Posted on Tuesday, October 27th, 2009 by Adam Quigley
This Week in DVD & Blu-ray is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD and Blu-ray releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy and Fry’s.
This movie is balls-out insane, in the best way possible. I remember watching the trailer several months back and shaking my head, wondering when we’d finally escape the overused “evil child” horror formula. Having now seen the film, I’m happy to admit that I judged too soon: This may be the best entry in the genre yet. That’s not to say it’s perfect; I could’ve done without the obligatory jump scare tactics, and many of its plot points will feel very familiar if you’ve seen this type of movie before (it was especially jarring for me, having recently saw Joshua, in which Vera Farmiga once again played the mother to a psychotic child… I take it Vera Farmiga is pro-choice?). Put aside those minor issues though, and you’re left with one of the weirdest, ballsiest, most uncomfortably funny (perhaps unintentionally so?) horror flicks to be released by a major studio in quite some time. I’m not surprised that critics were split on it, because it’s not the easiest film to categorize. The first half of the movie is mostly slow-burn drama with moments of eerie intrigue foreshadowing what’s to come. The events play out more like a psychological thriller than your typical horror film. Just when you’re getting comfortable with the film’s ominous tone and pace, the crazy kid factor kicks into full gear, and the movie transforms into a heart-pounding exercise in sadism and glorious absurdity. Some may be disappointed to find the film devolve into unapologetic B-movie trash (albeit extremely well done trash), but given that so much of the movie’s effectiveness is due to it taking the time to build to the insanity instead of just using it as a starting place, you can’t exactly fault the film for choosing that method to unveil its true intentions. And why would you want to? So much of what makes the film unique and rewarding is a result of the crazy directions the story eventually takes. I don’t want to spoil what some of those directions are, but let’s just say that there’s a reveal toward the end of the movie that’s guaranteed to make you reevaluate everything that’s come before it. There’s also a strong focus on the two other children, a risky choice that generates a number of arm-rest-clawing moments of intensity. Deserving much of the credit for these scenes is Isabelle Fuhrman, who gives a fantastic performance as the psycho-girl Esther. Somehow, Fuhrman is fully believable in a role that calls for her to be far more intelligent than every other character in the film, and equally as sinister. With the entire movie basically hinging on a young actress being capable enough to handle the part, it’s impressive that Orphan managed to be anything other than a disaster, let alone the wonderfully deranged horror/thriller that it ultimately became.
Notable Extras: DVD – Additional scenes and an alternate ending. Blu-ray – Everything on the DVD, as well as a Mama’s Little Devils: Bad Seeds, Evil Kids and Orphan featurette, and a digital copy of the film.
|BEST DVD PRICE|
|Amazon – $17.99|
|BEST BLU-RAY PRICE|
|Amazon – $24.99|