2009 Orphan22 Feb 2020
I love movies that get me fired up. At the same time though, I hate them kdo volal. Which is the case with 2009’s intro into the devil child horror movies entitled Orphan. It succeeded in both.
orphan-1Upcoming child star Isabelle Fuhrman delivers an incredible portrayal of Esther, a 9-year old orphan somewhat different from other kids her age and rather proud of it. It’s this trait that actually endears her to John and Kate Coleman (not to be confused with Jon and Kate plus 8)- a couple who recently lost their unborn child and attempt to replace the void with Esther.
Things seem to go pretty well initially, but as the days progress we start to learn the family has some dark secrets that would indicate their home life is not that great. One secret being that Kate is a recovering alcoholic that almost let her youngest child Maxine drown in the bathtub; a wound that has never seemed to heal for either John or Kate.
We also begin to see Esther’s true colors emerge as she plots the life she envisions with just her new “daddy” in tow, and subsequently attempts to kill those she feels a threat to her new life or in her way. John is too stupid and too dumb to see the warning signs, or to even listen to his wife’s investigative findings. Instead he alienates himself from his wife even further, thus allowing for the climatic and inevitable conclusion.
Orphan alludes to the same evil connotations as that of The Omen and The Good Son, but is delivered so much more believably. Isabelle Fuhrman is amazing in her portrayal of amoral Esther and the many persona’s she exhibits, from that of a frightened 9 year old child to the adult seductress she plays in an attempt to lure a drunken John. She is systematically methodic, detailed, driven, and heartless. Her demeanor invokes many emotions from the viewer, with pity being the least of them. As well, Vera Farmiga is equally effective as Kate, showing remarkable depth as a loving -albeit somewhat dysfunctional- wife, mother, and protector.
I was probably most impressed with Aryana Engineer as little Max. Her role of being a deaf-mute child and her ability to believably deliver convincing facial expressions and body language was so impressive to me that it’s hard to imagine this being her first film. While the other character roles lured me in, hers certainly set the hook (Drew Barrymore and Dakota Fanning look out!)
While the ending of Orphan provided much hoped for satisfaction -and blood- it still left a couple points unfulfilled. I suppose this is to be expected, as there has to be a margin for one’s imagination to take over but I did feel slightly cheated. Watch it and you will see what I mean.
Overall, Orphan was a very entertaining and frightening movie. Moreso that I expected or even hoped for, which makes this one a winner in my book. When a movie can horrify the viewer with tangible substance not geared towards gore? Yeh - definitely a win. See it. You won’t be disappointed.