Orphan [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - Australia - Warner Home Video
Review written by and copyright: Christopher Brown (13th April 2010).
The Film

Beware the Child.

"Orphan" is the latest in a long history of "evil" children films and while is strives to be more than its premise it ultimately fails to surpass the classics in the genre. This however doesn't make it a bad film. In fact as far as this particular sub-genre goes its a solid entry, and a film I would recommend to anyone who enjoyed films like "The Omen" (1976), "Joshua" (2007), or my personal favourite "The Bad Seed" (1956).

Kate (Vera Farmiga) and John (Peter Sarsgaard) Coleman having recently come to terms with the stillborn death of their last baby are ready to adopt a child to add to their young family that already includes son Daniel (Jimmy Bennett) and daughter Max (Aryana Engineer). They visit a local orphanage and fall in love with a quiet and reserved little Russian girl hiding upstairs from the crowd of potential parents and eager children below. Meet Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman), an extremely bright and articulate 9-year-old girl. Sweet smiles and immaculate manners belie a tragic past and a dark secret.

While parents and daughter Max are besotted with the new addition to the family Daniel is hesitant if not openly hostile to the strangely dressed and oddly accented intruder into his life, and it seems he is right to be wary. As strange accidents befall all those who threaten Esther's new life Kate begins to suspect there is more to her new daughters past than she was lead to believe. I won't add any spoilers here, but let just say Kate and John aren't the first couple to adopt Esther, and the circumstances that bought her to America are even more sinister.

"Orphan" pulls all the tried true and clichéd tricks of most modern psychological horror films. It tries to be smarter than it is, and does suffer somewhat as a result. Its a well made film and at times captivating, but we've seen everything it has to offer before.

The script itself by David Johnson is decent if more than a little predictable. Most of what occurs will be of no surprise to anyone who is a fan of genre. The kills are suitably brutal, and Esther is brilliantly portrayed by Isabelle.

The final act in the movie is by far the most polarising as far as my opinion is concerned. Esther's secret will either have you stunned in to shocked silence or snorting in to your carbonated beverage. Either way its an audacious choice and executed with great dramatic flair.

Overall "Orphan" is an enjoyable "B" movie with allusions of greatness that it sadly could not reach. If you want a good popcorn-chillier then pop this film in and enjoy the ride.


"Orphan" is a beautiful film and a lot of effort has been made to display as much of that as possible. The 1.78:1 1080p 24/fps VC-1 encoded transfer is nothing short of stunning. Interiors are warm and subdued, and the snow covered exteriors are sharp, crisp and suitably bleak. The film's colour pallet is deliberately limited offering a lot of off whites, beiges, and natural tones, but when the blood flows its bright, rich and all the more dramatic for it. All in all very impressive. This is why I buy Blu-ray films.


Audio is also impressive the English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mixed at 48kHz/24-bit is almost flawless, also included are Castilian, Spanish, Czech, Hungarian, Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1) . This is a film of quite moments punctuated with brief explosive scenes of violence and you wont miss a thing. The dialogue is always clean and clear even when the on screen action is at its fullest. The music is very well represented here as well, the deep haunting orchestral score seeps in and drives the tension. There were no pops, hisses or audio artefacts that I could detect. Another example of the format being utilised to its fullest potential.
Optional subtitles are included in Arabic, Danish, Cantonese, Dutch, English HoH, Finnish, Greek, Indonesian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish (Castilian), Swedish.


Here is where the disc really lets you down, there are only 2 extras included on the disc the first is an interesting but far to short featurette and a reel of deleted scenes and alternate ending. Below is a closer look at these supplements.

"Mama's Little Devils: Bad Seeds and Evil Children" (1080p) featurette, it is essentially an overview of the evil child in film. As it stands its a decent wee history lesson into the genre covering "The Village of the Damned" (1960), "The Bad Seed" (1956), and "The Omen"(1976) among others. Its a little to ADHD/MTV for me though. All sound bites, short video samples, and no real depth. Had it been 45-60 minutes rather than the 14 minute 56 seconds running time it may actually been a really interesting watch. Its good, but should have been more substantial.

deleted scenes/alternate ending (480p) reel is next. On the front cover of the movie you will see "includes chilling ALTERNATE ENDING" proudly displayed enticing you in to see just how dark it could have been. Well I was dissapointed. This scene was cut for good reason. At 4 minutes 4 seconds including additional short and pointless scenes this extra is a waste of time. Nothing to see here move along.


The Film: B Video: A Audio: A+ Extras: C Overall: B


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