Well after coming home from Conviction I headed to the pile of DVDs and VHS I had rented the day before. I thought I'd hit Orphan first as I only had it for two nights. This is a film I wanted to see on the big screen. It played over in Hastings but it didn't come over to Napier as I thought it would so I missed it.
The shorts looked good and overall gave an impression of a reasonble thriller/horror. I'd call it more of a thriller than horror, but a thriller with some scares! It has a quality feel to it and you can see this from two of the cast. Vera Farmiga ( great in the George Clooney film Up in the Air), and Peter Saarsgard, who gave Carey Mulligan An Education ( wink wink!! ) are both seasoned and polished performers. Here they are a couple who have had marital problems and start to fall apart after adopting a girl called Esther.
The promotion of this film had us believe that 'there is something wrong with Esther', and they aren't wrong! The role of Esther is played exceedingly well by Isabel Fuhrman who plays a Russian girl, even down to the accent. I won't go into to much plot detail as it will give too much away, suffice to say this does have a twist in it and it is quite good. When it came out my jaw dropped as it was quite original.
When you find out about Esther it comes as such a shock because up to then she had been acting like a girly Damian from The Omen. But when the twist comes she is nothing of the sort. I thought it very clever and lifted the storyline above other films like this of demented killer kiddies. Once her secret is out though the film does somewhat revert back to standard frights and slasher fare. But it is that type of genre so this should be expected. The scares would have been really good in a theatre but are somewhat dimished on the small screen , but you will still get a feel for how good they would have been.
My one and only gripe with this film is the end. We see Esther and her adopted mother fight it out in a frozen pond that had broken open. It ends with Esther crying out 'don't let me drown mommy' and being rewarded with a savage kick in the face and the parting shot 'I'm not your fucking mommy'. Sound familiar??? It should, beacause doesn't Naomi Watts use the exact same line on Samara in The Ring 2 in the final well scene??? I found this annoying, whether intentional or not it's Watt's line, and hers alone.
Besides that one line I really liked this film overall. It has a feel of quality about it due to some good performers. It has quite a good and original twist that takes you by surprise, but once out the it does somewhat become just another slasher film. But it is better than average and really worth your time and money. The performance of Esther is definitely worth your while. One creepy kid...or is she?!