+++ Opinion +++
Film fans who have neither seen “Orphan: The Orphan” nor heard of this horror hit are currently in a tight spot. Because the next part of this horror story has been in cinemas since September 8, 2022: “Orphan: First Kill”. Many reports about the film and its marketing contain spoilers for the previous film, which, however, offers such a wonderful twist that it would be a shame if previously unsuspecting film fans were spoiled by it.
So, if you’re catching up on Orphan: The Orphan, or want to watch it again in preparation for your visit to Orphan: First Kill, tonight is your chance to do so. Then Tele5 will show “Orphan: The Orphan” on September 10, 2022 from 10:25 p.m.
Kate Coleman (Vera Farmiga) is addicted to alcohol, which not only causes her to lose her unborn child in an accident, but also puts her daughter Max (Aryana Engineer) in mortal danger. Hoping it could mark a new beginning, Kate and her husband John (Peter Sarsgaard) decide to adopt an orphan. But the intelligent and creative Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) only provides a short family idyll. Above all, Kate and John’s biological son Daniel (Jimmy Bennett) comes across the strange behavior of the nine-year-old. But Daniel’s reluctance to accept Esther only antagonizes her further…
Director Jaume Collet-Serra is now best known for Liam Neeson vehicles such as “Non-Stop”, and he also directed the adventure spectacle “Jungle Cruise” with Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson for Disney. With roots in horror cinema, however, Orphan shows the director in his element: 2009’s smash hit is largely a straight-forward, atmospheric horror film about a dysfunctional, albeit well-meaning, family and their mischievous adopted child.
In doing so, the director works his way through the compulsory elements that belong to films about scary children in a manner that is as experienced as he is capable. The scowling child suddenly appears where it shouldn’t be. It is intrusive, uncontrollable during tantrums, and vehemently presses uncomfortable topics of conversation on its adoptive parents that should not be their business. Collet-Serra sometimes stages this as a short, shrill shock, but mostly in such a way that Esther’s unpleasant presence and unpredictable nature remain uneasy in the room.
Thanks to Isabelle Fuhrman’s intense play in the role of the aggressive and scary nuisance, it gets under your skin despite some narrative lengths: She is a memorable horror child who causes goosebumps in an equally inexplicable and penetrating manner. Vera Farmiga, meanwhile, proved here years before The Conjuring how great she is at reacting to spooky events as an actress.
And as soon as the straight-forward creepy-child story is turned upside down with a twist, “Orphan” also gains creative points: The insane, coherent final act, implemented with guts, raises the quality of the rock-solid horror story a bit – and whets the appetite for another “Orphan” movie that’s finally here after a 13-year wait.
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