Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Film review--The Orphanage

starring Belen Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Roger Princep, and Tommy Lee as The Beav.

A woman (Rueda) brings her family to live in the abandoned orphanage she grew up in.  Her dream is to begin a school for handicapped children but in time, she realizes that her son (Princep) is beginning to talk and play with invisible friends.  The boy urges his mother to come meet these new pals but she refuses.  Soon, her son mysteriously vanishes and she begins to feel the presence of "others" in the house.
I must say that I was very impressed by this film.  It stands out against the tide of other horror films that rely upon blood and gore, e.g. Saw and innumerable and tedious zombie fare.  This is far more up my alley in that it utilizes subtle, Hitchcockian devices of suspense and the supernatural.  For example, figures in the background, nearly out of frame.  One's breath becoming visible in a room of high activity.  The atmosphere of the house is probably one of the more immediate methods employed as well as the director's skillful use of sound for all of those creaks and groans an old house makes.  While it is smart, suspenseful, and at times most melancholy, this movie ends up being a beautiful and touching story.  In fact, it has one of the happier endings I've seen in a film in a long time but one must see it from a certain point of view.  I wish I could be clearer than that but I don't wish to give anything away.  Suffice it to say that at its heart, this movie is about that classic triad of faith, hope, and love.  The ending is in keeping with this.  And God knows where they dug up the actress who plays the creepy adoption social worker.  She could give me nightmares.
It is a foreign film.  All dialogue is in Spanish with English subtitles.  If that bothers you, you know...doing a little reading with your movie watching...then this is not one for you.  But I hope that you can give it a shot.  It is well worth your time.

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