Orphan is a film that I wasn't particularly interested in at first. The whole theme of the film has been done several times in the past and this particular premise seemed entirely too similar to 1993's The Good Son starring Macaulay Culkin and Elijah Wood. It wasn't until the movie actually started getting positive reviews that I became interested. Sadly around this time the film's clever ending was spoiled to me, so I wasn't able to enjoy the climax as much as I wanted. Either way, I still enjoyed the flick enough to pick it up on blu-ray when it was released.
The story follows a married couple who are in the process of adopting a new child for their home. Although already the parents of two children, they hope that the new addition to the family will fill in the gap of the child that could've been. Apparently the mother (Vera Farmiga) lost their third child during the pregnancy and haven't quite gotten over the incident. So, in comes little Esther -- a seemingly intelligent and well mannered girl, whom the two take a liking to right away. However, we soon learn that Esther isn't as nice as she seems to be...
As I said before, I really liked this flick, and would even go as far as to say that it's probably one of the better "killer-kid" flicks to come out of the genre. To top things off, the movie is actually quite violent, as the filmmakers opted to not hold back on the blood and sometimes shocking violent deaths, especially when it's coming from a little girl. Much like with other movies within the particular sub-genre, a lot of manipulation and disbelief is apparent with key characters in the pic. Namely, the mother, who suspects Esther of being a troubled child fairly early on. Of course, the dad is pretty much left in the dark until towards the end.
By the time the film nears its climax, things really kick into high gear and our little Esther goes into full kill mode; as if she were some sort of Chucky/Jason Voorhees hybrid. Craziness! But damned if it wasn't entertaining!
This is one of those rare occasions where a known sub-genre is taken to new heights by a clever script and talented director. Orphan doesn't skimp on the blood and even offers some fairly shocking violence (coming from a little girl that is). The movie keeps at a solid pace throughout, and delivers a great climax, which even I never would have guessed early on (had I not already known the ending). Worth a check if you're into killer-kid flicks or if you're just looking for a solid genre effort.