El Orfanato (The Orphanage)

2 Nov


It’s Thursday and I am enjoying a well earned day off from work. In order to use my time wisely I have arisen early to fill the day with pleasure, which essentially means watching films that I have not yet seen. First up, just for a light start to the day, Guillermo Del Toro’s ‘El Orfanato’ or better know to the English tongue as ‘The Orphanage’.

Being many years since its release, I have read and heard a lot about the film, many proclaiming it is the scariest horror movie they have seen, others expressing their joy at the ending. I agree with the latter.

We are thrown into a world that is in upheaval, a family dealing with the pressures of adoption and HIV whilst they move into a new home – the orphanage in which our main protagonist Laura, was raised when she was a child. This world is further complicated by otherworldy happenings within the house that lead to the disappearance of the couples adopted son Simon.

Due to the information that I have unconciously accumulated in the past 5 years I expected the film to be extremely scary, and it is. However it is scary less in the sense of your typical horror movie and more in the sense that you feel pain and fear for a family being ripped apart by a supernatural phenomenon. The editing, lighting, set and stunning score help to create a feeling of isolation and desperation so that we are really with the family throughout every emotional deterioration. There are a number of ‘hide-behind-your-hands’ moments, cliches if you will, but rather than being an overwhelming presence, they are small in number and so beautifully placed within the story.

The films overall tone is one of anticipation and hope. The film from its unnerving begginning through to its mournful end, is extremely moving. The actors are flawless, creating emotional response with the audience through simplicity and realism, and Del Torro once again cements his place in the directorial Hall of Fame. This film is a must see, a soulful restbite amongst the barrage of shallow modern horror, one that can be enjoyed by everyone. Even if it is behind your own hands.


Copyright Amy Evans

One Response to “El Orfanato (The Orphanage)”


  1. Pacific Rim | afewgoodfilmreviews - July 30, 2013

    […] del Toro’s latest adventure Pacific Rim. As the creator of the beautifully haunting ‘El Orfanato‘ (The Orphanage) and the visually stunning ‘Pans Labyrinth’, there were high […]

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