Mr. Blonde Says ORPHAN Is A Uni-Balled Horror Movie Which Evokes DIFF'RENT STROKES, But It's Still Pretty Enjoyable!!
Mr. Blonde sent in this review of ORPHAN from director Jaume Collet-Serra, who brought us HOUSE OF WAX a few years back (the one with Paris Hilton).
Here's what he had to say:
I caught an early screening of Orphan tonight and thought I'd share my two cents. Beware the spoilers.
Based on the trailers, I thought this looked kind of interesting. Nothing ground breaking, but interesting. I like Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard and the little girl looked creepy as hell, so I was actually looking forward to this a little and it pretty much met my expectations.
The plot is predictable as hell, and hits all the main story beats you would expect. Couple with some issues in the past adopts a new daughter, bad things happen, mother suspects the new kid, dad doesn't believe her, things get worse as mom tries to get people to believe her. Despite the predictable plot, the movie manages to never be boring. It starts off slow and ramps things up really well. This is helped by a pretty solid performance from Farmiga. Sarsgaard is pretty much wasted, unfortunately, as the unbelieving husband.
The real bright spot in the movie, for me, was the dynamic between Esther (the adopted daughter) and the youger deaf daughter, Max. All the violence in the early portion of the film is seen through Max's eyes and it's interesting to watch how Esther manages to control her and keep her from telling her parents what she knows. This same thing happens, to a lesser extent, with the son as well. The little girl playing Max is quite adorable and never annoying, which is rare for a kid on film. She also may have been the best performance in the movie to be honest.
As for the horror aspects of the movie, walking out of the theater I was thinking to myself, "wow, that movie actually had a set of balls." It wasn't filled with gore, but it did some pretty crazy stuff with the kids that I wasn't expecting. However, the more I thought about it on the way home, I decided it didn't have a set of balls. It just has one ball. It's not completely neutered, but it wasn't as nuts when I really thought about. It does do some crazy stuff, but it also sets up some possibilities and then seems to just chicken out.
For example, Esther pretty much mind fucks the younger daughter throughout the movie and by the end you really want to see the younger daughter do something about it. There's a fight near the end and she picks up a gun that's been dropped. Ballsy. So, naturally I'm hoping they just go for it and have this little girl shoot the other girl and end the movie, but they chicken out and have her shoot the ice on a frozen pond causing the girl and Farmiga to fall in. Weak. Or how about when Esther sets a tree house on fire, with the son locked inside.
But then the son escapes, falls out of the tree and goes to the hospital and will live. Weak. But wait, Esthers at the hospital and she's smothering him with a pillow! And he's flatlining! Ballsy. Wait, no, 2 minutes later we're told they resuscitated him and he'll be fine. Weak.
So how about the "twist"? All the trailers are saying "You'll never guess what's wrong with Esther" or some such thing. Well, the twist was suprisingly not bad. However, you might guess it, and probably earlier than I did. I guessed the ending as a joke to my friend about 2 minutes before they revealed it. I'll give you a hint, think "Diff'rent Strokes". It's actually pretty plausible, though it really doesn't explain much of anything. Sure, it makes you look at some of the events in the movie a little differently, but in the end, the explanation is still just "The bitch is crazy!"
Overall, it was an enjoyable movie, with some decent scares, and wasn't too stupid beyond the usual conceits of this type of story (like the dumbass husband who won't believe his wife). If I had to pay for it, I'd do so at a matinee. Not sure I'd say it's worth full price. Though, seeing it in a crowded theater on a Friday night wouldn't be horrible idea. The crowd I saw it with seemed really into it which made it a pretty good time at the theater.
- Mr. Blonde
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July 22, 2009, 10:23 a.m. CST
I'll see it, just not expecting too much
July 22, 2009, 10:26 a.m. CST
Talk about typecast. <P> Movie Producer: "We're making a movie about a creepy, potentially murderous kid. Whom should we cast?"<P> Casting Director: "I say we just stick with Vera Farmiga, I mean she's done this shit before."
July 22, 2009, 10:28 a.m. CST
by Ray Garraty #47
The little girl gets molested by Gordon Jump.
July 22, 2009, 10:35 a.m. CST
From the hint given I'm pretty confident it confirms my guess for the "twist" from the trailer. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out, so its disappointing to hear they relied on the big reveal, but didn't push the envelope.
July 22, 2009, 10:35 a.m. CST
i've now spared you all from seeing this...
July 22, 2009, 10:40 a.m. CST
Ester becomes a security guard at a mall after a failed bid for Governor of California? Who wouldn't see that coming?
July 22, 2009, 10:46 a.m. CST
Such false and negative stereotypes of crazy orhpans produces? After this movie, the rate of adoption of creepy weird orphans with undoubtedly decrease. It's sad, really.
July 22, 2009, 10:56 a.m. CST
by Lance Rocke
July 22, 2009, 11:03 a.m. CST
by Lance Rocke
Is that it?
July 22, 2009, 11:04 a.m. CST
She's black and can't grow past 4'5 inches?
July 22, 2009, 11:05 a.m. CST
...which actually makes the movie even that much more gutless. It's nt really even a kid, therefore it's ok for her to be an evil psycho killer. It's a chickenshit movie all around. If you want to see some similiar themes done with balls, watch LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, now THAT was a movie with balls.
July 22, 2009, 11:10 a.m. CST
Esther is really the Gooch.
July 22, 2009, 11:12 a.m. CST
Damn. Video games are evil.
July 22, 2009, 11:13 a.m. CST
by dr sauch
July 22, 2009, 11:17 a.m. CST
Which drove the girl to kill and kill again. We have to blame ourselves for these tragic events. And the smoking that stunted her growth.
July 22, 2009, 11:25 a.m. CST
by The Reluctant Austinite
She's a 30 year old dwarf?
July 22, 2009, 11:48 a.m. CST
as it is without Hollywood making them into psycho killers? I'm with KevinWillis.
July 22, 2009, 11:53 a.m. CST
And Janet Jackson was his girlfriend?
July 22, 2009, 12:17 p.m. CST
by Frat Boy
She's actually 33 year old mental patient. She goes around trying to seduce the fathers before destroying the family. She comes on to Saarsgard in the movie
July 22, 2009, 12:17 p.m. CST
Actually, it only has 1 ball: It isn't a FISTBACK.
July 22, 2009, 12:23 p.m. CST
July 22, 2009, 12:32 p.m. CST
That movie had balls.
July 22, 2009, 12:34 p.m. CST
I AM SEEING THIS SHIT IN THEATRES NOW. THIS IS *COMEDY GOLD.*
July 22, 2009, 12:34 p.m. CST
And so bad. Joushua was am awesome movie though.
July 22, 2009, 1:02 p.m. CST
Not that I was really excited to see this movie, but how about you warn us that Spoiler McTryingTooHard reviewer up there is going to ruin some surprises for us?
July 22, 2009, 1:09 p.m. CST
I like Saarsgard, but he makes some strange role choices. Remember Flightplan?
July 22, 2009, 1:13 p.m. CST
It says, "beware the spoilers" in the first paragraph. What more warning do you need?
July 22, 2009, 1:15 p.m. CST
by nolan bautista
by the step-daughter? lets put aside the midget/mental patient thing..was it erotic?
July 22, 2009, 1:23 p.m. CST
by Nice Marmot
. . . is the pet that gets killed. I know there has to be one. And the reviewer changes his tune and says it has one ball. The twist is that she's going to dominate the Tour de France for years. The Different Strokes part is just to throw us off.
July 22, 2009, 1:29 p.m. CST
by El Cimarron
midgets are funny. im there.
July 22, 2009, 1:38 p.m. CST
by Spandau Belly
Maybe in a rental sort of way...
July 22, 2009, 1:41 p.m. CST
Leggy supermodels are overrated. Kicking tees are hot.
July 22, 2009, 1:59 p.m. CST
Damnit Merrick! Throw a frickin' SPOILER TAG up there!!
July 22, 2009, 2:21 p.m. CST
July 22, 2009, 2:22 p.m. CST
Taste in men. Maggie G is an ugly dude.
July 22, 2009, 2:31 p.m. CST
You couldn't possibly want to see this crap? Could you?
July 22, 2009, 2:45 p.m. CST
Wow! That is a twist! What you talkin' 'bout, Willis?
July 22, 2009, 2:48 p.m. CST
Okay, that's more plausible!
July 22, 2009, 3:26 p.m. CST
July 22, 2009, 3:36 p.m. CST
I loved this movie. It's really sad to see it so thoughtlessly spoiled, especially by a site that was so respectful of The Sixth Sense.
July 22, 2009, 4:08 p.m. CST
2 months ago and i'm still iffy on the twist. On the one hand, it could be creepy if done right. On the other, what are the chances of it being done right? <p> I guarantee people in the theater will laugh at the last 20 minutes. Still, I'll check it out. <p> Also, it seems like the filmmakers pussied out because the way it was written she's successful in smothering the brother in the hospital.
July 22, 2009, 4:20 p.m. CST
by frank cotton
with PG-13 'horror' films. UNBORN finally broke me. a potentially great film spoiled by the blind pursuit of a demographic. going to watch [REC] now
July 22, 2009, 4:35 p.m. CST
(HUGE SPOILER) Esther is really a 33-year-old woman who was born with proportional dwarfism which causes her to have the appearance of a child. She also happens to be a former prostitute, who had wealthy pedophiles for clients. The reason why she has her neck covered is because she was once in asylum and she struggled so much in her straitjacket that it left with her deep scars on her neck.
July 22, 2009, 4:38 p.m. CST
Loved [Rec]. Orphan is R. The more I think about this post the more pissed off I am. The reviewer says he likes the movie and Merrick spoils it in the tag. This is the site that splooged all over Marcus Nispel's crapfests, then when something good comes out they do this. Oh, that's right... Harry was iN Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
July 22, 2009, 4:41 p.m. CST
Gremlins.Critters.Ewoks. Mother fuckin' Willow. WILLOW! Goddamn midgets eaten up all the candycorn, playin' their kazoo's all night. They gotta be stopped I tells ya! THEY GOTTA BE STOPPED!
July 22, 2009, 5:39 p.m. CST
...i bet thats how they pitched it
July 22, 2009, 6:05 p.m. CST
by The Dum Guy
I thought there would be some weird scene where she tries to bone her adoptive father (while he's drugged or sumthin).
July 22, 2009, 6:29 p.m. CST
No, but that doesn't mean I might not end up seeing it due to friends who would overrule my veto when deciding what movie to see. <p> Either way, I don't want the damn movie spoiled for me. Damn you Merrick.
July 22, 2009, 7:56 p.m. CST
When I saw the poster and the crap about the secret, I thought of a Law & Order: SVU episode from a few seasons ago with a chick who was, like, 14 or something, and it turned out she was close to 30. She'd been lost in the foster system for over a decade, and kept moving from school to school and fucking teenage boys. She had the same disease that the Children of the Corn kid had, which made him look 15 when he was really close to 30 or some such shit. Fuck Orphan. Fuck it in it's Law and Order stealin' ass.
July 22, 2009, 10:13 p.m. CST
...that girl looks creepy, and all the talk about the twist ending gave me goosebumps.
July 23, 2009, 2:08 a.m. CST
July 23, 2009, 8:39 a.m. CST
July 23, 2009, 10:14 a.m. CST
I didn't want to see this movie when I thought it was your run of the mill demon child movie. Now I really don't want to see it after the spoilers. SPOILER DAMMIT SPOILER READ NO FURTHER! A dwarf 33 year-old prostitute? Uh huh.<p> God, the only fun I've had at the movies this year was with Coraline, Star Trek and UP. Avatar can't get here fast enough.
July 23, 2009, 11:38 a.m. CST
A 33 year old mental patient pretending to be a child? That's freaky. When she seduces the father, is it hot? I can imagine the audience reaction during those scenes...the gasps, the laughter, the "ewwwws". I wanna see this now.
July 24, 2009, 12:50 p.m. CST
Of course, they didn't post my handle. How do they expect me to become a household name like dannyglover'sdickblood?
Sept. 23, 2009, 12:41 p.m. CST
then it got really bad.
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