Few films in recent months have been quite as bad as this stinker. I love horror films, even the retreads, even the shockers with obvious plots, but ‘Orphan’ has next to no redeeming features. Seemingly loving couple Peter Sarsgaard and Vera Farmiga lose their third child, and in the depths of their grief decide to adopt older child Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman). But Esther is (shockingly) more than she seems! Slowly she turns Sarsgaard against Farmiga, engineering various maimings and killings against people who wrong her, from the class bully through to the nun who cared for her in the orphanage. But bizarrely only Farmiga notices, despite overwhelming evidence pointing to Furhman, whilst Fuhrman inexplicably succeeds in coopting children Aryana Engineer and Jimmy (very young Kirk in ‘Star Trek‘) Bennett to keep geting her way. Despite overwhelming evidence that she remains on the wagon, Farmiga’s alcoholism is blamed for pretty much everything, as Fuhrman nears her ultimate goal – Sarsgaard himself!
Esther ultimately wants Sarsgaard sexually, but she’s a dwarf pretending to be a child so that’s ok. Huh? Quite. And in one of her many jealous rages she ends up killing him, before getting taken (shockingly I know) out by Farmiga who ends up rescuing her children, mostly from the stupidity of her now dead husband, his stupid family and her implausably incompetent shrink. It takes over two hours to get there, without any sense of humour about itself, hampered by a laughably bad script by David Johnson and no real interest in creating interesting or sympathetic characters (or their development) by director Jaume Collet-Serra. The shocks are barely shocking, the acting is poor (Fuhrman isn’t bad I’ll admit), and the twist doesn’t just leave a bad taste in the mouth, it (and much of Esther’s dialogue) just feels like the audience has been taken advantage of. Don’t even bother with the DVD. 3/10