Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Orphanage (El Orfanato)


--Reviewed by Lindy Loo


Plotline: As a little girl, Laura grew up in an orphanage--as an adult, she returns with her family to the very same orphanage to live. When her child vanishes one day, without even a single clue as to his disappearance, she begins to unearth horrific truths about the orphanage, and about her son's whereabouts.

Scariness factor: Wow. In all honesty: This is the CREEPIEST movie I've seen in YEARS. It's old-school, haunted house, goddamn spooky, jump-in-your-seat-and-turn-all-your-lights-on scary.

Gross-Out Factor: There is only one scene that is sticking out in my head, and it's moreso creeps than gross.



Complaints: None nada nil.

High Points: Spookiest movie I've seen in years. Hand's down. It's so nice to stumble across a horror flick every once in a while where the writer/director just 100% GET it--they understand what makes a horror film spooky. And this is one such film. The acting is FANTASTIC. The story is wonderfully-written. It reminds me of when I used to read the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series when I was little--there's that recognition that what is so damn scary about a story is so often that it is unapologetic in the twists and turns it takes, and in the dark ways that it ends itself. There are scenes in here that will TERRIFY the SHIT out of you. And so MANY of them. The scene with the medium is one such example--flawless. And there are a couple other scenes too--which I won't delve into, lest I give them away--where you will be all white-knuckled and realize you're holding your breath. The cinematography is GORGEOUS in here. And the film is subtle--it doesn't overdo ANYthing. It takes tiny steps, and it takes them carefully, and in doing so, it builds up some killer suspense and spookiness. Seriously a fantastic ghost story, one reminiscent of such greats as the original The Haunting.



Overall: How you know a horror film has truly succeeded--later in the night, when you find yourself walking through your apartment with your lights out, you feel that nervous horribleness creep up on you to the point of suffocation, causing you to scurry over and turn your lights on. Truly the best ghost story I've seen in years. I highly highly recommend. Yesterday, I said to add Infection to your list--today, I say: If you can only watch one horror film this Halloween season, fuck Infection. Let it be this one.

Grade: A+

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17 Comments:

At 8:00 AM, Anonymous Kimberly said...

I saw it earlier this year in the theater. It truly is a great and creepy movie. If you haven't already, check out "The Devil's Backbone" also by Del Toro.

 
At 7:50 PM, Blogger Bijoux said...

Lindy: Guillermo Del Toro has quickly become my numero uno favourite director of horror films. I have already seen "El Orphanato" and I LOVED it!!

Which scene did you find gross? Was it the fingernail scene?

I know that feeling of walking around after seeing a scary movie and feeling edgy about the dark corners of your house.

Kimberly: "The Devil's Backbone" was the first Del Toro film I ever watched and it was also very good. His name stuck in my mind and now whenever a Del Toro movie comes out, I HAVE to see it.

 
At 7:33 AM, Anonymous Lindy Loo said...

Yeah, I saw The Devil's Backbone too, but it must've been before I started this blog, seeing as I appear to never have reviewed it. Anyways, Bijoux, it was the scene where the lady gets hit. It wasn't so much gorey as shocking and horrific. But still: to some people, gorey. And I was gonna mention Del Toro when I was reviewing this movie, but he didn't actually direct this one: he just produced it. I think.

 
At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Kimberly said...

Just checked IMDB and you're right, Del Toro didn't direct it. I probably thought Del Toro directed it because his name was being thrown around a lot when it was marketed in the U.S.

 
At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Lindy Loo said...

Yeah, I thought the exact same thing actually. When I went to write this review, I was ready to yammer on and on about how all his movies are so good and creepy etc etc and then I noticed that it said DEL TORO PRESENTS at the top of the dvd. =P That's like the third time recently that I've made that mistake. It almost seems like they're making the boxes deliberately confusing so that people will see the name at the top and assume it's a film by that person.

 
At 7:57 PM, OpenID shinda-x-x said...

I agree with you one hundred percent! I saw this movie a few months ago and it had me still thinking about it hours later. I'm glad you mentioned just how subtle everything is in the movie, how they don't overdo anything because that is one reason I really liked this movie.

 
At 12:00 AM, Blogger Bijoux said...

oops! Director, producer, tomato, tomatoe, LOL - yes, I know, not the same thing. I need to pay better attention to those details :)

 
At 5:14 AM, Anonymous Jenn said...

I'm thinking that I need to give this movie another shot. I saw it once and wasn't too crazy about it, but so many other people loved it that I think I need to sit down and focus.

 
At 7:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you please watch and review [Rec]. I've been dying to get my hands on it and watch it before quarantine comes out, but unfortunately I cannot find it anywhere. Hopefully you can review it.

 
At 10:23 AM, Anonymous Lindy Loo said...

Hey, anon. Which movie is it you wanted me to watch and review? If I can get my hands on it in a timely manner, I'll gladly do so...

 
At 8:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

[Rec] is a Spanish zombie flick. It's supposed to be "one of the scariest films ever". Its being remade into Quarantine, even though [Rec] just came out 1 year ago. I think that American filmmakers want to capitalize on quarantine so they haven't released [Rec] yet in the states. I really want to see it sooo bad. That being said, I really like your blog!

 
At 2:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, I saw [Rec] yesterday. It was a really good movie and you should check it out for yourself. My cousin downloaded it on a bittorrent website and we all watched it together. It wasn't "the scariest film of all time" (that still belongs to "the Exorcist") but it was more of a scary roller-coaster ride of a horror film and definitely on my top-ten list of scary films. I couldn't even sleep last night without leaving the light on! I guess that's a good sign.

 
At 8:03 PM, Blogger Seabird said...

Oh my... You still haven't reviewed Friday the 13th?

Tsk... Tsk... TSK-A...

 
At 7:15 AM, Anonymous Lindy Loo said...

Oooh, shit, anon! I couldn't find that at the library, so I'm gonna have to see if my video store has it. Top 10 though?!? Wow!

And Seabird: I've seen but before this blog was started. I will add that to my list for the month though. BOSSY! ; )

 
At 6:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, you are not going to find it at a library, it hasn't been released in the states! But I have a link of the movie which is streaming on the internet, if you don't mind watching on your computer. Trust me, it is really worth a watch.
http://www.megavideo.com/?v=Y1VGBXW4

 
At 2:10 PM, Anonymous Lindy Loo said...

Poop! I don't have the internets at home. =P

Damnation.

 
At 9:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheesus! I guess you were never meant to watch this movie. The people from the website removed it for infringement anyway. Oh well its not a big loss.

 

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