When I first saw the trailer for this movie I was afraid it was just going to be another lame "creepy kid" movie. We have had a ton of them over the past couple of years with many not being particularly good. It really looked to be channeling the likes of The Omen and The Good Son, and do we really need another one of them? Still, being a dutiful little horror movie fan, off I went to the screening, hoping for the best but not expecting all that much. One fact that gave me a little reason to hope is the R-rating. No, it is not that the rating gives any indication of quality, but all too often these creepy kid films play it toward the middle, deliver a PG-13 movie and struggle to deliver much of a compelling tale. So, the question now is: does Orphan deliver?
The short answer is yes. This movie delivers so much more than I had hoped. Orphan is creepy, thrilling, scary, funny, dramatic, and completely entertaining. That said, I would not go so far as to say it is a terribly original film, but as creepy kid movies go, this has to land in the upper echelon of the sub-genre. It does just about everything right, and judging by the reactions of the crowd around me, I am not alone in this feeling. Everyone seemed to be going along for the ride, reacting at just the right moment, collective jolts, jumps, and even moments of applause and cheering. It was an all around excellent experience that I had not thought I would have when I entered the theater, although the fact that the screening sold out should have given me a hint. Surprisingly enough, even the teen audience members were behaving themselves as they got wrapped up in the movie. If nothing else, that has to be considered high praise with this attention span-addled, text messaging youth culture.
The movie opens with an eye-grabbing sequence as John (Peter Sarsgaard) and Kate Coleman (Vera Farmiga) arrive at the hospital just as Kate is about to give birth. However, there is a problem, something is definitely going wrong as they wheel Kate down to the delivery room. When she wakes in her own bed, Kate realizes it was only a nightmare. The couple has lost a child, stillborn, and have been struggling to recover from the loss. This healing process has found them with excess love that had been reserved for the child they lost and they want to share their abundance. In order to satiate their need to give, the couple has chosen to adopt a child to join their son Danny and daughter Max, who is also almost entirely deaf.