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Orphan – Rating: D

Submitted by on August 5, 2009 – 12:37 PMNo Comment
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Orphan-Poster-Vera_Farmiga-Peter_SarsgaardKids can be some creepy little critters. Horror classics like The Omen, Village of the Damned and even Pet Cemetery continue to send shivers down our spines. And for every great horror film comes an abundance of horrendous knockoffs, looking to outperform their predecessors. Orphan sticks to the horror blueprint, providing violently gory and blood splattering deaths audiences will go ballistic over, but disappointingly produces premature thrills with a little to none scare factor.

Regrouping after the loss of their third child, John (Peter Sarsgaard) and Kate Coleman (Vera Farmiga) bear much deeper burdens. This sorrow driven mother is a recuperating alcoholic who lives with the responsibility of causing her younger daughter’s hearing deficiency. Looking to fill the empty void from Kate’s miscarriage, the couple decides to visit the adoption agency, where they become head over heels for 9-year old Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman)—an articulate and mature Russian girl with an alluring personality and a hidden agenda.

Now an official member of the Coleman family, Esther’s dark side begins to unravel. She creeps up on family members at the most awkward times, lies about her talents and manipulates family members into assuming she’s a sweet as strawberry shortcake. But as strange incidents and “accidental” deaths begin to plague those who even step foot on the Coleman porch, Kate starts to discover her newly adopted daughter is more than she bargained for. She’s pretty much the epitome of a female Damien.

Here’s a film that tries to preach parental responsibility, but fails to practice it. All attention is focused on Fuhrman’s mischievous character rather, so both parent roles are left to work with what little onscreen moments they’ve been blessed with. Sarsgaard provides a few good laughs as the naive father, but Farmiga is a paranoid mess who looks as if a shot of Jameson would bring her back to reality and do her some good. She’s more of an escaped mental patient than a concerned mother. Fuhrman does a solid job as the dark-haired princess of evil Esther; its unfortunate she won’t garner any positive feedback because of the uneventful script.

It’s pretty amazing to see how gullible are in a scary movie, especially when it comes to children. So when this little hellraiser has everyone siding with her, even though she’s been caught in the act multiple times doing wrong, that’s when you realize the absurdity behind the Orphan. All motives for why Esther is a 9-year old killing machine is sealed and never revealed. Scream taught us motives are overrated gibberish for a serial killer, but considering the sluggish development throughout the film, Orphan only proves it’s in dire need of one.

duvelThis film desperately seeks to be what The Omen is, but isn’t even in the same lane as The Good Son. The scares are geriatric and the acting is mediocre to say the least. Horror fans might find more scares from a Vin Diesel family comedy. Those looking for a worthy horror film should hold out until Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 or The Final Destination.

Beer Pairing: The recommendation here is Duvel. Might as well get some of the devil in you after experiencing horrific entertainment.