Thursday, May 29, 2008

Second star to the right and straight on until morning

In what can only be called a win by Netflix users everywhere, I finally sat down to watch El Orphanato, aka The Orphanage. I think I got it in the mail about a month ago. Yeah. And it's just been sitting there. Waiting. Taunting me. "Come and waaaaatcchh me...." In my defense though, I haven't been home much the past month. It's no excuse, I know. I have a portable DVD player, and I have watched and reviewed movies while in airplanes and airports, haven't I?

What the hell took me so long????

It's engaging, it's creepy as all hell. It's tragic and heartbreaking. And the ending still manages to leave you feeling good. Kind of like Pan's Labyrinth while being NOTHING like Pan's Labyrinth.

Laura was an orphan, an orphan who got adopted. Years later, as an adult, she adopts a little boy and with him and her husband, they go back and buy Laura's former orphanage with the intention of opening up their own orphanage, I guess. That part isn't really clear, and really isn't vital to the story. What's important to know is that they're back.

However, during the grand opening/open house party, Laura has an argument with Simon and he then goes missing. She's sure that the house is haunted and that he's still around, but no one else really believes her.

And that is, really, a necessity for any good ghost/haunting/haunted house type movie. There has to be the possibility that it's true and also the possibility that it's not. And a really good movie will leave you guessing about it, even in the end. And this is a good one.

Like I said, it's a creepy movie. It's unsettling without being gory and full of quick edits. There's tension and atmosphere and it just build throughout the movie. It helps, too, that it's a beautifully shot movie. Everything feels so deliberate, every angle, every choice. Nothing ever feels out of place. It's well acted, it's well shot, it's well written, and it's well directed. I'm curious to see what director J.A. Bayona does next.

I am just in awe of this movie. I have to buy this movie. I have to see it again. I have to tell every horror fan I know to watch this movie. Who ever would have thought that you could set Peter Pan in a haunted house and get something so compelling? 9 sacks full of ashes found in the furnace out of 10.


Fletch said...

I've avoided spoiling this for people, but it's been 6 months or so, so I think I'm safe.

I absolutely LOVED the fact that this was a ghost story with no ghosts. So well-produced and heavy and creepy. The Peter Pan aspect only adds gravitas.

Unknown said...

The great thing was the Peter Pan thing was never over played. It was subtle. You didn't really see it coming, but at the same time you could. All of a sudden, the movie ends and it dawns on you. It was just incredibly well played.

Unknown said...

Is Simon the kid or the husband?

Unknown said...

Simon is the kid.