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Stylish, unique and intense
rivertam263 March 2020
You either love it or you hate it. That's really the effect of any great twist. I was one of those who absolutely loved it and found this creepy, disturbing movie even more terrifying with the reveal. Vera Farmiga (Conjuring) stars as a mother whose just gone through a miscarriage and with her husband played by Peter Sarsgaard (Skeleton Key) decides to adopt a mysterious young girl played by a very creepy Isabel Fuhrman (Hunger Games). At first Esther seems a little off but it's mostly acceptable until people begin having horrific accidents and some go missing. There is a palpable sense of dread that builds throughout the film and so many setpieces are expertly executed. The scene in the playground is an especially effective one. The film culminates in a surprising and edge of your seat fashion and all though there's a small loop hole here and there. Its completely successful at being a stylish, unique, intense piece of genre.

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I enjoyed much of this but there were a few silly moments
christopher-underwood8 February 2020
I enjoyed much of this but there were a few silly moments and I feel if the film had been cut down to 90 minutes we could have got rid of those embarrasing bits and made the whole ting tighter. The acting is fine, especially the two girls and that of Isabelle Fuhrman, who at times seems to be carrying the film, is remarkable. Inevitably, perhaps there are unfortunately those times, as in 'gas lighting' films where we sit frustrated urging those on screen to notice the obvious to no avail and then on we go as everything gets more and more embroiled.
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One word - Impressive
Craig_McPherson25 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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It's a Hard Knock Life...
Xstal29 August 2022
You've decided to adopt, now the pain's begun to stop, after traumas of the past, have resided at long last, like to increase two to three, making five in this family, there's an orphanage that has one, what could possibly go wrong. Esther makes a perfect fit, extremely charming: we shall commit; welcome her to our abode, open doors to a new road, but soon troubles bubbling, and events are troubling, as you sense there's something wrong, with this girl who's quite headstrong...

A perfectly executed escalating thriller, whose vice like grip will keep your hands upon the tiller, a few twists as you'd expect, there's no gruel I could detect, gets you thinking what you'd do, if these things happened to you.
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Remarkably well-acted, darkly humorous, and effectively disturbing
yfguitarist22 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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Creepy,twisted yet enough to blow your mind
Misss2526 February 2022
Back then when I watched it, I didn't have imdb account. So,I coundn't review it then. But,this is my fav of all time. After watching this, I suffered for movie block for long :) I coundn't just get over the thrill of this movie. And the most amazing part is, it's based on true story. It's really blew me off xD.
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Finally a GOOD HORROR FILM. Good film period.
theboywhocouldfly25 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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Good creepy girl
SnoopyStyle1 April 2014
Kate (Vera Farmiga) and John Coleman (Peter Sarsgaard) are trying to adopt. She's a recovering alcoholic and they're trying to salvage their family after the death of their baby Jessica. They adopt Russian girl Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) at the St. Marina Orphanage. At first, the son Daniel (Jimmy Bennett) didn't get along while the deaf daughter Max (Aryana Engineer) loves her. Then Esther's manipulations and threats causes concerns from Kate. John dismisses all of it. The psychologist Dr. Browning (Margo Martindale) keeps questioning her. Then Kate finds out troubling information about Esther.

This starts very slowly. The psycho family dysfunction is well done although John's denial is very annoying. It is extremely frustrating and I wish the movie dials it down a bit. I do love the twist. It fits the movie very well, and it's done smoothly. Isabelle Fuhrman does the role beautifully, and Vera Farmiga is great as the frazzled mother.
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Esther is one bad Mother F!
A_Random_Guy_2224 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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A little too long, but very creepy!...
ajs-1030 May 2011
I didn't know much about this film before seeing it, but the write-up did intrigue me slightly so I thought I'd give it a go. It's a little too long for my liking, but quite well made if a little cliché in places. I guess I should have done a little more research, but then again I have uncovered the odd 'gem' this way in the past. But I digress; let's have a look at what Orphan is all about.

Kate and John Coleman have just lost their baby, a daughter they were going to call Jessica. She was dead at birth. Needing something to fill the void, they decide to adopt. By the way, they already have two children, a boy, Daniel, and a girl, Max, who is partially deaf and uses sign language to communicate. The family are comfortably off and live in a big house in the countryside. Visiting an orphanage, John meets a nine year old girl called Esther. She is originally from Russia and is delightful. He convinces Kate that she's the one and they bring her home a few weeks later. Unfortunately Esther is not what she seems and the Coleman's are in for a very bumpy ride as she sets about her plan for them. I'm not going to say any more on the plot, I believe that should be enough to intrigue you.

Although it was very well made I did have a bit of a problem sympathising with the Coleman's. It seems they have everything going for them in terms of lifestyle, job, financial security etc., but somehow that isn't enough for them. It's not as if their characters come over as particularly nurturing either, Kate a recovering alcoholic and John has been known to have a roving eye in the past. But if you can get past all that there's a pretty creepy story behind it all.

Decent performances all round, particularly from; Vera Farmiga as Kate, Peter Sarsgaard as John and especially from Isabelle Fuhrman as Esther, she was particularly creepy. Also worth a mention were; CCH Pounder as Sister Abigail, Jimmy Bennett as Daniel and Aryana Engineer as Max.

Putting aside my incomprehension of the reasons for the Coleman's wanting to adopt, I did find the film quite disturbing. Esther particularly so, the way she manipulates situations and how she's always listening in is quite unnerving. As I said at the beginning, it is a little cliché in places and it is way too long but over all quite a sinister tale (glad I watched it in daylight!). Finally a mention for the guys who do the opening and closing credits, very cleverly done IMO, nice work. I guess over all it's recommended, but only just.

My Score: 6.1/10
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A chilling tale with a memorable performance by the kid
GirishGowda3 April 2010
An American couple in their 30s, who can't get over the tragedy of losing their third child, go ahead & adopt a nine-year old Russian girl, Esther to make up for the void in their lives. In all outward appearances, Esther is a silent, well behaved, responsible, kind & sweet & pretty much the kind of child you would like to have in your life.

This is one of the very best 'evil child' films I have seen. Isabelle Fuhrman, who plays Esther, is brilliant with her malevolent characterization as is Aryana Engineer who plays the part of Maxiene. Kate and John Coleman (Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard) have given a high calibre performance here. Daniel (Jimmy Bennet) plays their son.

Let me be clear, I thought this was going to be a ghost horror film. I never saw that coming. It was a complete shock to me. I haven't been that scared or shocked in quite a while, so this film completely delivers in all aspects. The layers of the story is peeled one by one as the story unfolds by director Jaume Collet-Serra. Although everybody's performances were very good, none stands out long after you have watched this, except Isabelle Fuhrman. This girl delivers a powerhouse performance that will have you scared for quite a while. The other actors only feel like props in front of this girl's brilliance. Aryana who plays the deaf child, Maxiene is also brilliant. The anti-adoption feeling this movie gives you after you have watched it is the only drawback, & it shows it delivers where it wanted to..:) Of course, without all the drama, it wouldn't have impacted this much, so don't watch this expecting a bloodfest. This is a thriller which delivers horror.

Watch it, you definitely won't regret it. This is truly a gift to the horror genre.


-Girish, 20
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aqos-12 August 2009
Finally, a movie that is good enough to see over and over!! This was an exceptional movie and the girl that played Ester is bound for greatness if she performs this well at such a young age. This is also a very original story line. I thought it would be the typical "unloved child tries to win all the love" movie, but it well surpassed that. The opening scene in the movie was convincingly acted. I felt real emotional pain for the mother. Of course, this movie is about a family that adopts a child named Ester. She seemingly wants all of the attention, but goes about getting it in ways that leave someone else looking like they, not her, have done something wrong in this. When the mom feels like something could be wrong, she tries to trace Ester's biology back to Russia so she can find out more about where Ester originated and the influences she had before she came to America. One of the children in the story, Max, is a deaf child. Max is an adorable little girl. Ester uses Max and the fact that she is deaf to her advantage. You don't see the end of the movie coming. It is a huge plot twist. I would call this movie a must see.
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Simply A Good Thriller
wandeljw24 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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Well Made, Well Acted, Surprisingly Great Horror-Thriller!
lork62522 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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There's something wrong with Orphan
hall89529 January 2010
Yes, as the movie's tagline states, there most certainly is something wrong with Esther. Unfortunately there's something wrong with the movie too. It's a movie which starts out with some real promise but as the story plods along that early promise never really pays itself off. The movie checks in at a clearly excessive 123 minutes, the story simply can't sustain itself over that length of time. Oftentimes the movie has a very formulaic feel to it, there's the sense we've seen this all done before. And we've probably seen it done a lot better. By the time we finally get to the shocking conclusion we just may not be that interested anymore. And the big shock really doesn't work either if you actually spend a moment thinking about it. The whole movie is based on a foundation which is not particularly plausible. Suspended disbelief works to a point I guess but honestly this movie asks us to believe things which quite simply could not happen.

The best thing this movie has to offer is the performance of the young actress playing our deeply troubled Esther. Isabelle Fuhrman turns in a wildly impressive, appropriately sinister and almost impossibly mature performance. This is a young actress who almost certainly has great things in her future. Unfortunately much of what surrounds her doesn't work. It's a story about an evil little child who is clearly not what she initially appears to be. What is she exactly? Well that's the revelation we save for the big shock at the end. But this movie spends way too much time getting to its big finish. And again the big revelation really does not stand up to even the most cursory of examinations. But it's just a cheap little horror film so maybe if we don't think about it too much...nah, the movie still doesn't work. Even if you ignore the story's ultimate implausibility the movie still has too many other flaws. It's way too long. There are entirely too many of those standard horror movie false scares and not enough real ones. One of the key characters, Esther's adopted father, comes off as being quite a dunce. Horror movies rely on tension, this movie's tension fizzles out long before the movie finally slogs to an end. By the time the movie's halfway done you're just looking for it to be over. Full marks to young Isabelle Fuhrman for creating a creepy, memorable character. But one good character does not necessarily make a good movie.
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Overall very indulging, and well done thriller.
Moviefreak465324 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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Rhoda Penmark, hang your head in shame.
pekinman31 October 2009
It's Halloween, a night that I have, traditionally for the past 20 years, set aside to watch the latest scary flick. This year's selection was Jaume Collet-Serra's film 'Orphan'.

All those cute little tikes were outside dressed like Princesses at the 4-H children's' beauty contest, their parents tailing them like hawks, with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths; the perfect setting to scare the pants off me as this brilliant psychological thriller unfolded before my ever widening eyeballs.

Esther, oh, Esther Esther Esther... I can't possibly reveal anything that happens in this film. This is one of the most spectacular screenplays I've watched in ages, written by David Leslie Johnson based on a story by Alex Mace. This should be a prime contender for best screenplay in 2010. It is gripping from start to finish.

It begins quietly with the beguiling Esther being adopted by an upscale couple who've had their share of tribulations with children. These are average, successful Americans we're talking about here, bringing this hair-raising story very close to home for millions of viewers who have the guts to see it. Little moments of seemingly insignificant tension and release take place but build cumulatively until, at about 80 minutes into watching it, I had to put the thing on pause so I could blink and walk around the house to see if the doors were locked against those dreadful trick-or-treating beasts and that the back light was on for the night, something I never bother with, normally.

Make no mistake, this is one bloody, ruthless film and Esther is one scary little bitch. She's cute as a spooky cat, until she begins her little tricks. I began to dread what was coming when about 40 minutes into the film Esther says f**k in such a way as to cause my hair to stand on end. We hear kids say that word all the time, trying to show off and sound tough. Not Esther. She just says it and it is like a nuclear blast to the senses.

The ending, the one used in the final cut, is harrowing, following a climactic twist in the story that is truly shocking.

The actors are excellent. Peter Sarsgaard is his usual laid-back persona and a bit one dimensional, but it suits this smug, rather weak character whose mother, Gramma, on the evidence of her personality here, is a classic monstre sacré, adding speculative dimensions to the highly charged sexual undertone of the entire film.

If Vera Farmiga doesn't win best actress for her role as his wife there is no justice or fairness in Hollywood. She is magnificent as the adoptive mother. And she is a fine pianist as well.

Her two natural children, Max, her deaf little girl, and Daniel her pre-teen son, are played with a naturalism and surety that can't be taught in any method acting class. The young actors are Aryana Enginner and Jimmy Bennett.

But even more astounding is the performance by Isabelle Fuhrman as the eponymous 'heroine' Esther. To describe the range of her performance would cause me to include a spoiler, or at least a too close to the bone hint that might ruin this film for those who haven't seen it yet.

She, too, would be a close contender to Vera Farmiga as best actress in 2010. A great great cast! The music is minimalist but perfect for this tense story. The cinematography is wholly naturalistic, the most high-tech aspect of the film being the use of black lites in Esther's bedroom. There is none of the over-used CGI or any of those tiresome tricks that are so prevalent in the junk coming out of Hollywood these days. 'Orphan' is a straight-ahead horror flick like 'Night of the Living Dead' only it has no fantasy elements in it at all. And like all great horror flicks the viewer has sympathy for the tragedy of the 'monster'. And Esther's life is a tragedy in spite of everything.

I expect the Academy of Motion Sickness Pictures will ignore this masterpiece because it probably didn't make enough money, but I predict the DVD will sell millions as the years pass and the perfection of this classic film is recognized by more and more people.

'Orphan' is definitely for adults only. There is no nudity and the 'bad' words are not really offensive in any vulgar or pornographic sense, and the bloody bits are not sickening or over-abundant, but it's far too intense for pre-teens.

I keep calling 'Orphan' a horror but it isn't. It's a very disturbing and complex psychological thriller. Hitchcock would probably have been proud to have made this film. It's almost as good as 'Psycho'. I don't think 'Orphan' is a 'B' movie at all. If it is then so is all of Hitchock's output.
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I'm gonna be traumatized by little girls now
aryanjigupta14 February 2021
I found it hard just to finish this movie considering how disturbing it was especially if you already find little kids a bit annoying
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Excellet Horror Thriller
radchuck0326 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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Wonderful Thriller
briandwillis-8382526 October 2020
A sleazier than usual studio thriller about a wicked child who slices, dices, and manipulates her way through a new foster family. Performances are better than average for a film of this sort and, at over 2 hours, it never overstays its welcome and it takes a lot of risks.
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Bravo !
jack_o_hasanov_imdb28 August 2021
Wow I wasn't expecting such a twist.

It was a very good movie, I liked it. Isabelle did a great job. Well done!
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Well I suppose no reviews needed at all.
shovon-128 September 2019
Well I suppose no reviews needed at all. why I say this is because, it has happened just a few days back in the year 2019 .

This movie came out in 2009, the reality event happens 10 years after ...I guess I need to change my review score of 8 to a perfect 10. and Yes... I am flabbergasted !
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Terrific, scary and intense!!
sriramthestranger9 September 2021
This is one of the best movie with psychopath characters as protagonist. The narration is intense and there are superb moments to keep you hooked throughout the movie. The character journey of 'Esther' and her impact on the family is written well. One of best watch for scary movie lovers.
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A different kind of horror movie
napierslogs10 July 2010
I don't like horror films, but "Orphan" was different. It was written well enough to be able to hold my sense of disbelief and keep me suspensed.

In this horror film we actually have characters. Kate (Vera Farmiga) and John (Peter Sarsgaard) have two kids, Daniel and Max, and they all have back-stories that are significant to the film, and they each struggle with who they are and how to grow as individuals and as a family. Then they adopt Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman). All we know is that there's something wrong with Esther.

Esther greatly disrupts the family's life - with a lot of violence and psychosis. Don't forget this is a horror film. Although that is easy to forget because the plot is driven by characters - perhaps a first for this genre? The characters are integral to a story that was so well researched that it's actually legit. That fact probably makes it even scarier.

Even if you don't watch horror films, you could start with "Orphan".
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Enough with the false scares already!
flightsuit18 October 2009
I'm about two thirds of the way through watching this film, and I must say it's really annoying me how the director constantly relies on the technique of using scary music and odd camera angles to build false tension. Then, just when you think something really scary is going to happen, it turns out to be a false alarm.

There's a word for this cinematic technique, I forget what it is. Regardless, it's a cheap substitute for using actual story elements to build real tension, and this movie has used up all of my good will by relying on it every couple of minutes.

I'm going to watch the rest right now, and something really spectacular will need to happen in order for me to feel good about having watched.
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