Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The MARCH of Death, Day 9: The Orphanage

If you are looking for a film that shocks, horrifies, and moves along at a break neck pace with jump scares galore and buckets o’ blood; stay far away from The Orphanage. If you thirst for the visceral carnage and horrible flashes of the aftermath of extreme violence, go elsewhere. If, however, you are in the mood to be mentally tested and shaken to your core; Juan Antonio Bayona’s 2007 haunted (no pun intended) house film should do nicely. A Spanish film that received high praise and solid reviews upon it’s release, The Orphanage owes a great deal of it’s mojo to the attachment of Guillermo del Toro’s name to the TV spots and DVD art. Riding high off the success of Pan’s Labyrinth, once del Toro’s involvement became known, the curiosity over Bayona’s movie became palpable. The story revolves around the rehabilitation of a beautiful old house back into an orphanage. This time for disabled children. The person doing the rehabbing? A woman who has fond memories of said house’s humble beginnings. Accompanied by her husband and young son, she is slowly pulled into the mysterious building’s past and engulfed by it’s sinister present. As I stated above, The Orphanage will hardly grab you by the collar and shake you into submission. What it does do (through brilliant direction, narrative, acting, and sound design) is break your heart in the creepiest possible way. It’s a horrific tale of love, loss, deception, and redemption. A movie that is to be felt as much as seen. A groundbreaking entry in the genre’s cannon for those of us who like their scares to linger, in the back of our gray matter, long after the screen goes blank.

The Orphanage

Director: Juan Antonio Bayona
Starring: Belen Rueda

8/10 Farmhouses ~ Chris Conduit

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