Notable Cast: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman
I think I wrote Dark Castle as a production company off too early. Yeah, they started off with plenty o shitty remakes but they have gradually gotten better with their film choices (they even have expanded past Horror now) and with the somewhat overhyped "Orphan" they nailed the genre shut.
Honestly, if I was a dick I would just straight out tell you all the twist ending right now - because I have a lot of great things to say about it. Normally, twist endings became far too focused on for most of them to work lately but its film's like "Orphan" that do it best. It's one of those endings though that is going to make you want to stand up and clap (like for me) or throw your soda at the screen and curse the name of Lord repeatedly and if you have a solid heart for the genre then the ending is going to hit all the right spots.
Besides a solid and honest twist ending, this film was aces from the start. A somewhat initially confusing credits get's the film rolling to a nice start and from there its a pretty well written and directed romp through the Horror-filled park. The film is able to sustain a nice balance of story-telling, nicely placed jump scares, and (most amazingly) a brutally beautiful sense of frustration through out the piece. Good Horror films make an audience place themselves in the situation and then proceeds to bombard them with questions of 'what would I do'. "Orphan" nails that aspect of the genre and makes off with your heart and leaves you dangling with all the characters that are caught in Esther's path. Which leads me to the acting which is quite honestly, some of the best work this year. This film had so many opportunities to fall straight into cliche-ville and 'you got to be fucking kidding me'-burg with back stories of alcoholism, unfaithfulness, tragedy, and love that could have ruined the adult characters but the actors and movie play it slow and let the audience piece it together rather then having a pity party for everyone. And that's just the adults, the biggest surprise came from the children. The three kids in this movie were absolutely awesome with special recognition going to the character Max whom has to express herself with her eyes almost the entire film. All of them just were awesome on screen and even Esther had some moments of likability and pure Horror.
"Orphan" has set a very high standard for the rest of the year for Horror films. Yeah, its going to be a good year no matter what, but this is a pretty high bar for the rest. A definite see for Horror fans anywhere.
Written By Matt Reifschneider