The Orphanage, does bring sophistication in ghost stories which is rarely heard of, but Guillermo Del Toro manages to pull it off time and time again, and somehow he even managed to inject his magic into this one, which he only produced - as this very much plays out like one of his own films. Not to discredit Mr. Bayona, though, for he has done a fine job. This is a dark, powerful, and moving masterpiece that both adheres to convention and brings some new, more artistic elements to the table in the direction and storytelling.
There was nothing about this film I didn't like. The acting, the thrills, the cinematography, the story, and the atmosphere. Everything was not short of sheer brilliance. The chilling moments freaked me out a couple of times, which I'm glad they did. That was what I wanted out of this film, but I was offered so much in return. Since I knew Guillermo Del Toro was involved with this project, I had a feeling it would be good. I just didn't think it would be THIS good. It was also very heart-warming, which was something I did not expect.
The acting is great, Belen Rueda as Laura is magnificent. Fernando Cayo as the husband Carlos is also good; he looks like a Spanish version of Josh Lucas. The kids do a decent job. And seeing Geraldine Chaplin (Charlie Chaplin's daughter) was a surprise, and she delivered an excellent performance as the 'seeing' medium. The bond that Laura, Simon, and Carlos shared is very sensitive and is carried out well throughout the movie.
This is definitely one of those horror films you should see more than once. The horror films you see nowadays are weak, not scary, and most of all; not worth your time. This one is WORTH the time. Believe me, his film has absolutely everything you need to know on how to make a well-executed ghost story and more.