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Mr. Blonde Says ORPHAN Is A Uni-Balled Horror Movie Which Evokes DIFF'RENT STROKES, But It's Still Pretty Enjoyable!!

Merrick here...
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:
Hey Guys, 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. Ballsy. 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

Readers Talkback
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  • July 22, 2009, 10:23 a.m. CST

    Looks like Joshua, but with a girl

    by SoylentMean

    I'll see it, just not expecting too much

  • July 22, 2009, 10:26 a.m. CST

    Farmiga, yeah, wasn't she in Joshua?

    by SoylentMean

    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

    My guess regarding the Diff Strokes twist:

    by Ray Garraty #47

    The little girl gets molested by Gordon Jump.

  • July 22, 2009, 10:35 a.m. CST

    First thing I guessed!

    by ltgalloway

    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

    the twist is esther kills dumbledore.

    by Warcraft

    i've now spared you all from seeing this...

  • July 22, 2009, 10:40 a.m. CST

    The "Diff'rent Strokes" twist:

    by jawsfan

    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

    Have They Thought About the Impact On Adoption


    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

    The twist is, she has an older sibling?

    by Lance Rocke


  • July 22, 2009, 11:03 a.m. CST

    Oh no, she's a hermaphrodite!

    by Lance Rocke

    Is that it?

  • July 22, 2009, 11:04 a.m. CST

    The twist...

    by Sleeperkid

    She's black and can't grow past 4'5 inches?

  • July 22, 2009, 11:05 a.m. CST

    The twist is that she's a midget...

    by NapoleonDynamite

    ...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

    the real twist is that...

    by TheBaxter

    Esther is really the Gooch.

  • July 22, 2009, 11:12 a.m. CST

    The twist is she played Night Trap and Tipper Gore was right?

    by Domi'sInnerChild

    Damn. Video games are evil.

  • July 22, 2009, 11:13 a.m. CST

    Seriously, a midget?

    by dr sauch


  • July 22, 2009, 11:17 a.m. CST

    Midget is a politically insensitive term

    by Domi'sInnerChild

    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

    What chu talkin' bout?

    by The Reluctant Austinite

    She's a 30 year old dwarf?

  • July 22, 2009, 11:48 a.m. CST

    Haven't orphans been dealt a bad enough lot in life

    by Stabby

    as it is without Hollywood making them into psycho killers? I'm with KevinWillis.

  • July 22, 2009, 11:53 a.m. CST

    That's "Academy Award Winner" The Gooch to you, sir.

    by ImMorganFreeman

    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

    I've decided this TB has a set of balls.

    by GetEveryone

    Actually, it only has 1 ball: It isn't a FISTBACK.

  • July 22, 2009, 12:23 p.m. CST

    Do Punjab and The Asp make an appearance?

    by jim

  • July 22, 2009, 12:32 p.m. CST

    Soooo its a PG version of the Good Son?

    by Series7

    That movie had balls.

  • July 22, 2009, 12:34 p.m. CST


    by reflecto


  • July 22, 2009, 12:34 p.m. CST

    This movie looks boring as shit

    by Series7

    And so bad. Joushua was am awesome movie though.

  • July 22, 2009, 1:02 p.m. CST

    Um, how about SPOILERS?

    by ChickenDelicious

    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

    Joshua - had the awesome Sam Rockwell

    by skimn

    I like Saarsgard, but he makes some strange role choices. Remember Flightplan?

  • July 22, 2009, 1:13 p.m. CST

    People complaining about spoilers in the review

    by solanine

    It says, "beware the spoilers" in the first paragraph. What more warning do you need?

  • July 22, 2009, 1:15 p.m. CST

    father seduction?

    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

    So what kind of animal . . .

    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

    a midget?

    by El Cimarron

    midgets are funny. im there.

  • July 22, 2009, 1:38 p.m. CST

    yeah, I think I want to see this

    by Spandau Belly

    Maybe in a rental sort of way...

  • July 22, 2009, 1:41 p.m. CST

    The world needs more midget seductions

    by Domi'sInnerChild

    Leggy supermodels are overrated. Kicking tees are hot.

  • July 22, 2009, 1:59 p.m. CST

    Where's the fucking SPOILER WARNING, Merrick?!?

    by D.Vader

    Damnit Merrick! Throw a frickin' SPOILER TAG up there!!

  • July 22, 2009, 2:21 p.m. CST

    Wayans Brothers' Little Man meets White Chicks

    by Stabby

  • July 22, 2009, 2:22 p.m. CST

    Saarsgard also has strange

    by Series7

    Taste in men. Maggie G is an ugly dude.

  • July 22, 2009, 2:31 p.m. CST


    by Series7

    You couldn't possibly want to see this crap? Could you?

  • July 22, 2009, 2:45 p.m. CST

    Esther is really Gary Coleman?!?!?!

    by MrMysteryGuest

    Wow! That is a twist! What you talkin' 'bout, Willis?

  • July 22, 2009, 2:48 p.m. CST

    Esther's the one who sang the DIFF'RENT STROKES theme?!?!

    by MrMysteryGuest

    Okay, that's more plausible!

  • July 22, 2009, 3:26 p.m. CST

    Esther is a 45-year old black man?!?!? With one ball?!?!?

    by MrMysteryGuest

  • July 22, 2009, 3:36 p.m. CST

    the spoiler tag

    by castoutthiswickeddreamthathasseizedmyheart

    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

    I read the script

    by kolchak

    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

    frank is done

    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

    Do you really want to know? Really?

    by Garbageman33

    (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

    what no pwesents?

    by castoutthiswickeddreamthathasseizedmyheart

    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

    Aint it always a Fuckin' midget.

    by Fisting_Nell_Carter

    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

    so it's CHILDS PLAY w/o the Doll

    by moviemaven83

    ...i bet thats how they pitched it

  • July 22, 2009, 6:05 p.m. CST

    Goddamit, I thought that would be the "twist"

    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


    by D.Vader

    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

    It didn't spoil anything for me...

    by The_Floating_Skull_of_Robert_Loggia

    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


    by Verbage

    ...that girl looks creepy, and all the talk about the twist ending gave me goosebumps.

  • July 23, 2009, 2:08 a.m. CST

    Horror films really need to use little girls in them more

    by lockesbrokenleg


  • July 23, 2009, 8:39 a.m. CST

    I Remember When This Movie Was Called THE BAD SEED

    by LaserPants


  • July 23, 2009, 10:14 a.m. CST


    by Blue_Demon

    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

    I actually want to see this now that I know the secret

    by Verbage

    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

    Sweet, my post just got quoted on

    by Garbageman33

    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

    movie sucked for the first 75min

    by Snikkar124

    then it got really bad.