I never thought that I’d cry over a scary movie. I mean, I thought the ending of Dark Water was sad but it didn’t really move me much. Nang-nak was sad too towards the end… but no.. my eyes were dry. But The Orphanage… now that’s one spooky movie with a really touching end.
I bought the DVD a while back but have never had the time or guts to watch it. I know my husband doesn’t want to watch with me. He’ll just leave the room if I were to even put the movie into the player.
So, this morning, I found a pocket of time to finally watch it – while folding the laundry and doing some ironing. I have read the spoilers on wikipedia, so I roughly knew how the story went. But that will not prepare you for the experience of watching this Spanish film.
I have to say that this movie has one of the best cinematography I’ve ever seen. It’s beautifully shot and well told.
The Orphanage is a story about Laura and her husband Carlos and their young son Simon. In the beginning, you get the idea that Laura is an orphan who was adopted around the time she was six or seven. Laura had bought over the orphanage where she grew up in and had planned to turn it into a home for special needs children. I think the story got creepy after Laura and Simon went to a cave by the beach to pick up sea shells. I don’t know what possessed Laura to allow Simon to enter the dark, creepy cave on his own, but she did. What was worse was that Simon started talking to a new imaginary friend (he already had two) whom he called Tomas. He had conveniently invited Tomas so they can play. In case Tomas doesn’t know where they live, Simon proceeded to leave sea shells along the way ala Hansel and Gretel. Naturally, strange things started to happen after that.
I won’t say The Orphanage is completely original. Halfway through you can probably guess how the story is going to end. Just think Peter Pan and Dark Water. But the “journey” to the end of the story is the best part. Although the ending feels familiar but some (if not most) of the scares in the movie are quite clever. There are no annoying “suddenly loud” sound effects to make you jolt but I had goosebumps watching some of the scenes — I dare say that’s a first for me.
But what really caught me by surprise was how I was moved by the ending. I have never cried seeing a scary movie before — that’s another first for me!
If you’re a fan of this genre, I really recommend The Orphanage. It’s in Spanish but the sub-title is really good — not annoying at all. The acting is solid (from the main actress to the supporting characters) and the scenes flow naturally.
If you like Japanese and Korean horror movies, you will like this too, because it has all the elements needed to scare you — big, poorly-light house with lots of rooms, and strange noises coming from the walls etc — minus the annoying, evil spirits that seem to kill/terrorise people for no good reason (think Ju-On).
You can catch this movie on Astro Box Office this month (I think) or you can go the bootleg way and get you a pi-ra-te version. Quality audio-visual guaranteed.