Orphan (2009) Movie Review: Infamous Twist Spoils the Stew

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever the sound design makes you jump

Take a Drink: for warning signs, or anything that sounds like it might be

Take a Drink: for evil glances

Take a Drink: for fucked up violence

Do a Shot: haha, Russian roulette

Do a Shot: for blacklights

Community Review

How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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Movie Review

By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –

Jaume Collet-Serra has made a career of creating credible badasses from less than dangerous material.

TAKEN 2

The amount of editing tells you everything.

His greatest trick in that regard has to be Orphan.  Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard play a happy married couple with two bouncing babes, but Farmiga never quite recovers from losing a third, and they eventually decide to adopt a precocious nine year old Russian girl (Isabelle Fuhrman).  This is a horror film.  Adoption agencies and orphanages everywhere weep.

A Toast

Orphan starts out very well.  Collet-Serra establishes a foreboding tone early, particularly through bravura use of sound design, and admirably shows more than he tells.  Everything is slickly, if dourly, shot, and Farmiga and Sarsgaard’s easy chemistry makes you care about them.  When we first met Fuhrman, she has a slightly creepy air about her that is offset by our ability to root for her underdog status.  When violence first strikes, the first instinct is to cheer…

Beer Two

Orphan is almost impressively subtle and morally ambiguous… until it isn’t.  Suddenly everything is evil stares and hamfisted foreshadowing.  If you have even rudimentary Dora the Explorer skills, pretty much the rest of the plot is laid out for you.

dora-the-explorer

Cuidado! Constata a sus dientes!

Beer Three

The direction also loses several shades of grey.  Now we get jump scares aplenty, complete with screeching score, and characters making stupid decisions because the plot says so.

Beer Four

The plot, so subtle and patient in the beginning, suddenly turns a corner and starts barreling towards insanity, shedding brain cells like an Alaskan Malamute some bastard brought to Miami sheds dignity.

malamute-shedding

Kill me…

Fuhrman, somehow, amps up her performance to match the craziness, and is the only reason to stick with it, up to the admittedly successful mindfuck of a final twist.

Verdict

Orphan is half compelling dramatic thriller and half silly B-movie, because they have to get to that whopper of a twist somehow.  It’s not a good mix.

4Beers

About Henry J. Fromage

Movieboozer is a humor website and drinking games are intended for entertainment purposes only, please drink responsibly.

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