El Orfanto (2007)
Directed by: Juan Antonio Bayona. Written by: Sergio G. Sanchez.
Plot: Woman (Belen Rueda) returns to the decrepit orphanage where she grew up, intending to fix it up and turn it into a home for disabled children. But after a while she starts seeing apparitions of her playmates from when she was a child, and then her young son (Roger Princep) disappears. She is convinced he has been spirited away by malicious ghosts.
Review: This movie is extremely fucked up. It actually blows my mind how fucked up it is. It seems like just your average haunted house movie, which would be alright seeing as the cast, Belen Rueda in particular, is very good and the movie is practically shot in creep-e-vision. I seem to remember it all being in really washed out colours, all very grainy and weird, but that might just be my defective memory.
But instead of just leaving it there, the creepiest ghost movie ever, they had to turn it around with a nasty twist ending which makes you go all “holy fuck, I can’t believe they actually did that”, but also really gets into the narcissism of the main character and her inability to admit that she could be wrong.
It’s interesting. And fucked. I mean, I don’t think they could get away with that in an American movie.
But really, this is a genuinely disturbing movie and one of the few really scary movies I’ve seen in theatre. It made me jump and shout in alarm. Especially that scene where the woman gets creamed by the ambulance. Holy shit that fucked me up.
The movie also builds dread and paranoia throughout (it’s one of those paranoid movies. The main character seems to be on the verge of starting in on conspiracy theories), really freaking me out.
Yeah, this movie kind of haunts me. I generally find haunted house movies to be the scariest subgenre (that being said, I don't really like them a whole lot. There isn't a lot of room for innovation) and this is one of the scariest I have seen. It follows all the traditions, it’s very dark and it doesn’t pull any of its punches. It’s also extremely refreshing when the horror genre is pretty much dominated by self-referential slasher flicks and remakes of Japanese movies. It’s nice to see a clean, old-fashioned horror movie without having to go ‘oh, was that a reference to Army of Darkness?’ every ten minutes.
It’s good for everybody. Watch it today.
Favourite Part: That little kid with the sack mask really freaked me out, maaaaaaan.
Other versions: None.
Click here to read my original review. (Jan 20th, 2008)