Orphanage’ boasts new thrills
A mother’s love is a precious thing – until it goes too far. Sometimes it’s too late to recover from mistakes, such as moving back to The Orphanage.
Laura (Bel’eacute;n Rueda) is that mother. The beginning of the film is fairly peaceful – it’s just Laura, her husband, Carlos (Fernando Cayo), their adopted son, Sim’oacute;n (Roger Pr’iacute;ncep) and the northern Spanish countryside of Asturias.
They have just purchased the old orphanage where Laura spent her childhood. She and her husband’s decision to move the family to the orphanage was meant for good because Laura has dreams of reopening it and making it a haven for disabled children.
All is well until Sim’oacute;n becomes obsessed with his imaginary friend whom he calls Tom’aacute;s (‘Oacute;scar Casas). Innocent fun leads to danger, which begins when Sim’oacute;n tells his mother that she is not his mother. She asks him how he found out that he was adopted and he claims that Tom’aacute;s told him. The family crisis begins shortly after.
Laura hurts herself and her husband deeply in her attempt to undo the damage caused by their move to the orphanage gone awry.
This chilling thriller is a Spanish-language film by director Juan Antonio Bayona. In 2007 it won the Barcelona film award, and it is nominated for numerous other awards that it will probably win because it definitely keeps the audience on their toes.
It stands out from the usual thriller because it’s not cheesy in any way. There’s only one scene where blood is used to give the audience a rise, and that’s a good thing because too much blood makes it look overdone, like the film is trying too hard to evoke a reaction.
The thrills in The Orphanage are completely unexpected and they are more realistic, which makes them even scarier than they would be otherwise.
It’s also an extremely creative story free of any clich’eacute;s. The only scene that seemed problematic was when Laura is standing in the doorway of the bathroom looking out into the hallway and she sees a creepy looking child wearing a sack mask with what appeared to be a face painted on it. The child moves toward her and slams the bathroom door on her fingers, causing them to bleed. In the process of freeing her hand from the door, she falls in the bathtub.
The viewer doesn’t know who this child is, and it’s expected that the child’s identity will be revealed at some point in the film, but unfortunately it remains ambiguous. It doesn’t work for this film.
Aside from that, this is a great film for those looking for something out-of-the-ordinary and worth watching. It feels good to come across something truly unique, and it’s becoming more of a challenge to create unique works of art among everything that has been created or done at least a couple of times.