10th Nov2022

‘Orphan: The Complete Collection’ Blu-ray Review

by Guest


Stars: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabella Fuhrman, CCH Pounder, Jimmy Bennett, Margo Martindale, Karel Roden, Aryana Engineer, Rosemary Dunsmore, Genelle Williams | Written by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick | Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra

Devastated by the loss of their unborn baby, Kate (Vera Farmiga) and John (Peter Sarsgaard) decide to adopt a child. At the orphanage, both feel drawn to a little girl (Isabelle Fuhrman) named Esther, and soon the couple take their new daughter home. But when a dangerous series of events unfolds, Kate begins to suspect that there is something evil lurking behind the child’s angelic exterior.

Although the horror genre is by far my favorite film genre nowadays, the same thing cannot be said for when I was young. As a matter of fact, I was scared to death of practically every horror movie. I remember still to this day, seeing some sort of Chucky parody on some television show late at night when I was about six, and being absolutely terrified of the doll. I had nightmares about him for a long time and every time I started to watch a horror movie, I had to turn it off because I just couldn’t take it.

But one movie scared me to my core just by looking at the poster – that movie is Jaume Collet-Serra’s Orphan. Who is that little girl on the poster? And why does she look so mean and evil? These were just a few of the numerous questions that I was asking myself when I saw that poster. But as you can imagine, I never actually ended up watching the film. Until now. And boy am I glad that I did.

This is a genuinely unnerving movie that somehow manages to be incredibly fresh and diverting, despite the fact that it very easily could have fallen victim to terrible horror movie tropes. Usually, the “creepy kid” trope in horror is annoying and tired. It’s been done time and time again and it never actually works. Orphan reinvigorates this trope and makes it genuinely creepy.

It’s weird because when we first meet Esther, we can see right from the start that she is an innocent young girl that wants nothing more than to get adopted by a happy and welcoming family. She wants to live a normal life with normal people. She wants to grow up with siblings and live her life.

That’s why whenever we see the story unfold and as we learn more about Esther and her past, it’s truly disturbing. Esther is not just a fun-loving girl after all. It’s quite apparent that she is hiding something and she is in fact, not as innocent as she seems.

Isabelle Fuhrman’s performance is truly unsettling and at times, it can be extremely hard to watch. In most horror movies, the scariest aspect of the film is typically a serial killer, a ghostly spirit, or a monster. But not Orphan. Here, we are scared of a nine-year-old girl, and it always works.

The best performance on display here however has to be from Vera Farmiga, who feels like she could snap at any given moment in this story. Her character gets put through the wringer quite a bit and she has to put up with a lot of terrible things. She feels like a ticking time bomb and when things get far too out of hand, Farmiga shows her fiery and emotional side, and it wowed me.

Plus it contains, without a doubt, one of the most amazing and unexpected twists I have ever seen in a horror movie. There was one point in the film where I thought I had the whole thing figured out, but I was completely wrong. Once the big twist was revealed, I truly couldn’t believe my eyes and ears. This is a horror movie done so, so right.

****½  4.5/5


Stars: Isabelle Fuhrman, Julia Stiles, Rossif Sutherland, Hiro Kanagawa, Matthew Finlan | Written by David Coggeshall | Directed by William Brent Bell

After escaping from a psychiatric facility in Estonia, Esther travels to America by impersonating the missing daughter of a wealthy family. Yet, an unexpected twist arises that pits her against a mother who will protect her family at any cost.

“There’s always been something wrong with Esther,” says the tagline on the poster for William Brent Bell‘s brand Orphan: First Kill, and the tagline of this film is absolutely true, as well. This tightly constructed 99-minute thrill-ride is a gritty, thrilling, and chillingly dark exploration of Esther’s origins, brought to life beautifully by a sharp script and a powerful performance from Isabelle Fuhrman, who proves that after all these years, she can still pull off portraying a little girl.

To be honest with you, I was fully expecting this film to be a colossal disappointment mainly because it was directed by Bell, who has had a less-than-savoury track record with horror. He previously directed the abysmally awful The Devil Inside as well as Brahms: The Boy II – two of the worst mainstream horror films of the 2010s. But to my surprise, Bell’s direction here is actually… fantastic? Perhaps he went back to the drawing board on what to do on set or something because here, his direction feels so in control and stylish. This is a grimy and gross feeling movie that never skimps on making you feel so creeped out.

David Coggeshall wrote the script for this movie and he did an excellent job. He consistently finds ways to make the story engaging throughout the 99-minute running time. There’s truly never a dull scene to be found here. It’s a film that feels so smartly constructed because when you look back at it all, you realize that there really isn’t a scene that could be removed to help the film’s flow. It’s always a great thing when a film utilizes every scene to its potential, and this film is one of them. We learn plenty more about Esther / Leena Klammer’s origins this time around, and boy is it ever dark and twisted. Coggeshall’s mind is definitely full of brilliant ideas.

Much like the predecessor, Orphan: First Kill tries to inject some shocking twists midway through, flipping the entire movie on its head. Does it work? Thankfully, yes. The big twist this time around isn’t anywhere near as surprising as the first film’s big twist, but it’s still diverting and it’s something that you likely won’t see coming.

All of the kills here are wonderfully bloody and violent as well, which is always a good thing when it comes to a horror flick. You want to see these kinds of things executed well, and thankfully in this movie, they are. They took the violence in the first entry and dialled it up to eleven.

Isabelle Fuhrman is once again stepping into the shoes of Ester / Leena and, just like expected, she does a marvellous job. She’s unbelievably terrifying as the character and unsettlingly intimidating. One thing that I will say, however, is that she definitely doesn’t look younger than she did in Orphan. The filmmakers likely tried their best to de-age Fuhrman seeing as how this is a prequel but unfortunately, they didn’t do that job well enough. You can tell in every single scene that the actress is considerably older than she was when she filmed the first movie which is a bit of a shame.

There are also some instances in which Orphan: First Kill has a problem with painfully obvious body doubles and some stiff performances from Julia Stiles and Matthew Finlan. Aside from that, however, this prequel impressed me tremendously. If you’re a fan of the first, you should definitely check this one out.

**** 4/5

Blu-ray Boxset Extras:


  • Deleted Scenes/Alternate Ending
  • Mama’s Little Devils: Bad Seeds & Evil Children
  • Interviews with Cast and Crew

Orphan First Kill:

  • Making of Featurette

Orphan: The Complete Collection will be released on Blu-ray on November 14th, courtesy of Signature Entertainment.


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