Very seldom have I witness such a chilling, atmospheric ghost story, so beautifully crafted and unsettling as Juan Antonio Bayona’s 2007 horror film THE ORPHANAGE. This film truly absorbs the watcher into that creepy old orphanage with its haunting secrets and troubled past. I am left with no questions, the story is told in full and I am left truly satisfied. Not only is THE ORPHANAGE a thoroughly creepy film, but its story is interestingly different and perfectly portrayed.
The story centres around Laura (Belen Rueda) who returns with her husband Carlos (Fernando Cayo) and son Simon (Roger Princep) to the orphanage where she grew up, her intention to make the orphanage into a home for special needs children, is interrupted when Simon starts to play games with his ‘imaginary friends’.
Things take a sinister turn and Laura has to confront the mysteries lurking within the eerie mansion. The film is a fantastical ghost story which tests a mother‘s love to its limits.
The Orphanage is stylishly made and the acting is superb throughout. The moody direction coupled with an accomplished musical score adds to the intensity and mesmerises the watcher. There is no reliance on jump-scares or gore, this is an old-fashioned ghost story with a modern twist and it works incredibly well. It is not the scariest film I have ever seen, but it is a nicely disturbing offering and with such beautiful cinematography, it’s definitely one to recommend.
THE ORPHANAGE (2007) Director: Juan Antonio Bayona. Writer: Sergio G. Sanchez. Cast: Belen Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Roger Princep, Mabel Rivera, Montserrat Carulla, Geraldine Chaplin.
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