Boring insipid stupid film that wastes so many great chances to be the pile of crap it ended up being. I love scary children and, to her credit, the girl who plays Esther is brilliant. Unfortunately, this movie lacks a plot that's actually believable or scary, so it doesn't matter how good she is. The movie still stinks.
Dutiful, loving close family of mom and dad, brother and sister. Mom and dad are struck with the tragedy of losing a pregnancy. Mom is completely destroyed, enough so that she starts drinking and sort of checks out for awhile. We don't see much of this but its talked about throughout the film. When she sobers up, mom and dad decide the solution is to adopt a new kid. Enter 9 year old Esther and her strange, entrancing demeanor and beautifully creepy accent.
As I said, the girl who plays Esther does so brilliantly. Much like macaulay culkin in the good son, she's beautiful, frail and pale outside, but all bad news within. With calculated ease, she fractures the family. Mom senses that 'something is wrong with Esther', but dad stays amazingly resiliant to acknowledging what everyone else sees. Esther toys with the lives of son and daughter, scaring them into her control. She kills and makes them accessories. She threatens to kill them. In general, she should probably get grounded or a spanking or something. Instead, she just keeps on doing whatever she wants without any reprecussion.
My main beef with this film is the ending. When the twist comes, its so anticlimactic it almost made me angry. Why can't people make truly scary films? Is it really that hard? There could have been a thousand reasons for Esther to be what she is but they chose one that struck me as lazy and rift with weak writing. Worse, I could have accepted and enjoyed what they did choose, but the transformation of Esther from a 9 year old into THE TRUTH (not supernatural, by the way) is lacking anything that would make me feel scared or excited. It is just weak, watered down hollywood cookie-cutter plot writing. It ends like so, so many other horror films. Sucking.
Orphan - **