Thursday, October 23, 2008

31 Days of Halloween - Day 23 Movie

I'm a sucker for smart haunted house movies such as the original "The Haunting" (1963) as opposed to the dumb shock and gore type such as the remake of "The Haunting" (1999) so I was enthusiastically looking forward to "The Orphanage" (2007). The movie follows Laura (Belén Rueda) who moves into a former orphanage, where she lived as a child, with her husband Carlos (Fernado Cayo) and their son Simon (Roger Princep). Their plan to take in a handful of special needs children falls through when Simon suddenly vanishes. Is he still in the house? Are ghosts involved? Who was that strange old lady? Will this marriage survive? How far will Laura go to find her son?

All of those answers are gradually revealed in this beautifully filmed and acted (especially by Rueda) movie. The story builds slowly and is fascinating every step of the way, and full of emotional power. The script is very carefully worked out, too carefully in some ways. The only fault I have with the movie is I felt like I was several steps ahead of the characters for most of the movie, waiting for them to catch up to me. Even so, I found myself riveted as everything began to fall together. The movie is filled with fantastic imagery and some really nice moments.

I did not find this movie scary, except in the sense, that as a parent, the situation presented in this movie is about as distressing a scenario as you can have. The mood of the film is similar to "The Others" (2001) which I also recommend.


Todd Franklin said...

I'll have to check this one out.

Steven Altis said...

I loved the seashells at the front door scene (very creepy!) and most of the rest of the movie, but the ending reminded me way too much of the ending of the newest "Haunting"... sort of a tacked-on, feel-good, cop-out to what otherwise would have been an effectively creepy, downer of an ending. Should have ended in the basement.