Thursday, July 23, 2009
"The Orphan" abandons all logic
I keep hoping that someone -- other than a Korean or Japanese director -- will make an effectively creepy horror film. After seeing the much-publicized "Orphan," I'm still waiting. The first scene in the movie involves a nightmare delivery of a baby, and, of course, we know that the pregnant woman who's going through this horror is dreaming. In fact, we're able to predict almost everything that's gong to happen in "Orphan,'' with the possible exception of the movie's BIG TWIST, which -- once it has arrived -- seems as preposterous as nearly everything else. The story: a middle class couple (Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard adopt a Russian refugee kid who seems perfect. Of course, the perfect kid (Isabelle Fuhrman) isn't really a model child. She's the proverbial bad seed (reference to earlier picture intended), and she manages to wreak havoc in a household where our unsuspecting parents already have two children (Jimmy Bennett and Aryana Engineer). The movie's scare tactics often consists of jolting the audience in one way or another, and the finale extends to the point of bloat. Director Jaume Collet-Serra creates enough tension to satisfy most audiences, but the only truly scary thing about "The Orphan" is how a script with so many gaps in logic made it to the screen. Directorial prowess and a generally strong cast can't cover holes in the script. Note: Farmiga already played the mother of a dangerously disturbed child in the indie thriller "Joshua." Let's hope she's not planning to make a specialty out of this.