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Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Screenplay: David Johnson, Alex Mace
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman, CCH Pounder, Jimmy Bennett
Producers: Joel Silver, Leonardo DiCaprio, Susan Downey
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Family is, and has always been, a cornerstone of the human experience. It is the glue that binds us together, both as people and as a society. The members of our family are the ones who lift us when we are down, bolster our spirits when we falter and support us for—and sometimes in spite of—who we are. So it comes as no surprise that whenever that bond is put in jeopardy by some outside menace (whether real or imagined), our reaction is deep, resounding and formidable.
But what if the threat came not from outside the familial unit, but from inside it? What if it centered in a member of the family itself? What would you do if you realized that your son or daughter was, for example, another Jeffrey Dahmer? Suddenly, loyalties become muddied and the course of action not so clear. This conundrum is the hallmark of an iconic wing of the horror pantheon: the evil-child subgenre. From Mervyn LeRoy's classic THE BAD SEED to the HOME ALONE kid going berserk in Joseph Ruben's THE GOOD SON and on through to George Ratliff's recent JOSHUA, this type of screen terror is a time-honoured one.
In ORPHAN, troubled mom Kate Coleman (played by JOSHUA's Vera Farmiga, no less) has recently suffered a horrible miscarriage, and though she already has two kids, she wants another, but can't. She and her husband John (indie fave Peter Sarsgaard) really wanted this child, so they decide to adopt and find Esther (talented newcomer Isabelle Fuhrman), who seems like the perfect little girl to bring into their family. They take her home, and obviously she is not what she appears to be. Esther has a dark side that they're not aware of, and she begins insinuating herself into the home and turning the family against Kate. Before long, animals are being viciously mutilated, suspicious adults bloodily murdered and ultimately (like the fest's other smash, THE CHILDREN), its parent vs. child. ORPHAN director Jaume Collet-Serra promises that his film is not just another entry in the killer kid sweepstakes, but instead a twist-filled shocker that will rank with the best in this twisted little field