorable and almost steals the show in every scene. The stylish cinematography, editing, and sound are fantastic as well.

I saw Orphan at a packed advance screening and the audience had a blast. Collet-Serra knows how to pull the strings and engage the audience, as they were screaming and laughing at all the right moments. There are plenty of fun and playful tension-relieving scenes, and several cathartic moments when the audience erupted into cheers. When the credits rolled the audience even applauded.

The second showing I went to was just as receptive - the audience went nuts. They were collectively screaming, cheering, yelling at the screen, cringing, applauding, and enthusiastically welcoming the comic relief. One guy commented afterwards: "I never get scared by movies but that was the scariest movie I've ever seen." Audience participation for both screenings I went to were very high.

The film improves upon second viewing, with the knowledge of the twist. I was able to focus more on details and clues, and the anticipation of my favorite scenes made for a much more rewarding experience. It's even more chilling and cathartic the second time around.

It's far from perfect though - there are way too many predictable jump/false scares, with the soundtrack blaring to try to startle the viewer. The last part of the movie becomes a slasher flick replete with clichés and a one-liner. There is a talky scene where Esther reveals herself to her adoptive mother that is totally unneeded, as well as a crucial line regarding Danny, the older son, which really should've been cut. It's also a bit long at 2 hours - for an exploitative "B" movie this is unusual, although time is devoted to character development. Esther is multi-dimensional and even sympathetic at times - I would love to see a prequel based on her character.

Orphan is definitely not for kids - aside from the "anti-adoption" angle, there is plenty of dangerous imitable behavior. The violence committed by and toward children is shocking, realistic, and brutal. This is a ballsy film that throws kids into horrific ordeals.

It may be a "B" movie, but it's a damn good one that knows its audience. The basic idea is nothing new (except for the unexpected twist), but you knew that from the trailer and synopsis. If you were still interested or if you're a horror fan that is able to look past some clichés and logical jumps in exchange for horrific chills, you'll have a fun time. The phenomenal child performances alone are enough to recommend Orphan.

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185 out of 262 people found the following review useful:

Excellet Horror Thriller

10/10
Author: radchuck03 from United States
26 July 2009

I have not seen a decent horror film in a long time, but this one is definitely worth the money. Be sure to use the restrooms before the start of the movie, as it is very riveting and suspenseful. Except for one sex scene between the husband and wife, this film can be viewed by mature children accompanied by an adult. It is very well written, and well-balanced. Personally I found this film very entertaining, suspenseful, and the plot cleverly written. Without getting into too much detail and ruining it for everyone else, this movie is in a category in which the story could become true in the future. Isabel Furhman did a great job starring as an orphan adopted by a couple who was looking to fill a void in the family due to an earlier tragedy. Her ability to manipulate her siblings as well as her adoptive father, thoroughly frustrates the mother. As the movie progresses, her manipulative abilities become more apparent and deadly. This is a must-see movie and I said money well spent.

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139 out of 182 people found the following review useful:

One word - Impressive

8/10
Author: Craig McPherson from Montreal, Canada
25 July 2009

Every once in a while a film seems destined to slip under the radar either by poor promotion or a trailer that makes the viewer go "meh". Orphan is one of those flicks that, while benefiting from a decent studio push, simply didn't impart any compelling reason to check it out based on the trailer, which is too bad because this is actually one tight little thriller.

Directed by Spain's Jaume Collet-Serra (House of Wax), it tells the story of Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman), a 9-year old Russian orphan who is adopted by Kate and John Coleman (Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard) , a decision motivated in part by the stillborn birth of their third child.

An oddball from the start, Esther at first charms the Colemans with her personality, artistic flair, and independence, however it's apparent that there's more going on with Esther than meets the eye. She quickly forms a bond with Max (Aryana Engineer), the couple's deaf daughter, by learning sign language, but is resented by their son Daniel (Jimmy Bennett) who views her with contempt. All of which forms a basis for familial tension, further compounded by the skeletons of Kate's history of alcoholism and John's past infidelity.

Telling a surprisingly layered story that strays into uncomfortable territory given how it deals with children in peril, the shiniest gem in this entertaining nugget is that of Isabelle Fuhrman, upon whose performance the movie succeeds or fails. While acting is uniformly top notch throughout, Fuhrman spectacularly establishes herself as one of the most remarkable young talents currently working in cinema, and that's a statement not to be taken lightly. This 12-year-old, who had only one prior film credit on her resume, simply blazes her way across the screen in a performance that ranges from sweet to seductive to psychotic. This is her movie and she makes the most of it, and if she doesn't mature into one of Hollywood's premier stars, I'll be most surprised.

Orphan won't win any awards (despite Fuhrman's impressive performance) and might well get passed over by many based on the trailer, all of which is too bad because this is one stray that movie audiences would do well to adopt.

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130 out of 187 people found the following review useful:

Esther is one bad Mother F!

7/10
Author: A_Random_Guy_22 from United Kingdom
24 July 2009

We've seen Orphan many times before (The Bad Seed, The Good Son and, of course, The Omen), yet, somehow, Jaume Collet Serra manages to squeeze something fresh out of an old tale.

There's plenty of shocks and also some laughs and Esther's "secret" is, surprisingly, original.

Orphan doesn't hold a candle to the aforementioned films, but its better than the more recent ones like Joshua (which, coincidentally, Vera Farmiga also starred in, as well as having the same role (mother)).

Don't let the trailer fool you into thinking this is just another "evil kid" movie. Its really much more than that. This is definitely one of the better horror films to come along these days.

My audience loved it, and so did I.

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102 out of 144 people found the following review useful:

Simply A Good Thriller

8/10
Author: wandeljw from Chicago, Illinois
24 July 2009

I had been reading a lot about this film. Internet rumors made "Orphan" sound depraved. Advocacy groups protested that the film is offensive to adoption. "Orphan" is neither depraved nor offensive if you watch it as a thriller.

The plot development and character development are on the same level as most Hitchcock films. Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard are excellent as the parents. The three child actors also do a good job. Expert direction by Jaume Collet-Serra and first-rate production values also make this film worth seeing.

"Orphan" is not a film where you can take your children. However, it is a decent film if you approach it as a thriller.

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109 out of 160 people found the following review useful:

9 stars because I can not give it 8.5!

9/10
Author: yourwarmembrace from United States
26 July 2009

Anyone expecting a horror film will most likely give this a 5 star rating or below. All others will be thoroughly entertained. Orphan is an INTENSE drama... full of surprises and a bit of suspense.. would have been more suspenseful for me if I had not gathered story details beforehand. Even knowing the score, I give it high marks as its execution is brilliant. The acting is flawless on all parts and I would not at all be surprised if this one picked up an award or three. Finally! Some character development! Finally! A story! Even with the darker bits of the script omitted from the film, this was a good thrill-ride. Think DRAMA and you will be pleased. There's something wrong with Esther... Haha, an understatement to say the least. Great tagline!

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96 out of 152 people found the following review useful:

Significantly Thrilling and Outstandingly Portrayed

9/10
Author: lamar908 from United States
25 July 2009

Orphan, the name says very little for what you get to see in the movie. I watched great horrors/thrillers, this movie with mild brutality and refreshingly thrill creates a great impression on audience pulses. Esther, especially, acted terrific in portraying psychotic behavior and the screenplay was just perfect to make it a picture perfect.

Be it, the twists introduced in the plot in the later half of the movie or the realistic resemblance of the whole plot, the movie is worth your buck on the big screen. Though the movie was 2hr long, it was a clever move by the director to inject some meaningful comedy into the movie so as to maintain the attention of the audience. An interesting point to note is that audience laughed quite a bit for almost 60% of the movie and then were shocked as the plot took twists and turns. This combination of humor along with shock is what makes this movie a brilliant thriller.

All in all the movie was successful in grabbing my attention, believing in such offbeat concepts and lastly giving the worth of my money. Hope you all go watch this terrific movie and feel the heat inside the Air-Conditioned Theaters. My rating for this movie 7.5/10

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85 out of 134 people found the following review useful:

Overall very indulging, and well done thriller.

8/10
Author: Moviefreak4653 from United States
24 July 2009

"Orphan" was a movie that truly did surprised me. I mean I came into this movie honestly not having any idea which direction it would take me, I mean sure it looked good, but then again the 30 second previews made it seem a bit mediocre. When the movie went off I was very pleased by what I had seen. The things I love most about Orphan is how they present and introduce these characters so well. The minute I saw the main couple I couldn't help but take a liking to them, and Esther who very easily steals the show, is incredibly likable. As a matter of fact the thing I do love a lot about the film is how they take their time in the story, I loved how for the first half or so you see Esther adapting to her new surroundings, and I became extremely indulged into this. I also think they balanced out the character of Esther well. I mean this performance, and character, could have easily been portrayed as this over-the-top, annoying, non-intimidating, and non-believable character, but not once do you ever feel that. Also it is very entertaining, and you're hooked from the moment you see this little girl Esther. It was also clever at times, to where you feel a sense of danger as far as the story goes because it's literally like anything can happen. Even if does begin to make you mad for whatever reason, you still can't help but keep watching and wondering. At times it may feel predictable, but they've already presented these characters so well, that you can't but feel that maybe you haven't predicted it. I will say I wished "Orphan" HAD paced itself a little better, I mean they don't immediately jump into the story, but when they do it feels rushed and as if they fear the audience won't care about the characters, when it's not true. Also towards the end the characters start to lose liking, so much so that I couldn't help but look at these characters(in particular the mom and dad) and say "Who are you, and why are you being such an unlikable stereotype!" As a result of the characters acting stupid and stereotypical at this point in the film it just became predictable to an extent where you knew what was going to happen. Last you know I don't know how I felt about the twist, it was done well enough to where it would fit the storyline, but I feel it defeats the shocking, brutal, and thrilling nature of the film. Anyways, overall "Orphan" is one of the better thrillers you'll probably see this year, and even if you're not too big on these kind of films, I still recommend "Orphan"

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