Although it was released as a companion piece to THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE and was even presented by Guillermo del Toro, the similarities between the two films end at the setting and spiritual beings. THE ORPHANAGE begins with a couple moving in to the wife's former orphanage with their sick son and the intention to re-open its closed doors. After her son mysteriously disappears, she fears his imaginary friends may be terrifyingly real when strange happenings begin taking place within the home. Will the spirits help lead her to her missing boy, or do they have some other evil intent? Though the scares are relatively few, strong performances by each of the leads, dark labyrinthine sets, and a haunting score each contribute to an overall moody atmosphere and constant state of tension. The film received international acclaim following its release, and while I recognize that it displays better than average filmmaking, I am still relatively unimpressed by it and find myself wanting more out of the story. I can't help but feel like the film is an imitation (though be it a good one) at every turn, but I do like the fairy tale theme that resurfaces at the end. THE ORPHANAGE is a good film and should be seen, it is just no where near as frightening as it had been made out to be.
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