When I was younger I used to watch a lot of horror movies, but I soon tired of the slasher films and stopped watching altogether. Recently, though, I’ve gone back to watching some more horror movies and one of those included The Orphanage.
The plot involves a couple and their adopted son, who move into the mother’s childhood home, which was once an orphanage. The mother, Laura, plans to turn it into a home for disabled children, but at a party for the opening of the home, their son goes missing.
I was pleasantly surprised with this movie and I’m glad it is an old-fashioned ghost story in that the horror is revealed by the building up of suspense. As I grew up on Hitchcock, this type of horror appeals to me more. To be perfectly honest, one thing that I did find disturbing was the young boy, Tomas. The way he followed the mother around was rather creepy; however, his story is drip-fed to the audience that one eventually feels sympathy for him.
The film is in Spanish and I didn’t have an issue with having to read sub-titles, as I’ve watched quite a few foreign films and television shows over the years. I enjoyed the cinematography, which helped create the atmosphere of isolation, darkness and abandonment. The only problem I had with the movie was self-inflicted in that I didn’t see the ending earlier that I may have done otherwise. I was clearly taken along with the ride and when the resolution was revealed it all made perfect sense. The ending was satisfying and rather poignant.
Even if you are not a fan of the horror genre, this film is still worth watching. It portrays a message of love between a mother and her child and for those less fortunate than ourselves.
Have you watched The Orphanage? Do you prefer the slow build of suspense or slasher flicks? Do you like to guess the ending or prefer to just go along for the ride? Do you have problems with watching foreign films?
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4 thoughts on “The Slow Horror of The Orphanage.”
I definitely enjoyed this film. It’s not my favorite Del Toro film, but as you say, it really taps into the art of suspense, and that whole idea that it’s the anticipation, the uncertainty, that leads makes for good “horror”. Throughout the film I felt a vague sense of foreboding, right up until the end, which I didn’t see coming either, of course I generally try not to predict, as that tends to ruin it for me. Of course sometimes the ending is so apparent to me that it becomes the proverbial elephant in the room.
I really like it when films have an ending that prompts you to look back and re-evaluate everything you’ve seen.
It was definitely well done.
Hi Adam. I’ve always enjoyed the slow build of horror and I agree there was definitely a sense of foreboding with this film. I don’t always like to guess the ending, but really enjoy it when you see endings you never saw coming (hello, Sixth Sense). It was the same with this film and the ending didn’t give me a feeling of horror, just sadness. As you say, it’s a film that makes you re-evaluate the entire story and the real message behind it.
I prefer the slow build, creepy, psychological kind of horror. It’s what I enjoy watching and reading, and I hope I’m able to pull that off in my own writing. 🙂
I think I have a note of The Orphanage somewhere. Have you seen The Babadock? I enjoyed that one, more than I thought I would.
Hi Madeline. I also prefer psychological horror as I find that scarier and it stays in your mind much longer. Like you, I also hope to use that in my own writing. When a beta reader once described my work as ‘something out of a Hitchcock movie’, I knew I was on the right track! I have seen The Babadook, but I wasn’t sure what to make of the ending. I might have to watch that one again!
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