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2009

Vera Farmiga as Kate

Peter Sarsgaard as John

Isabelle Furhman as Esther

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra

Kids are creepy.

Seriously.

And I LIKE kids.  I’m a teacher.  I’m good with kids. I see their potential and the beautiful souls and all that crap.  But MAAAAAAAAAN…

Kate and John have two kids; in the opening scene, she miscarries number three.  It’s sad.  And it was a big emotional blow for Kate.  She struggles, as you would assume.  After some wine, therapy, and a meeting with a nun, they adopt their third child, Esther, from Russia.  She’s sweet, respectful, talented, and mature for her age.  And NASTY.  She’s definitely got an agenda, and if anyone crosses her, that’s pretty much it for them.

Why is this kid creepier than most?

  • Her old-for-her-age ease in using the F word.   Matter-of-fact.  Weird.
  • She doesn’t have a problem playing her new parents against each other. What 12-year-old does that?  And, for that matter, what 12-year-old gets what that’s even about?
  • She gets that death happens. She holds people responsible for their actions.  And she really has NO problem whatsoever delivering the mercy blow.  Her adopted siblings are definitely gonna need therapy.  If they get out of anything alive.

Again.  I like kids.  Even/especially the ones who are old souls.  Easier to connect with.  They’re actual people, somewhere in there.  Esther from Orphan is so goddamned messed up that you question adoption.  Or natural children.  Or babysitting.  Or young adult literature.

Scream Meter5/10  There aren’t too many jump-out-of-your-skin scenes, but there are some seriously messed up scenes.  Less screaming, more grimacing in horror.

Buddy Meter4/10  More of a psychological horror movie than gory.  But you could definitely use a pal to analyze the nutso factor so it doesn’t stick in your brain for days.

Overall Rating7/10  I really liked it—the story, the actors, the twist.  I think it was really well done.  I don’t need an alien or a dismembered corpse to scare me.  Little kids with collars and wrist covers will work just fine.

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