Orphan
R
Entertainment: +1
Acceptability: -4

Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman. Horror thriller. Written by David Leslie Johnson. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra.

FILM SYNOPSIS: The tragic loss of their unborn child has devastated Kate and John, taking a toll on both their marriage and Kateís fragile psyche as she is plagued by nightmares and haunted by demons from her past. Struggling to regain some semblance of normalcy in their lives, the couple decides to adopt another child. At the local orphanage, both John and Kate find themselves strangely drawn to a young girl named Esther. Almost as soon as they welcome Esther into their home, however, an alarming series of events begins to unfold, leading Kate to believe that thereís something wrong with Estheróthis seemingly angelic little girl is not what she appears to be. Concerned for the safety of her family, Kate tries to get John and others to see past Estherís sweet facade. But her warnings go unheeded until it may be too lateÖfor everyone.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Overly familiar, poorly written and too long, Orphan does little to distinguish the genre. Itís an insult to those who have tragically lost a child and negative towards adoption. That said the 10:00 pm screening was filled with horror club and spook enthusiasts who seemed enthralled. Whoís right? Me or the living dead?

Admittedly, itís scary. But itís filled with countless fake out musical jolts (I expected the cat to suddenly jump out at some point). Whatís frightening is the premise that a child could manipulate adults. I first became aware of that unnerving concept with a TV-viewing of the 1950s film, The Bad Seed. Now that was a creepy chick. Then in 1993, Macaulay Culkin wsa a pre-teen sociopath in The Good Son. And letís not forget the son of Satan in The Omen. There have been a jillion others that imitated this killer kid subgenre. Strangely, most fail to be memorable because the adults are always dumber than a bagful of hammers. Nobody tries to write these things smartly. They think the sudden musical sting is supposed to unnerve us or the sight of a kid stabbing an adult to death. Well, Iíll give you, that image is pretty spooky.

Let me give you an example of poor writing (other than my own limited ability). Early on, the little girl uses the f-bomb. This shocks her movie mother and us as well. The wife later describes the offense to her husband. In a way this is a use of language. It jolted those around her. And when the leadís son uses the word, then we understand that the child is having a negative effect on the rest of the family. Again, this is a use of language. I have no problem with that. But when both mother and father use the obscenity throughout the film, it both takes away from the effectiveness of the one incident and also reveals a limited vocabulary by the writer and the actors. So, itís not just offensive morally. Itís also bad writing to overuse a strong word.

Then thereís the not so subtle Christian bashing. The orphan prays at mealtime; an act that stuns the rest of the family. Okay, theyíre not religious. But when the child brings her Bible to school, the other kids taunt her for being a ďJesusĒ freak. It seems no one else in the entire movie (other than the orphanage nuns) is religious, except the homicidal maniac. Now, letís see. If the filmís antagonist had been strong in the Jewish faith or had been gay, then we could have expected an outrage from reviewers and members of the offended groups. But little to nothing will be said to defend members of the Christian faith.

Itís not that important, as the film is of so little significance. But far too many films are used to demonize members of the Christian faith. Is there much happening in our society to defend, support or positively recognize churchgoers? No. Talk about irony. We Christians pay members of the entertainment industry to insult us. They donít like Christ and we support them despite that fact.

Phil Boatwright is the author of MOVIES: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE REALLY, REALLY BAD. For details on the book, go to the Preview home page.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Dark Castle Entertainment/ Warner Bros.

Summary
Crude Language: Several crude remarks
Obscene Language: Around 10 obscenities, mostly the f-word, a couple of them from kids.
Profanity: Both Godís name and Christís are profaned at least once.
Violence: Jolting and violent imagery such as a child killing a bird by crushing it to death; this same child kills a woman by beating her to death with a hammer Ė bloody, she then stabs a person to death by continually shoving the knife in; we see other extremely violent and murderous deeds, which I will not describe here; to frame the mother figure, the orphan breaks her own arm; a nauseating scene. Blood: Lots of blood.
Sexual Intercourse: Two sexual situations, one becoming graphic.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Upset with the days events, the husband drinks an entire bottle of wine.
Other: Negative religious connotations
Running Time: 123 minutes
Intended Audience: Adult fans of this sub-genre Ė the kid from Hell

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