With Halloween just around the corner, The Orphan is the perfect movie to start sending shivers down your spine. Not needing to rely on blood and gore, and with no vampires or living dead in sight, it will instead reel you in with it's clever story line.

This 2009 release stars Peter Sarsgaard and Vera Farmiga (who you may recognise from The Conjuring) as Kate & John Coleman. Struggling to deal with their grief over the loss of their still born child, and in an effort to rebuild their strained marriage, they decide to adopt a 9 year old Russian girl from St. Marina Orphanage.
alt Enter the true star of the movie Isabelle Fuhrman (who later went on to appear in both The Ghost Whisper and The Hunger Games) Fuhrman's performance was acclaimed and positively received, and deservedly so. Her ability to play Esther with an eerie & "something's not quite right about her" tone is on point.

Esther is so sweet and well behaved, she quickly wins over her adoptive parents, affirming her place within her new family. Young Max (played by Aryana Engineer in her debut role, and who is in fact deaf in real life) is at first enchanted with the her new sister. Her brother Danny Jimmy Bennett (who seems to regularly appear as the middle child in a number of suspense and thriller movies) is not so convinced, and in fact a little disgruntled with her arrival. It quickly becomes apparent that he may be on to something.

Esther startles Kate with a knowledge of sex far beyond her years, and Kate begins to suspect that she may have harbored a troubled past. Her suspicions are further confirmed when Sister Abigail (head of the orphanage) warns "bad things happen when Esther is around" Esther's apparent maturity and extraordinary talents in painting and piano, mask a manipulative and chilling secret.

John on the other hand, takes a little longer to convince and Kate's concerns fall on deaf ears. With Kate having recently overcome a drinking problem (following the devastating loss of her child), he is reluctant to believe her. As Kate delves further into Esther's past, the plot really begins to thicken and you'll be hard pressed not to find your self gripping the edge of your chair in anticipation.
alt

Reminiscent of the red doorknobs and floating balloon in the Sixth Sense, the clues are indeed there. Yet Fuhrman is so convincing in her portrayal, you'll be kicking your self you didn't see the signs before they smack you in the face.

What I love about this movie, is without any spectacular special effects it full on scared me. It's the kind of scary that creeps up on you & has you turning on every light in the house, when you wake up in the middle of the night needing to go to the bathroom. Yet it is a movie about a family loving enough to welcome a young orphan into their home. A little girl who is overjoyed to be placed with the family she yearns for, and eager to show her appreciation. So just what makes it so fricken creepy! Best you watch and find out for your self.

5 out of 5 stars

Ange Sagapolutele