Orphan [Blu-Ray] Jaume Collet-Serra

Orphan [Blu-Ray] Jaume Collet-Serra
Any horror fan has seen their share of evil children depicted in cinema. It's a sub-genre built upon notions of original sin, often absolving moral conundrums via demonic possession. Where would Orphan's Esther be without forbearers of terror, Satan-spawn himself, the Omen's Damien, The Exorcist's crucifix-abusing Regan or The Bad Seed's murderous Rhonda? Actually, Esther has a lot more in common with Macaulay Culkin's Henry Evans in The Good Son. Orphan spends its set-up getting involved with the family unfortunate enough to place their love and trust in the volatile tyke. Vera Farminga and Peter Sarsgaard play Kate and John, a couple whose relationship is strained by the loss of their baby. Surreal nightmares plague Kate, who's seeing a psychologist and considering adopting an older child to give the love she'd intended for her unborn daughter. Hoping the adoption will help pull their family together, Kate and John bond with Esther at an orphanage open house, a prodigiously talented European girl remarkably mature for her age, and a confident outsider. Esther, of course, seems wonderful at first and her quirks ― insisting on a locked door for baths, never removing ribbons from around her wrists and neck ― go largely unnoticed. Isabelle Fuhrman has the difficult task of playing the manipulative and mysterious Esther, and she delivers the goods with eerie professionalism perfect for upping the role's creep factor. A major plot twist absolutely hinges on Fuhrman's ability to take her performance to the next level, which she does with disturbing ease. It's too bad the director didn't share the sharp edge of his cast, which would have required to forge the film into as viciously calculating a beast. As it stands, Orphan is a well-acted thriller with a surprisingly fresh twist that's not aided by weak deleted scenes and a weaker alternate ending. "Bad Seeds & Evil Kids," a pseudo-"behind the scenes" featurette, which is actually a cast and crew discussion of the history of evil kids in cinema, is pretty cool but Orphan's charm is still in watching a little girl brain a nun with a hammer in hi-def. (Warner)