Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Orphanage

El Orfanto (2008)

Directed by: J. A. Bayona
Written by: Sergio G. Sánchez
Starring: Belén Rueda, Roger Príncep, Fernando Cayo, Mabel Rivera, Montserrat Carulla, Óscar Casas, Geraldine Chaplin, Edgar Vivar

So this actually wasn't written or directed by Guillermo del Toro, as I had assumed until, like, now. He produced it, I guess. A lot of it reminded me of a del Toro movie.

Anyway, there's this woman who sort of grew up in an orphanage, and many years later she brings her husband and son to the abandoned building so they can set up a home for disabled children or something. The little kid starts talking to the ghosts of the dead orphans who used to live there and, eventually, disappears, leading the mother to believe the ghost children stole him.

And all kinds of other nasty things happen. Pretty good haunted house movie, with elements of The Haunting of Hill House, The Others, The Changeling (okay, all haunted house stories echo each other, but those were the ones I was thinking about when I was watching it). There's just a whole other level of nastiness to this one which actually really bothered me.

It was disturbing, I dunno. It scared me. They didn't really rub it in so much, though. Scary stuff was happening through the whole movie but there wasn't a whole lot of jumpy stuff. It was just really unpleasant.

Kind of refreshing when compared to the American haunted house movie where everybody sort of turns out okay (most of the time. There are exceptions, but generally this is the case). The kid does, anyway.

Anyway, the main lady, Belén Rueda, I've never seen her before, but she was very good. And she wasn't young and gorgeous, which shouldn't really be an important observation, but I kept thinking of Nicole Kidman in The Others. She sort of goes under a similar amount of stress and yet she still manages to look like Nicole Kidman (she scared the bejeezus out of me in that movie, but she still looked young and gorgeous). The woman in this looked appropriately stressed. She looked thirty seven (okay, she was still gorgeous, but she didn't look like she was wearing too much make-up).

Yep, disturbing movie but very good. I didn't like it, exactly. It really freaked me out, but it was very good. I'm glad I went to see it. It was worth it.


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