Monday, January 21, 2008

The Orphanage (2007)

I've finally figured out that I'm not as much of a horror fan as I thought I was. I like the fantasy/scifi elements of monster movies and my absolute favorite horror movies are actually mysteries. The Orphanage falls into that category.

It's the story of a woman who grew up in an orphanage before she was adopted. Now, a parent herself, she moves back into the orphange with her husband and son, planning to reopen it and give other children the same positive experience she did. Unfortunately, her son begins hearing voices and talking about creepy imaginary friends and before too long he disappears.

Now Mom has to figure out where he is by putting together supernatural clues in order to find out a) what happened at the orphanage after she left and b) what those events have to do with her boy. It's a clever mystery, creepily presented (with underwater caves, secret passageways, mysterious old women with shovels, spooky ghost children, and a scarecrow mask), that makes sense and satisfies when it's done. There's a lot of style to the film, but it supports a well-crafted plot, which is nice because usually I find that stylish films are trying to hide a crap plot.

With Guillermo del Toro attached as producer, I'm not surprised that it's good. It's just nice to not be disappointed.

Five out of five creepy scarecrow boys.

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