The Orphanage (2007)

     Sometimes there’s just nothing like a good ol’ haunted house story. In movie The Orphanage, director Juan Antonio Bayona and producer Guillermo Del Toro prove that you don’t need evisceration, decapitation, and exsanguination to make a modern horror film. This mystery/horror stars Belen Rueda, Fernando Cayo, and Roger Princep.

Laura (Belen Rueda) decides to move into and re-open the orphanage she grew up in with her husband, Carlos (Fernando Cayo) and her son, Simon (Roger Princep). Simon has several imaginary friends, which his parents pay little attention to, until Simon vanishes into thin air. Soon after Simon’s disappearance, strange events begin to occur in the house and Laura and Carlos begin to realize that they are not alone in their new home. As Laura begins to investigate a little further, she realizes that her old orphanage roommates never left the old house and may hold the key to finding her son.

     The script and sound for this movie were quite refreshing. It was good to see a horror movie with a good story that doesn’t rely on cutting off limbs or other sadistic forms of torture. Yes, there were a couple of gory moments, but it mainly focuses on strange noises, doors closing on their own, eerie music, and unknown voices to provide its good jolts and scares. There were several scenes where you will absolutely jump out of your seat. The way the story turned out was so gut-wrenching that I almost felt nauseous from shock and disbelief.

    The main character in this movie was quite interesting and likeable. Belen Rueda gave a memorable and believable performance as a grieving mother who was focused and determined to find her son. If your heart doesn’t bleed for a mother missing her child, then you can’t possibly be human. I was a little disappointed with the father’s character. He just seemed sort of unsupportive and ready to give up on looking for his son. He was also the one who thought the idea of ghosts was crazy and had an explanation for every strange occurrence in the house, but every haunted house movie has one of those characters, right?

     I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I sat down to watch this movie. I had never heard of it and I had no idea what it was about, so I didn’t really have any expectations. I was pleasantly surprised with this film and I enjoyed its uniqueness. The setting, script, acting, sound, and directing all meshed well together to make this one of the best horror movies I had seen in quite a while. It’s tough to find a horror movie with a good story that makes you jump, gives you chills, and keeps you interested in the storyline all at the same time.

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