Movie Review: The Orphanage (El Orfanato)

A simple yet captivating ghost story with one of the greatest twist endings of all time.

As a young orphan, Laura lived a happy childhood in a Spanish house. 30 years later, she goes back to her dilapidated orphanage to open a home for disabled children with her husband and adopted kid, Simon. While preparing the house, the kid finds out he’s adopted and threatens to run away with his invisible friend named Tomas. At the opening day after an argument with his mom, Simon disappears. Desperate to find her son, Laura stays in the orphanage while her husband leaves, revealing the institution’s hidden past and the answer she’s been looking for.

At its core, the film is a simple ghost story, but expertly crafted to draw you in and creep you out. Its slow pace creates a sense of atmosphere that places the audience within the orphanage’s old halls. Belen Rueda creates a relatable character that you will invest in, so much that you can’t help but feel her heartbreak in the end. The movie aligns itself with her mental state, turning the movie into a psychological mystery that’s both horrific and beautiful.

The film is a creative break from horror movie trends that involve cheap thrills and CGI tricks. For those people with long attention spans who are tired of remakes and slasher flicks, this is a must watch.

My Rating: 8/10

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