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The Orphanage (2007)

July 29, 2009

9/10 Ghetto Adoption Agencies

I’m thoroughly convinced that if I had seen this movie when it was out in theaters that I probably would have crapped my pants in public. Not since the time someone called my house phone while I was watching The Ring for the first time have I been so completely terrified by such a good horror movie.

The Orphanage is about a woman, her husband, and her adopted son that return to live in the orphanage that the woman grew up in. One day the woman’s son goes missing during a party at their home and she spends the next eight months searching for him, all the while uncovering the dark past of the orphanage in the process.

You live in an abandoned orphanage. The whole dark past thing should pretty much be a given. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

I was trying to think of what other classic horror movies The Orphanage reminded me of while I was watching it, but after I while it all kind of blurred together. The Shining, The Devil’s Backbone, The Ring, The Others. The director, Juan Antonio Bayona, takes something from all of these movies and turns it into something all his own. It’s also just further proof of a tried and true formula for horror movies: creepy kids scare the shit out of people.

And it is so freakin’ great to be reminded that you don’t need blood, gore, or excessive special effects to make not only a truly frightening horror movie, but one that’s also very well made and very well told. It doesn’t rely on shock value, it’s not trying to gross you out, the scares aren’t cheap, and the characters aren’t stupid.

All these things are hard to come by in horror movies nowadays.

The story is fantastic, the acting is really good – especially from the son who goes missing – and even though there’s subtitles, you’ll hardly even notice ’em. The mess in your pants will take your mind off that anyway.

Look, I love horror movies, and even though I’m a total wuss when it comes to sitting through them, it’s not often that they really stick with me after the credits roll. But The Orphanage, man…I was tossing around in bed all last night just waiting for the closet door to open up and to see a kid with a sack on his head staring me in the face.

Needless to say, I am very tired as I write this review.

I don’t know what more I can say outside of The Orphanage is one of the best and most legitimately scary horror movies I’ve seen in ages. I’m recommending it to anyone and everyone that has the slightest interest in horror movies or is just looking for a good time.

Just don’t watch it alone. Not sure why I made the same mistake two nights in a row.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Smally permalink
    October 21, 2010 1:29 pm

    I just saw this last night with my husband and whew!!! What a friggin’ ride! Probably the creepiest, spookiest movie I have seen in a very long time. And I was bawling my eyes out at the end… getting choked up even now…

    I really need to get back to watching foreign films again…

    • October 21, 2010 1:36 pm

      AWESOME! I love talking about this movie and whenever someone brings up “What’s the scariest movie you’ve ever seen?”, I always bring this one up as a must-see. Man, this scared the SHIT out of me, so well done though, and that last scene with the mother bawling over the kid, her hand knotted into his hair, was a powerhouse. Way to check this out, more horror movies need to meet this standard.

  2. Smally permalink
    October 21, 2010 2:38 pm

    Agreed, sir, agreed! My husband is not a fan of subtitles (shame!) but once he saw the name Guillermo del Toro in the credits, he was along for the ride. I was excited too as Pan’s Labyrinth is one of my favorite movies of ALL time!

    And like you say in your review, I love that there wasn’t a lot of blood and gore since I’ve really gotten squeamish in my old age.

    The creepiest part for me was when Laura was playing the knocking on the wall game and the kids would get closer and closer… yeesh!

    I still can’t get that image of Laura cradling her son out of my mind. I love when movies affect me like this!

    Dang, gotta get back to work!

    • October 21, 2010 2:41 pm

      God, that knocking game…that was totally insane. Just seeing those kids silently creep closer and closer each time she turned around was NUTS. Great stuff. Need to see Pan’s Labyrinth again, wasn’t crazy about it the first time, was not prepared for that scene where the general bashes the dude’s face in with a flat end of a bottle until it’s mush. Will report back though.

  3. Jesse permalink
    November 22, 2010 6:24 pm

    This movie blew me away. A very creepy movie throughout and the ending (which was an emotional punch to the solar plexus) left me a blithering mess, crying for about 30 mins non stop with my wife, yes my wife having to console me.

    • November 23, 2010 12:43 pm

      Blew me away and choked me up, too. Equally horrifying and gutwrenching. Rare thing to find in any movie.

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