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Massawyrm Becomes A Total Sissy For THE ORPHANAGE!!


Hola all. Massawyrm here. Look, there's just no other way to say this – so I'm just gonna come right out and say it. I saw The Orphanage (El Orfanato) tonight. And it made me cry like a little bitch. I'm not talking about some masculine tear up in which I felt the tingles but fought it back, either. No. These were bitch tears. I went all sissy for this film. And you know what? I don't care who knows. This movie rocked me, scared me then pulled out pictures of my mom and showed them to me. And I wept. Don't laugh. You might too. The Orphanage is a creepy little masterpiece from Spanish first timer Juan Antonio Bayona that may, at first glance, share an awful lot in common with an earlier work by the film's producer Guillermo del Toro. But it is only at first glance that these similarities last. It is a Spanish horror film, set in an old orphanage that may or may not be haunted. You know, kind of like The Devils Backbone. But the similarities truly end there. This film goes off in a completely different direction than del Toro's, and don't tell Guillermo I said this, but I think it is far superior. Don't get me wrong, I love The Devil's Backbone. But this isn't just a great horror film. This is something magical. What we have here is closer to classic, early Spielberg than del Toro. In fact, I'd put it on par with the best of Spielberg's horror. This isn't simply another up and comer aping on his producers horror work akin to other finds. This is a brand new exciting voice telling a magnificently touching and ultimately heartbreaking tale. Sure this is a horror movie, and there are some serious creep outs, some moody imagery and a couple of really solid scares. But at its heart this is really a tragedy. It is the antithesis of everything going on in J-Horror these days. It is a story entirely unafraid to allow you to feel, weep and ultimately hope for the denizens of the orphanage in question – living or not so living. This is a story more about elegance in mood rather than exercise. Everything that is creepy SHOULD be creepy, everything that is heartfelt SHOULD be heartfelt. And they never attempt to trick or manipulate you otherwise. The story is exactly as it should be. And what takes this to a whole 'nother level is that this isn't a movie about complete innocents – but rather very flawed, very real people. And some extraordinarily, if not understandably, villainous ones to boot. While the story is simple, the emotional resonance is complicated, given an amazing level of complexity the likes of which we're rarely treated to in American cinema. This isn't just simple horror. This is one of the best-conceived, most perfectly executed films of the year. There isn't an unimportant part of this film, not a single cheap scare, nor anything truly resembling the other entries into the haunted house ethos. This is its own beast, a truly wonderful tale that hits all the right notes that you hope to hear in a tale like this, coupled with a story that is unlike what you are expecting. It is beautiful, moody and perfectly paced. It is not the scariest film you'll see this year, nor is it the bloodiest. It won't make audiences squirm for minutes on end, nor will it have the people lined up for blocks to see it. But it is probably the single greatest horror film you will see all year. It gets everything right and has a little bit of everything to share. If you're the type of person who misses the days of haunted house stories that were all about telling stories, creating legends and crafting a truly horrific, tragic location in which to set your horror, then rejoice. This is a return to that kind of film. The Orphanage is the film Steven Spielberg should have made for us when we were young. Instead, Juan Antonio Bayona and screenwriter Sergio Sanchez have made it for us now. And it was totally worth the wait. I can't think of a person on the planet I wouldn't Highly Recommend this to. If I see a better horror film this year I'm gonna do backflips. Honestly, when was the last time you heard that a grown ass man cried at a horror movie? And he wasn't alone. Really. This is that good. Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. Massawyrm
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Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 27, 2007, 8:53 a.m. CST

    First fuckers

    by Vamp-AICNchat

    Yay

  • Sept. 27, 2007, 8:53 a.m. CST

    keen

    by smorgasbord

    sounds good. first?

  • Sept. 27, 2007, 8:53 a.m. CST

    soooo close

    by smorgasbord

    oh well

  • Sept. 27, 2007, 8:58 a.m. CST

    Oh.

    by Khrono

    Cool.

  • Sept. 27, 2007, 8:59 a.m. CST

    Nice Review Massa

    by RipVanMarlowe

    Can't wait for this one

  • Sept. 27, 2007, 9:14 a.m. CST

    Will check it out

    by BigFo

    and boy do I feel closer to Massa right now. Thanx for sharing.

  • Sept. 27, 2007, 9:17 a.m. CST

    Massa's reviews are the BESTEST!!

    by cornponious

    And I'm not geigh.

  • Sept. 27, 2007, 9:24 a.m. CST

    Other than a ghost story in an orphanage, in Spanish...

    by biggles2_22

    ...it's totally different than Devil's Backbone. Funny stuff.

  • Sept. 27, 2007, 9:37 a.m. CST

    Yeah, Massa has really become a solid reviewer

    by Spandau Belly

    Massa's craft has been steadily improving and for the past couple months he's been the best reviewer on this site. I'm not sure what happened to Mori, I guess he's busy with his kid and his script writing and stuff so he can't really write here much anymore. But Massa has sorta risen to the occasion and become the site's strongest reviewer. <br><br>I really miss that DVD column Mori used to do. Harry picked it up for awhile and did an okay job, but he's now all busy with marriage and watching Goldfinger at Fort Knox and endorsing Blu-Ray and other pub stunts. Vern occasionally reviews single DVD releases, and he is really thorough, and I appreciate that, but I miss the broad overview of the upcoming month's DVDs.<br><br>In conclusion, keep up the good work Massa, and somebody bring back the DVD column. And please make it about real regular DVDs, not upcoming Blu-Ray, Redd-Ray, HD-DVD, Betamax lazerdisc releases.

  • Sept. 27, 2007, 10:36 a.m. CST

    See it and know who to believe

    by artsnob

    What I said about it from TIFF a couple of weeks ago (and there was only polite applause at the end ... nothing approaching "appreciative" or "enthusiastic"): Distributor Picturehouse Films is attempting to milk the name of producer Guillermo Del Toro for all it’s worth with this film, suggesting that it’s the completion of a horror trilogy. If they’ve succeeded in getting you to look forward to it with Devil’s Backbone/Pan’s Labyrinth expectations, I suggest that you dial these expectations down considerably. The festival guide uses expressions like “rather chilling,” “frequently quite scary” and “not for the faint of heart” to describe it, but in truth it’s WAY lighter than the two del Toro-directed movies. The production values are OK, but it’s strictly for the PG-13 “BOO!” horror crowd. Towards the end, it even evoked the movie adjective I most loathe: “Disney-esque.”

  • Sept. 27, 2007, 10:57 a.m. CST

    The film Spielberg "should have" given us as kids?

    by Atticus Finch

    You mean other than "Jaws", "Raiders", "Close Encounters", "ET", and "Poltergeist"? Those aren't good enough, you ungrateful s.o.b.?

  • Sept. 27, 2007, 11:41 a.m. CST

    Artsnob

    by AugustusGloop

    You're being terribly harsh. This is one of the best reviews I think Massa has ever done, and I agree 99% with everything he says (except the Spielberg thing). It IS worthy of PG-13, except for one particularly gory shot that would need to be removed. But that's why I like this more than Guillermo's stuff. The "BOO"s in this really do make you jump, and the whole thing twists the emotions in a way that bloodier movies can't manage. We're too sensitized to violent, gory images, and a film that can successfully provoke a reaction from viewers without resorting to the ick factor is a rare treat.

  • Sept. 27, 2007, 11:44 a.m. CST

    artsnob echoes a lot of the comments I heard

    by Garbageman33

    From my fellow festivalgoers up North. It seems like the kind of film critics love, but the unwashed masses really don't respond to. And if Devil's Backbone is the best comparison, I think I can wait for DVD.

  • Sept. 27, 2007, 4:18 p.m. CST

    Nice one Massa

    by FILMFUNK

    I will hunt this out or down or whatever!<P>Keep that avatar too It's Peyfick!

  • Sept. 27, 2007, 6:10 p.m. CST

    How many actual horror movies has Spielberg directed?

    by Film Whisperer

    I won't start the WHO DIRECTED POLTERGEIST argument again, but has Spielberg actually made a horror movie? He did a TV movie called SOMETHING EVIL back in the day, but JAWS is arguably closer to an adventure movie than a horror film. I mean, THE TERMINAL was horrific, but I think that's not the same thing.

  • Sept. 27, 2007, 7:59 p.m. CST

    AI...That was Spielberg...

    by micturatingbenjamin

    Wait...Did you say 'horror'? I thought you said 'horrible'.

  • Sept. 27, 2007, 11:26 p.m. CST

    I don't know...

    by wampa 1

    ...but it sure smells good.

  • Sept. 28, 2007, 6:03 a.m. CST

    AI was gooder

    by redfist

    Bester than dem this here review.

  • Sept. 28, 2007, 7:51 a.m. CST

    AugustusGloop, You Know How I Know You're Gay?

    by biggles2_22

    You keep all of Massy's reviews taped over your bed. Jeez get a room dude.