The Orphanage (El Orfanato)May 8, 2008
Yet another one where the post was lost and has been a while…
A Spanish mystery/horror film that is fairly well done and very atmospheric.
It centres around Belén Rueda‘s character who is absolutely superb in the role. Without her the film would be fairly lifeless and she brings a great mania that keeps you entertained.
The film starts off well- with an old scene of children playing a game outside and was actually a little more unnerving than a later scene of the same type. The timing of the film is also well done for the duration- sets the stage nice and slow with the interaction of the mother and father and son while only slowly introducing other characters and the bits of vital information.
The story itself is a good idea and there are some good themes that run throughout- some are fairly easy to guess at but the way that they are woven together keeps the story moving at a good pace.
When the son has imaginary friends you just know what is coming but you only find out what happened to the other children in the orphanage after he goes missing. The game that he is playing with the mother of course is the key to the film and the film does slow down a tad bit too much between the drama of him disappearing and when she starts to play the game. The physic is one of the more memorable scenes at this stage- it is something that has been done numerous times but it manages to build the tension quite a bit. When it finally looks like she has cracked is when the tension really mounts and leads to a great conclusion of what had happened to the children. While the scene itself wasn’t that scary it probably wasn’t the best time for the mobile to start vibrating in the pocket!
The conclusion to the film is quite good as well and a bit moving- you can guess what will happen by the events of the beginning of the film but it was a touching scene.
Overall it was a very good film- atmospheric and keeps you entertained.