Produced by Guillermo del Toro of Pan’s Labyrinth fame, The Orphanage is a story of a couple living in an old orphanage-turned-house, with their adopted son Simon. Simon’s got issues, having all sorts of friends of the imaginary variety. When he goes missing, his mother Laura (a former resident of the same orphanage she now lives in as a house) begins to suspect these imaginary friends could be more.. supernatural in origin.
The story is not the standard-fare ghost story you might be expecting, and the slow story buildup at the start is so worth it in payoff later. It’s very well written, the characters are excellent, and the performances are all believable.
It’s a foreign film (spanish), so expect to read subtitles.
There’s some genuinely amazing bits in this film, and your heart rate will increase rapidly on many occasions. Best part is the film doesn’t suffer the hollywood scary movie failing of doing so by making loud noises and using psychotic editing. There’s some seriously scary crap happening on the screen to freak you out, and it’s damn effective.
It’s also used to service the story, not for pure adrenaline value.
I love writers strikes. They should happen more often, because the focus shifts more to foreign films, where the real talent is lying these days. If you were a fan of Pan’s Labyrinth, definitely do not miss this.