Though it doesn’t come out here until sometime late in December, in the interest of all things spooky and Halloween-ish, I wanted to share with you my thoughts on one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen — and I’ve seen plenty o’ scary flicks in my day — the Spanish-language thriller, “El Orfanto” (The Orphanage).
Produced by “Pan’s Labyrinth” director, Guillermo Del Toro and masterfully directed by Spanish music video director Juan Antonio Bayona, the film is, hands down, one of the best movies we’ve seen this season. And not only is it a fantastic movie, but it is also absolutely horrifying.
OK, I know what you’re thinking: “Tom thinks everything is scary.” And, well…I do. But this movie really is terrifying! I actually screamed out loud (at a screening!) twice. Christine was mortified, but so scared herself that I don’t think she really noticed.
Though the visuals here are just as lush and creepy as anything you’d encounter in “Pan’s Labyrinth”, the real star of “The Orphanage” are the sound effects. Reminiscent of the truly spooky soundtrack in Robert Wise’s similarly-claustrophobic “The Haunting” (1963), the strange creaks and moans of the orphanage itself are positively spine-tingling.
Yes, I said spine-tingling with a straight face, and that’s because they are!
We were so unnerved by the soundtrack that we were both literally squirming in our seats. Seriously, I haven’t heard sound-editing like this since those kick-ass canon balls blasted through the hull of the ship in “Master and Commander”. And they won an Oscar for those!
Without giving too much away, “The Orphanage” is about a husband and wife (the super hot Belén “The Sea Inside” Rueda) who move with their young son into an abandoned orphanage in a remote seaside village in Spain. Abandoned orphanages? Remote seaside villages? Subtitles? Scary enough on their own, right? Well, just wait, because as you can imagine, it’s all downhill from there.
So, mark you calendars — “The Orphanage” opens in limited release on December 28th — brush up on your Spanish, and girder your loins, because this art house thriller will scare the living crap out of you!
Oh yeah, and Happy Halloween!