Tuesday, January 01, 2008


You can go home again, but you shouldn't

By Edward Copeland
It seems to be a rarer and rarer thing to actually watch a film that gives you the creeps (in a good way) and gets you to jump. Produced by Mexican director Guillermo del Toro and directed by Juan Antonio Bayona, The Orphanage is Spain's official candidate for the Oscar for foreign language film and it's a worthy contender.

Belen Rueda stars as Laura, once an orphan herself in a spooky old seafront house, who was adopted before some unspeakable tragedies occurred. Now grown and married to Carlos (Fernando Cayo), Laura has bought the abandoned home and moved there with Carlos and their adopted son Simon (Roger Princep) in the hopes of turning the former orphanage into a home for disabled children.

Needless to say, things start going bump in the night (and the daytime as well) as Simon begins playing with friends that no one else can see.

The Orphanage follows the basic template of horror stories, but first-time director Bayona still manages to build some surprises and suspense within the formula.

More importantly, The Orphanage manages to create some real emotional underpinnings to the story, thanks mainly to the excellent Rueda, who truly carries the film from its beginning to its intriguing end.

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