4 / 5
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
I had always heard good things about this movie, and about the little girl being one of the most frightening children in film history. I knew very little about it, other than a girl being adopted and having terrible things follow. It sounded interesting because children are capable of being very terrifying. Add to that all the good things I heard, and I definitely wanted to see the movie.
It was about Esther a little nine year-old Russian girl who'd been through some terrible things in her life. She was orphaned in Russia and then adopted by an American family. That family died in a house fire; a fire which Esther barely escaped. I figured from years of horror movie experience that the fire was no accident, and that Esther had something to do with it. On the outside, Esther was the perfect child. She was very polite, very intelligent and highly creative. She was wise beyond her years, and she was a very gifted painter. She was also able to play very complicated music on the piano. She was a complete sweetheart, and she fit into the Coleman family quite well. For a while...
The first incident was when a schoolmate of Esther's fell from a slide and broke her ankle. The little girl said that Esther pushed her, but the other Coleman girl--Max--covered for Esther and told her parents that the girl just slipped. When a nun from the orphanage went to the house to check up on everything, Esther was afraid that she would be taken away from her new family. So she bashed the nun's head in with a hammer and hid the evidence in a tree-house That was the first thing that told me Esther was extremely dangerous, and way too smart for her age. She knew how to load a gun--with far too much skill--and she knew how to dispose of evidence pretty adequately. The Coleman's son, Daniel, knew something was going on, though he wasn't entirely sure what. But he would never tell, because Esther told him, "If you tell, I'll cut your little prick off before you can figure out what it's for." After that, she tried to kill Max--who was almost completely deaf--by turning off the emergency brake in the car. Oh, and she also tried to seduce her new daddy.
I figured that Esther was some sort of demon that took the form of a child, but I guess that comes from watching so many child-themed horror movies. It actually took a turn at the end, and it wasn't at all what I expected. The tagline of the movie is There's something wrong with Esther. There was definitely something wrong with her. She had a disease which caused her appearance to be very deceiving. At the end, what I thought was a supernatural horror movie turned into a slasher flick--with a little girl as the killer.
It was very well made, and I loved the little twist at the end. I love it when a movie can surprise me, and this one did just that. Isabelle Fuhrman, who played Esther, did a magnificent job, and she truly was frightening. I don't know if I'd call her one of the most terrifying children in film history (that would probably go to Gage in Pet Sematary), but she was definitely good.
I was afraid that, since I'd heard such great things about it, I would be disappointed. I'm glad that I was wrong, because Orphan is a very enjoyable movie.