Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
Original title: El Orfanato
Spain/Mexico, 2007. Esta Vivo! Laboratorio de Nuevos Talentos, Grupo Rodar, Rodar y Rodar Cine y Televisión, Telecinco Cinema, Telecinco, Televisió de Catalunya, Warner Bros., Wild Bunch. Screenplay by Sergio G. Sanchez. Cinematography by Oscar Faura. Produced by Alvaro Augustin, Joaquin Padro, Mar Targarona. Music by Fernando Velazquez. Production Design by Josep Rosell. Costume Design by Maria Reyes. Film Editing by Elena Ruiz.
Belén Rueda plays a woman who has bought the mansion that was once the orphanage of her childhood before she was adopted. Intending to eventually use it as a home for a group of children with special needs, she lives there with her husband and adopted son and is frustrated by her little boy’s constant insistence on playing with his ‘imaginary’ friends. One day the boy goes missing, and during her frantic search for him, our heroine begins to notice some extra occupants in her home. Gradually her quest becomes not only to get her little boy back but also to discover the mystery of her possibly haunted mansion, why there are things going bump in the night and what could possibly have happened in her home in the years since she lived in it. This absolutely stunning thriller is the best of its kind since Alejandro Amenabar’s The Others, a bone-tingling masterpiece that will send chills right through you at every exciting twist and turn. Geraldine Chaplin has a wonderful supporting role in one of the film’s most impressive sequences, as a medium who comes to see if there are any spirits for her to commune with. Exceptional on all levels, featuring great performances and beautiful production design, and directed by an artist who is obviously more interested in capturing his audience’s imagination than taking advantage of cheesy horror cliches.
European Film Award Nominations: Best European Film; Best European Actress (Belen Rueda); Best European Cinematographer; Best European Composer
Toronto International Film Festival: 2007