Orphan is a 2009 psychological horror film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and was written by David Leslie Johnson from a story by Alex Mace. The film stars Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman, Aryana Engineer and Jimmy Bennett. The plot centers around a family where Kate (Vera Farmiga) is grieving the loss of her third child who was stillbirth and to fill that void of emptiness in her heart, she and her husband decide to adopt bright and charming 9-year old Esther from an orphanage.
At first, things seem perfect for the family. Their youngest daughter embraces her new sister and welcomes her warmly but their 12-year old son is not too keen to accept her just yet. Through a few unnerving events, Kate starts to suspect that Esther may know too much for a girl her age. Esther also kills an injured pigeon and hurts a classmate at the park which further deepens Kate’s mistrust for her. Her husband on the other hand, John (Peter Sarsgaard) is understanding of his wife’s feelings at first but throughout the movie, he fails to see Esther’s destructive actions and horrifying nature and even thinks his wife could be mental.
This is not an uncommon trope for a horror movie, where the hero or heroine is the one that has these assumptions and beliefs about this one person that even to us, are definitely real and true but the people around her believe that she is crazy and should be shipped off to an insane asylum. It is not until towards nearing the end of the movie, that we see Esther’s true motives and the movie starts moving to its climax and ending.
The movie is good and there is a lot of unsettling moments thanks to Isabelle Fuhrman’s creepy portrayal of Esther, who despite her smiles and cheerful personality at the start of the movie still manages to give off hints of something dark in her personality that always manages to unsettle me. However, given the amazing plot that they have, I feel like the movie could have benefitted from adding a few more extra frightening scenes and was a bit more swiftly paced, it wouldn’t feel kind of slow and boring for certain scenes. With such a unique intricate plot, the execution was quite safe and lackluster and definitely needed more oomph.
Overall, the movie is good. It has tons of tension-filled scenes and was quite memorable to me as a horror movie. The cast of the movie did a great job and portrayed their roles well. The movie does have a lot of cliche tropes, but it should definitely be watched for Isabelle Fuhrman’s and Vera Farmiga’s brilliant acting.
Rating : 6/10