We all know there is something wrong with Esther -- the pervasive ad
campaign for Orphan has made sure of that. Evil children movies are
about providing a flimsy excuse for children to behave badly. And in
this case, very badly -- bashing-a-nun's-head-in-with-a-hammer badly.
That's a spoiler but only from the halfway mark of the movie -- Esther
gets gruesome quick, there's no waiting for the dramatic end scene for
violence, manipulation, paranoia, and an Electra complex to show up.
Nevermind a few plotholes along the way and inexplicable logic in some
characters' behavior. Instead just kick back and enjoy Peter
Sarsgaard's contract which appears to guarantee every film this
beautiful man does involves nudity and sex scenes and I'm not at all mad
about that. Those moments of skin are the most enjoyable ones for the
audience, the rest of the time is filled to the nauseous gills with
anxiety and dread. I don't mind a
gag-inducing horror film, but Orphan is a bit mean and relentless,
so when I left the theater, I only wanted to hurry home to shower it
off and hide under the covers from the world.
This movie doesn't top
the classic The Bad Seed, but it's certainly better than that Macauley
Culkin attempt from the early 90s, The Good Son (as well as an
improvement on director Jaume Collet-Serra's previous attempt at a
horror movie, the nearly unwatchable House of Wax). Ignore the
critics who are all claiming this twist at the end is better than The
Sixth Sense -- this brutal fluff isn't THAT mind-blowing, but more on
par with a sweeps week episode of CSI or Medium. It will, however,
help you swallow the whole premise without completely decimating your
own desire to adopt children, and send you home with a few good
-- RAYMOND JOHNSON
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