The Orphanage (Film)

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Director: Juan Antonio Bayona
Cast: Belén Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Geraldine Chaplin, Montserrat Carulla, Mabel Rivera, Andrés Gertrúdix
RunTime: 105 mins
Genre: Horror/Thriller (Spanish)
Rating: PG (Some Disturbing Content)

A woman's return to her old orphanage is the start of a creepy and hair-raising thriller. With open air and beautiful beach surroundings, she plans to reopen the orphanage as a centre for sick children. Her son starts talking to imaginary friends, and very soon disappears into an unknown world.

Expectations run high for Guillermo del Toro's The Orphanage, especially after an immensely successful Hellboy and Pan Labyrinth. Again, he uses children to tell a story about adults, and the fact that they are young makes them (and us) feel very vulnerable and helpless.

This isn't your typical Hollywood horror, with loud sound effects and sudden jolts to scare the living daylights. Like a sinister demon, it slowly lures the audience into this old abandoned house full of disturbing secrets, and story with mysteries.

You feel with the anxiety of the mother's search for her lost son, and wait in anticipation as she solves the puzzle part by part. In the process, the cinema does feel chilly and still, my movie partner covering his eyes 10% of the time.

However, Pan Labyrinth was stronger in bringing out a theme, with a greater impact on the audience. While it is more successful in terms of box office, a pity it didn't match up on its magic.

The Orphanage - A chilly change from the typical Hollywood horrors

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