Somewhere between my post “Riveting Rentals” and “We Are Spirits… in the Material World” would be found a delicious treat called Orphan (2009). With Vera Farmiga, who I loved in The Departed, which I also highly recommend, and Peter Sarsgaard, this is your basic story of a family who decide to adopt. They already have two children, but their third was stillborn, so they feel adoption is the right thing to do.
Instead of adopting a baby, they take on a 9-year-old girl from Estonia, Esther, and very quickly they notice some oddities with her, including her old-world style of dress and, let’s say, precocious — to put it nicely — knowledge of various subject matter. The more time the family spends with their new daughter, the more little and not so little disturbing things occur. Esther is a bit of a mystery, and the more we find out the more we don’t like.
I hate to give anything away, so I won’t. Suffice it to say that the story develops in a masterful way. Comparisons can be made to many films of a like ilk — The Uninvited [prior post] and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle [prior post] come to mind — but Orphan stands on its own as a super-fun psychological thriller. The general plot elements aren’t anything out of the ordinary, but this movie works. In his review, which I recommend, Roger Ebert sums it up: “You want a good horror film about a child from hell, you got one.” A great entertainment when you want your spirits stirred; 9/10.