The Orphanage review by The Grim Ringler

The Orphanage On the far, far side of the spectrum to some of the utter crap I have been watching of late is an utterly creepy haunted house film that really shows that the Spanish are far ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to creating movies about ghost. Appreciating the art of atmosphere and mood, this is a standout thriller that deserves to be seen.

A family of three moves into a vast old orphanage in the hopes of using the space as a home for themselves and several developmentally and physically disabled children. The former orphanage was once home to the mother who now wants to help other children make the place home as well. When the young son begins talking about his invisible friends the mother and father don’t think much of it but when the boy starts speaking of these friends as if they are around him all the time and playing games with him, the mother gets worried. Things become more complicated when the boy finds out (supposedly from the other children) that he is adopted and has a life threatening disease. The tension in the house over these unseen friends begins to mount and comes to a head when the son disappears on the very day the disabled children and their families arrive to see how they like the home. As the mother and father are seeing to their guests their son disappears without a trace and is no where to be found in the house, on the grounds surrounding the home, or anywhere. He has vanished. Days turn to weeks turn to months and there is still no sign of the boy and with every day the sadness of the loss of her son sends the mother into a tailspin of depression. Hope comes in the form of a paranormal group and a psychic who believes she has found the friends the son had referred to, these friends being dead children that now haunted the former orphanage. When the psychic is shooed off by the woman’s husband, she takes it upon herself to contact them in the hope that they know where her son is. As her sadness turns to obsession, it becomes apparent that to find her son, she will have to play a game with the dead children, a dangerous game that may cost more than it may reward.

This is such a beautiful, sad film, and it really typifies why these sorts of ghost stories are the kind that really stick with you well after you have seen it. With beautiful, gothic sets, and a very good cast, the table was set for a special film and with sound direction that was certainly the case. The great thing about the film is that it doesn’t force the ghost element on you, slowly building it, moment by moment until, when things are finally revealed, it has more weight and terror. There is a bit of deception here, as well, as to what is going on, and that addition of mystery reminded me a lot of THE OTHERS, and that’s about as good a compliment as I can offer. While not as good as DEL TORO’s THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE, this is a wonderful film, and a very good ghost story. There are moments that push the boundaries of believability but there is so much good here that these are things that can be forgotten in the face of such a chilling story.


8 out of 10 Jackasses
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