Monday, July 27, 2009

Movie Review: Orphan

Requester: CC & MS

Normally, I would make a feeble attempt at a clever introduction or interesting analogy to open this review. However, watching Orphan has drained me of any ability to be original or compelling. This is one of the most laughably awful movies I have seen in some time. I was really banking on the ability to say, “at least it was better than Transformers” for most of the summer. Well, now I can’t. Thanks a lot, Orphan.

Perhaps it’s a matter of expectations. If you go to Orphan expecting a psychological thriller or effective horror movie, you will be sorely disappointed. If you’re looking for a movie where the character’s actions don’t make sense, the dialogue is implausibly awful, and there’s a twist so ridiculous you’ll laugh, then Orphan might be a five-star experience for you. The only slightly redeeming quality to this movie is Vera Farmiga’s performance as Kate, a recovering alcoholic who’s plagued by the miscarriage of her third child. Farmiga’s level of commitment to her character is admirable, considering she’s steering a sinking ship. Aryana Engineer is also effective as Max, Kate’s five-year-old daughter, who’s deafness lends itself to the only cleverly crafted horror scene in the movie.

Well, that’s the “positive feedback” portion of this review. I really don’t know if I can properly describe how awful the rest of this film is. I think I found myself laughing at the movie more than anything else. I think the most offensive thing about the movie was the way in which Isabelle Fuhrman was exploited as the title character. The deplorable things she had to do and say made me worry about her future. In a film like the Exorcist, it was pretty clear that Linda Blair wasn’t involved in the really terrible things her character was doing. Not so in Orphan. When Esther murders someone with a hammer, it’s Fuhrman. When Esther tries to seduce an older man, it’s Fuhrman. Etcetera.

Also, the movie is ridiculously scary. Let me clarify. It’s not scary to a point that’s ridiculous. Its attempts at scares are ludicrous. The clich├ęd use of mirrors, fridge doors, and loud noises make it seem like this movie is trying to be a traditional horror movie. Combine this with the psychological component and you have something that’s too big for its metaphorical britches. Jack of all trades and master of none, so to speak.

This movie sucks. What a waste.

Rating: 1/5 stars

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