“The Orphanage”

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).

“The Orphanage” screenshot!

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!

“The Orphanage” screenshot II!

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!


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8 responses to ““The Orphanage”

  1. OK, Tom’s not exagerating about this one, this movie is really, really scary! I almost couldn’t sleep…

  2. Sometimes I think you over egg the pudding a bit when you describe how scary something is. I remember back in the early ’90s you telling me how frightened you were watching the De Niro meets Nick Nolte hamfest that was Cape Fear. You said it was — and I remember this word vividly — “terrifying.”

    And then when I went to go see it, I was expecting to be just as terrified. Yet, as the final credits rolled, I kept thinking, “it wasn’t that scary.”

    But I will give the Orphanage a shot when it comes out. I saw the preview when we saw Elizabeth the Golden Age, and it looked good.

  3. yeti9000

    OK, so maybe I was wrong about “Cape Fear”, but that creepy thumb sucking scene with Robert DeNiro and Juliette Lewis still totally freaks me out…yikes!

  4. No, what was really scary was the Bo Derek-like hairstyle Juliette wore to the Academy Awards the following year! 🙂

  5. Melissa

    James–are you sure Tom didn’t call it Tare F Ine? If you don’t get that (and I know the spelling guess itself is terrifying), I’m sure Tom will…

    Tom & Christine–scary and gory or just scary? Pan’s Labyrinth had me peeking between my fingers for the gore a couple of times. Not that just seeing Sergi Lopez is in something gives me the idea that I’m going to be creeped out or anything.

  6. Ginger

    Ok, seriously? You’ve got to post a “Warning: Scary Pictures Ahead That Will Give You Nightmares Like Watching LOTR 2 Did”! Yikes! 😦

    Yes, I’m a wimp with this kind of stuff…heads on pikes….yucky….

  7. yeti9000

    Sorry, Ginger, I’ll try and warn you next time! =) Melissa, I’m not sure on the spelling of “Tare F Ine” either, but that is hilarious!

    And no, the movie isn’t really gory (expect for a couple freaky scenes) but is more of an “edge of your seat” type of scary. After my scream in the theater, Christine made me stuff my hat in my mouth for the rest of the scary scenes and I’m telling ya, I just about chewed it to pieces. But remember, I’m kind of a scaredy cat with stuff like this…so…take everything I say with a grain of salt.

    All I can say for sure is that if you loved “Pan’s Labyrinth” you’ll love this one too! A truly awesome movie!

  8. Steph

    One of the best movies EVER. If you like Pan’s Labyrinth you will love this as well. Very high quality acting, directing, score, etc. I was a bit scarier then I expected but amazing none the less. Goes to show you can make a scary movie w/ limited gore, cussing and w/o sex or nudity. A MUST SEE!!!!!

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