Friday, January 6, 2017

Movie Review: "The Orphanage" (2007)

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Movie"The Orphanage"
Director: J.A. Bayona
Year: 2007
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

A woman named Laura (Belén Rueda) moves her family into the former orphanage where she grew up. One day, her adopted son Simón (Roger Príncep) starts claiming to have seen other children around the house. These children supposedly play games with him. During a birthday party at their house a short time later, Simón vanishes without a trace. Laura is determined to unravel the mystery of what happened to her missing son and the history of her house.

"The Orphanage" is the feature length film debut of director J.A. Bayona and writer Sergio G. Sánchez. It stars Belén Rueda as Laura, a woman who has just moved her family into the orphanage where she grew up. She lives with her doctor husband Carlos, played by Fernando Cayo, and her adopted son Simón, played by Roger Príncep. Her son doesn't have many friends, so when he starts claiming he is playing with children who live in the house that clearly aren't there, Laura writes it off as simply his overactive imagination gone wild...that is, until Simón disappears. Now, Laura will do whatever it takes to find her missing son.

This is an amazing and super creepy dramatic thriller and horror mystery. It is fully engaging as every twist and turn will make the audience continually more intrigued to unravel the mystery of what happened to Laura's son. From the moment the film starts, we get completely invested in finding out what happened to Simón and to discover if he is dead or not. There is some great tension building set early on as well as J.A. Bayona sets a sufficiently eerie atmosphere and a dim, drab mood to go along with it. We found ourselves absolutely enthralled by the thrills, unnerved by the chills, and freaked out by the prospect of what happened to Simón. In the quest to find Laura's missing child, Bayano and Sergio G. Sánchez make some really bold decisions throughout the story that makes it far more risk-taking than any standard Hollywood film would ever dare. Because of these choices, it makes "The Orphanage" that much more compelling.

We really, really enjoy this superbly and smartly crafted haunted house/missing person thriller. Its visuals are stunning, the story is well made, and most importantly, it will keep you engrossed from beginning to end in its shocking mystery.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 87%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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