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Orphan
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What can I say about 'Orphan'? I went into this expecting very little since I've seen this done so many times before, at times, with preposterous results (anyone remember the film 'Mikey'?). This one manages to work and surpass expectations. It lays on the suspense, the nail-biting scenes that only the best of the genre are capable of providing. Kudos to the cast for the great performances, although Peter Sarsgaard may come across as a bit stiff (it doesn't help that his character is a bit of a jerk- don't blame the actor) his co-stars steal the spotlight with the stand-out being Isabelle Fuhrman, who plays that conniving little tyrant, that orphan gracing the DVD-Bluray cover who is surprisingly named Esther ' such a benign name, 'Satan' would be far more fitting.

The Coleman's are a young, couple- the boring, arrogant John (Sarsgaard) and his recovering alcoholic wife, Kate (Vera Farmiga) who recently suffered a miscarriage. They adopt a charming little Russian girl, Esther (Fuhrnman) who appears mature for her age, speaks with a delightful accent (so cute) and can play a mean Tchaikovsky on the Colemen's grand piano. She is received with welcoming arms by the couple's hearing impaired daughter, the adorable Maxine 'Max' (Aryana Engineer) and with some hesitation from her brother Daniel (Jimmy Bennett). Esther tries to fit in at home and school but she becomes the brunt of some cruel jokes and suspicions that begin to fuel her pent-up anger. Kate is the first to notice that there is something seriously wrong with Esther (understatement of the year). Trouble seems to follow her around, but Kate's suspicions are met with skepticism and denial from her disbelieving husband. As Esther's malicious ways escalates, it becomes clear that no one is safe. Esther is conniving, she is cruel, she is evil and she's not what she appears to be. Mwahahahahahaha!!!

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, 'Orphan' is a solid, well-made, well-acted thriller that is in my opinion, grossly under-rated. Despite a been-there-done-that scenario, 'Orphan' fits right in alongside other child monster movies and manages to stand out as one of the better efforts. It works rather well, introducing us to the many characters; some we end up caring for, others- not so much; even the nasty little monster provides us with moments of sweet sentimentality and this is just confirmation of a competently told story. The film is also funny in a good horror movie kind of way (intentionally and unintentionally) and has many surprises up its sleeve. Although the film is violent, it is not gory and director Collet-Serra piles on the suspense by placing so many of the main characters in mortal danger while the main antagonist is so conniving, so bold in her quest for vengeance, she becomes all the more frightening as the film progresses. The situations we are presented with here are not that unbelievable where our suspension of disbelief has to work in over-drive (this is where the film 'Mikey' lost it) and the final twist ' yes, there is a twist, makes the situations even more plausible. The actors do their jobs well and all characters are believably played out. Although John Coleman is rather obnoxious and not very likable, he is played just right by Sarsgaard. Farmiga fares better as her character is more fleshed out and far more sympathetic- the recovering alcoholic who also falls prey to the sinister plans of Esther, and if there is one person in this film you are rooting for, it is Kate. However Isabelle Fuhrman steals the show. Her performance is so convincing, so bone-chillingly real, I am surprised she has not done more horror films. Her face oozes innocence and sheer wickedness ' a deadly combination that is a treat to watch in a horror film. You can tell a great actor just by their facial expressions. The best ones do not even have to say one word to get their point and their intent across. Fuhrman's many scenes, where we see her character's sinister soul emanating through her eyes and smile, is played to perfection. She is sweet, oh-so-charming in one instant and a rabid, blood-thirsty pit-bull the next.

The film is not perfect. Many scenes were shot too dark to see any of the action clearly and despite its disturbing subject matter, it may not be as scary as one would expect. However, the film remains absorbing and as it moves a long, it grabs hold of your attention, never letting go until the final show-down. Definitely not what I expected. Admittedly, it was better and despite her nasty habit of killing people, this little orphan is worthy of your time especially if you're in the mood for a good, dark, twisted little horror movie.
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Orphan
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Horror/Thriller
2009, Apporx. 123 Mins
Directed By: Jaume collet-Serra
Written By: Alex Mace & David Leslie Johnson

Starring:
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Vera Farmiga (The Departed)
Peter Sarsgaard (Flightplan)
Isabelle Fuhrman (Hounddog)
Karel Roden (Hellboy)

Plot:
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No Doubt About It. Orphan is the horror movie Horror fans MUST SEE!!

From the start, the horror comes. Through a nightmarish flashback, Kate Coleman (The lovely Vera Farmiga) and her husband John (Peter Sarsgaard)lose their 3rd child during its birth procedure. Kate and John are still grieving over their loss, with Kate being tempted to start heavily drinking again and John coveting another woman named Joyce.

Their 2 kids, their oldest son Daniel and their youngest daughter Max are both anxious at their parents new plan to help remedy their grief: Kate and John have decided that they're going to adopt a young girl from St. Marina's All Girl Orphanage.

That's when they meet the little 9 year old Russian girl named Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman), and movie history is made!!

Esther is sweet, beautiful and very smart for her age. She is very thankful to the Colemans who welcome her into their home, except for Daniel (Who instantly goes out of his way to make enemies with her) Slowly, Kate begins to detect warning signs from her new daughter and fears that her family might be in danger. Especially after Esther's last adoptive family perished in a viscous house fire, a fire Esther barely escaped.

But with that, Esther is also very, VERY disturbed. She is manipulative, cunning and deadly. Esther is the type of movie villain who has no pity, remorse or morality when it comes to getting her way across. She raises the bar for "NOT to be messed with!!"

Review:
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The movie itself is BRILLIANT and my personal favorite!! It's one of those movies that WILL blast you out of your seat and into the back wall of the living room!! Its rare for a movie of this caliber to come along, especially with all the horrid remakes and 3D movies coming out. This HAS to be one of the greatest horror films ever made!! Not to mention the TERRIFIC twist near the end, that you'll NEVER forget!! Ever!!

There SHOULD be a sequel to this!! They can go anywhere with such an outstanding villain they've created. There was even talk about continuing the story in graphic novel form!! (Please, Please, PLEASE!!)

DO yourself a favor and BUY this movie!! I guarantee you that by the end of it, little Esther Coleman will be burned into your memory.... Forever...

You'll See Esther Coleman in Your Nightmares, And She'll See You In HELL!!
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on July 29, 2010
saying there may be something wrong with Esther is understatement.if hell is missing one of its demons,they can call off the search.Esther isn't really a demon,but you get the idea.the main premise of the movie may not be all that original,but this movie puts its own little twist/spin on it that i thought was quite ingenious.there are a few clues that lead you toward it if you really pay attention.and for once,i actually was,and knew there something else going on,and fleetingly had the right idea of what the twist was gonna be,but then abandoned it for some reason.beyond the great twist,though,the rest of the movie is also fantastic.it moves right along,has great suspense,has some very harrowing moments.the acting was great.i love Vera Farmiga in anything she appears in.she takes a back seat here though to young Isabelle Fuhrman,who portrays Esther.if this movie is any indication she has a very bright future ahead of her.overall,one of the better made suspense/horror films i've seen in awhile. 5/5
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon September 24, 2010
Poor Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman at 12 years). All she wanted was a little love. Unfortunately, there are a few obstacles to remove first. This takes planning, finesses, and a little collusion.

This defiantly is not "Dementia 13" but it is a want-a-be. The film is highly predictable as most of the blood is in the first scene. That is because it was supposed to be a psychological thriller yet turned out to be a cheap slasher. The movie may be in a hurry to end but you do not have time to ward the unaware schnooks that they are about to be dispatched by a household utensil or the odd tool. The only spooky or over the top violence was when a poor defenseless pigeon was dispatched with force.

Only saw the Blu-ray but nothing really looked fake on the big screen TV.
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on March 11, 2012
I can't believe this movie has been out so long and i have not watched it i'm so slow but boy i sure did glad i bought it and watched it i was so impress with the little girl that played Esther she was one evil girl and you better don't get in her way or you are dead.I don't know if i could call it a psychologial thriller but i know she is a psychopath. hand's down this is the best horror movie i have seen i was on the edge of my seat and eathing [lays chips]the bag was done before the movie man was i mad. you have to watch this you will not regret it.The Orphan/L''orpheline [Blu-ray]
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on July 4, 2015
Very good suspense-thriller with a terrific storyline and twist at the end. Great acting from Vera Farmiga and the entire cast. Highly recommend.
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on July 8, 2013
If you like a good scare, this movie is for you......great choice of actors for this movie! You will not be disappointed.
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on December 23, 2013
i enjoyed the product a lot... pretty much like it was advised and even more... i can say im satisfied
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on May 19, 2015
Love this movie!! If you wish to watch something where the end is unpredictable - this is it.
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on July 9, 2014
Sick little girl in the movie but a great thriller and acting is great a must buy.
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