Movie: The Orphanage
My Rating: 3 stars
I’m almost always in the mood for a good, old-fashioned ghost story. And, you’re going to have a hard time finding a place more haunted than an old, abandoned orphanage (except for an old, abandoned mental hospital, maybe). But, this is a good, classic haunting. Plus, it’s a Spanish film, so we get to enjoy listening to the actors’ delightfully lisping Castilian accents. Laura grew up at an orphanage, but she was a pretty, little thing, so she was quickly adopted by a nice family. Unfortunately, not long after she left the institution, all the little orphan friends she grew up with died under very suspicious circumstances. The orphanage closed not long after. Now that Laura is an adult with a family of her own, she’s decided that it’d be a great idea to go back and buy the old building, refurbish it, and turn it into a brand new, modern orphanage.
What could possibly go wrong? Well, the ghosts of a bunch of little, dead, Spanish orphans wandering the dark hallways of this creaky, old school could certainly throw a wrench in the works. And, if it’s not the ghosts causing trouble, then it’s certainly the creepy, old woman who keeps loitering around the grounds, rummaging through storage closets and tool sheds. What a nightmare! So it’s up to Laura to do a little sleuthing to figure out what’s going on. She wants to learn what happened to her little friends so long ago. If she can make things right, then maybe their souls can find peace. But, there’s a lot of scary things that happen before we get to any kind of resolution. There’s nothing creepier than a little dead kid. Especially one that appears at the end of dark hallways and just stares at you. Yikes! To make matters worse, Laura’s husband and child don’t seem to notice that anything weird is going on. They just think that Mom’s going crazy. Apparently hauntings are very hard on a marriage.
This is good example of a classic-style ghost story. Sometimes it’s fun to go back to the old-fashioned stuff. The story sticks to a familiar form, and doesn’t try to shock audiences with bizarre twists, or gross-out horror. In fact, I don’t think I’d really classify this movie as horror at all. “Ghost story” really sums it up more accurately. The script sticks to stirring up that queasy chill deep in your guts. And, it’ll have you getting a little paranoid when it’s time to turn off all the lights for bed. I really enjoyed this one. And, it’s probably appropriate for a slightly wider audience than just the horror kids. Although, you still have to be prepared to be a little scared.