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Orphan (DVD / Blu-ray)

Orphan on DVD and Blu-rayReviewed by Nomad

Starring Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman, CCH Pounder, and Jimmy Bennett

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra

Distributed by Warner Home Video


Vera Farmiga … does not have a good track record with kids. When we last watched her parenting skills in action, it was upon a small boy named Joshua who drove her insane and proceeded to off grandma. Now Vera has adopted a little porcelain doll of a girl, complete with European accent. Of course, this can’t end well. Orphan is the newest addition to the “evil little kid” sub-genre of horror films and I’m happy to report it offers something new to the mix!

After the heartbreaking loss of their unborn child, Kate and John Coleman decide to open their home to an older child who needs love, despite their already having two children of their own. In walks Esther, looking much like she stepped out of a giant My Size Barbie box. The girl’s sweetness lasts for all of three scenes before she’s causing covert chaos, driving momma crazy, putting her little deaf sister in peril, offing nuns and threatening her little brother with a utility knife. Ah, family fun.

Esther is a thoroughly mean little girl with no supernatural hell-powers to speak of, so the film makers rely on cleaver cuts, excellent lighting, slick angles and superior acting from their power house of a cast to deliver the creepy along side little doses of action and mystery. All together, a fantastically engaging package for a film that could have easily been a formulaic bore.

Orphan on DVD and Blu-rayAt this point, most of you know the movie’s twist ending, but I won’t wreck it for you like the ass-hats I call friends did to me. Suffice to say, it’s particularly nasty and changes the whole dynamic of the film in an unexpected and disturbing way. Again, shocking to see a twist occur that doesn’t make the audience groan like they’ve eaten too much Taco Bell. How did I miss this one in theaters?! This movie was sorely undersold. Characters are written well and don’t behave outside of the realm of disbelief. It should also be noted that even though we are given an adorable little deaf girl, her peril isn’t milked excessively and she’s even placed in more insane situations than you’d expect for a girl her age in a mainstream film! Normally, I’d say Blu-ray should only be snapped up when there are fantastic visuals to take in. Monsters … explosions … robot on zombie battles … that sort of thing. Orphan has such beautiful cinematography; it makes the extra bump to 1080p well worth it.

Special features are few but fun. First we have Mama’s Little Devils: Bad Seeds and Evil Children (Blu-ray exclusive), which is a mini-history of diminutive demonic despots from the black and white to blazing color of today’s films. Alongside experts in various fields expounding on the phenomenon of evil children, you’ll get to hear from super fans like our own Uncle Creepy! It’s a fun little piece that’s over before you know it. You also get some cut scenes that were deleted for obvious reasons, as they don’t add much to the film and just seem excessive, alongside an alternate ending that is WAY over-the-top and happily, did not make it into the final cut. You’ll see why for yourself! That’s all she wrote.

Orphan is a fairly bare bones release, but a very enjoyable one at that. With the prices of Blu-rays dropping like crazy lately, this release is well worth the extra cash for the best quality possible, not to mention the featurette. Orphan is a very decent movie in it’s own right, apart from being a tense, eerie little horror film specifically. This as a go to movie you’ll pull out when friends come over, as it appeals to a broad range of people and doesn’t fail to entertain. Click below. Own it now!

Special Features

  • BD Live Enabled (Blu-ray exclusive)
  • Mamma’s Little Devils: Bad Seeds and Evil Children featurette
  • Deleted scenes / alternate ending

    Film:

    4 out of 5

    Special Features:

    3 out of 5

    Discuss Orphan in our Dread Central forums!

  • Nomad

    • perihelion

      Well made and acted. One of the best horrormovies of 2009.

    • AriesofPitt

      I actually liked this more than I thought i did. I watched Drag Me To Hell and Orphan about 3-4 nights apart and I preferred Orphan. I lost interest in Drag/Hell about 25 minutes in so by the end I was just wanting it to end. Oh, and as far as the end of Drag/Hell went(about the last 20 minutes),not a fan.

    • krawlingkhaos

      I saw this recently and while I really enjoyed it, I thought that the story had been done to death and that the script was awful; I had tremendous difficulty believing what the characters did (or didn’t do), and I had trouble buying most of the character turns. That said, this is one of the most remarkable examples of turd-polishing I have ever seen. Even though I could predict most of what was going to happen before it happened (including the twist)I still wanted to see it happen; even though I didn’t buy anything anyone said or did, I thought they did a real good job saying and doing it. The score tried a little too hard at times and my quotient for fake jump scare setups was exceeded about three times over, but the casting (with one exception), the acting, the sound, the makeup, pretty much everything else was really top notch. Bravos and Bravas to the cast, crew, and director for making it shine.

    • Barfneck

      Liked this movie a lot. I’ll be buying this on blu-ray as soon as the price drops below $20. Grabbed it from redbox last night.

    • Rottenjesus

      Let’s say that the twist is a little on the short side. ;)

    • Floydian Trip

      While it might have a few good scenes in it at the end of the day it’s just another dumb, far fetched Dark Castle movie. I think they went too far out of their way to make the father look like an asshole and that’s just for starters.

      I’d give a 2/5 and that’s probably giving it more credit than it deserves.

    • PelusaMG

      Creepy’s turning up in/on all sorts of movies these days… You guys at DC better watch out, He might be wanting a gold rimmed keyboard and pretzel’s served at his specified temperature v. soon ;p

      BTW – Some of us don’t know the twist ending yet… and maybe never will!