my Movie

Movie Details

Title:   The Orphanage
Director:   Juan Antonio Bayona
Year:   2007
Genre:   Ghost
Times Seen:   1
Last Seen:   09.26.07

Other Movies Seen By This Director (0)

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
09.26.07Alamo South LamarThis Screening is part of event: FantasticFest 2007
So the third secret screening is Guillermo del Toro-presented The Orphanage. SURPRISE! Actually I didn't know for 100% sure until they announced it but... come on. The director and writer were there and Guillermo had a quick video intro to boot.

Um... so it's about a woman who moves back into the orphanage of her past to renovate and re-open it but her adopted son (with invisible friends) disappears and she's led through a ghost story in her search to find him.

Everyone... well, most people around me seemed to really like it. So I'm in the minority here. But I couldn't get into it at all. It looks pretty, it's well-made and all, but I had problems (both big and small) that kept me from ever really enjoying it. The one that came immediately to mind, while not being the biggest, is that she has these huge iron poles in her closet. I GUESS they are leftovers from unseen scaffolding that went along to the faint offscreen audio of people working early in the film but for the most part they are just heavy iron poles clunking around in the closet and I have no idea why they're there. They kind of figure prominently in the story though - like they come into play two or three times - so every time they show up I thought "why are those even there?"

On a broader level, the movie seemed awfully familiar to me. I respect that a lot of the talent behind the film are first-timers and think it's not a bad movie in any conventional sense of the word, but the thing I look for from young filmmakers is not to see established stories executed very well. I leave that for the Woody Allens (Match Point) and David Cronenbergs (History of Violence). From young filmmakers I want something new, and nothing in this movie was new. I saw them getting together and saying "hey! Let's see if we can make a movie just like everyone else's!" and in that they were successfull. The car kill, the paranormal research, the creepy ghost children, the haunted house... they've all been done better in other films and without anything original to hang onto it all feels like reproductions to me.

And the music was awful. Talk about manipulating emotions. I think the Patch Adams score was less blatant. There were a couple of jump scares where I knew something was coming but still jumped because of pure reflex. It's like the music included gunshots right next to your ear to ensure you will react. Not cool.

I feel bad being a negative nelly about this. I truly honestly wanted to like it but... I mean really, what doctor would even attempt CPR or mouth-to-mouth on someone looking like that?
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