The Orphan (2009)

Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra

Written by: David Johnson

Story by:
Alex Mace


Vera Farmiga .... Kate Coleman
Peter Sarsgaard .... John Coleman
Isabelle Fuhrman .... Esther
Aryana Engineer .... Max Coleman
Jimmy Bennett .... Daniel Coleman
CCH Pounder .... Sister Abigail

Release Dates: Fantasia Film Festival: July 22, 2009; Quick Theatrical: July 24, 2009; Hamburg Fantasy Filmfest: August 24, 2009; MOTELx Lisbon International Horror Film Festival: September 5, 2009

*Images courtesy at:





A married couple named Kate (Vera Farmiga) and John (Peter Sarsgaard) lose their baby during a miscarriage due to Kate's drinking and she tries to go to rehab due to this incident and is tormented in her nightmares about it all.
They decide to adopt a 9 year old child at an orphange named Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) who seems to open up to them and then take her to their home in which Esther becomes very close to their youngest child named Max (Aryana Engineer) who is paritally deaf and mute but however another sibling named Daniel (Jimmy Bennett) doesn't seem to take a liking to her and has a strange feeling about her.
Esther attends to her new school only to be tormented by her classmates namely one named Brenda (Jamie Young) in which later on Esther hurts her badly in a playground and lies to her adopted parents about it.
Next they get a visit from Sister Abigail (CCH Pounder) from the orphanage telling them about mysterious deaths on people when Esther is around in which she eavesdrops on them and manipulates Max to do a deadly deed for her after this happens.
Kate starts to get suspicious with all the bad things that are happening and questioning Esther on all of this since they don't seem to see eye to eye on things but however John thinks she may be drinking again since Esther is getting along with him very well and being fooled by him.
Esther threatens both Max and Daniel about the consequences if they ever confess to them what she is doing since both are witnesses.
Kate tries to track down Esther's history and finds out something terrifying about this disturbed child.


A good beginning which involved Kate Coleman by getting carried into a room while about to be in labor as well as her crying emotions and getting intense after finding out that her child didn't make it.
There's also some good conversations with both Kate and John by going into an orphanage to pick out a child with some nice heartwarming discussions between them and Esther which looked nice and realistic as if you'd want to own her right away.
A nice discussion with Sister Abigail by discussing this child and acting caring about all of this which was quite impressive.
There's nice shots between Esther and Max Coleman when they first meet one another which looked very natural and Esther trying to understand sign language with her. There's also a good moment with Daniel Coleman acting standoffish towards her which leaves a good impression that this is not a good idea.
There's a good camera shot looking up on Esther walking down a staircase in a new dress which looked impressive as well as her getting a little cross with Kate when she tries to talk to her about it in which this situation on this looked nicely done showing someone's true colours.
There's a good shot on Esther entering a class with a teacher introducing her and a nice nasty reaction on her classmate Brenda which looked like a realistic look at a kid bullying another one. There's a good shot on Esther giving her a nice cold evil stare.
Good tense moment on Daniel at the dinner table being vulgar about his adopted sister which looked believeably intense and dysfunctional with alot of tense energy put into the scene.
There's nice camera shots circling Esther in the hallway with Brenda and some of the other kids taunting her by taking a bible away from her and a great close up shot on her screaming out loud which looked truly intense and insane.
Many good close up shots on Brenda playing in a playground with surprise shots on children playing when she goes up near a slide which makes you think something awful is going to happen with how all of this was shot and a nice shot on Esther lunging towards her and pushing her off a cliff of the slide as well as a good camera looking up on Brenda when she is on the ground crying which looked well done.
There's a great intense quarrelling sequence between both Kate and John about a situation that happened which looked also powerfully done.
Many good shots between the two of them in a separate scene lusting with one another and then a good shot on Esther catching them doing this with great anxious moments between them after they catch her watching them and feeling guilty.
A good moment with Kate coming into a room with Esther sitting there expressionless and behaving very disturbed when she tries to explain to her about adult situations with her just being cold and blunt about it all which looked good and twisted.
Good scene with Sister Abigail talking to both Kate and John about the child they adopted and about tragedies that have happened when she was around with a nice shot on Esther eavesdropping on all of this which looked truly creepy.
Good moment with Esther manipulating Max to do something by placing herself on the road with a great shot on Sister Abigail driving and then swerving after she spots her and then coming out to see if she was okay and then a nice attack scene by Esther whacking her in the head with a hammer as well as a good shot on Sister Abigail crawling along the ground in pain with Esther attacking and acting brutal by using the hammer several times on her with a good camera shot looking up on her while she does this. There's also a good forceful moment with Esther towards Max while she's crying and aggressively telling her to stop crying which looks quite disturbing.
A good scene with the two of them in a tree fort with Esther telling Max that she will be responsible for a death but then trying to poison her mind about stuff and telling her she loves her which gives the picture a perfect horror and psychological feel to it.
There's nice shots on Daniel snooping on them outside with nice shots on Esther turning around to see who's spying on her which looked spooky wondering if he will get caught.
Great camera shot looking up on Esther pointing a blade towards Daniel's neck and getting nasty towards him with threats which was nicely done and totally looking like an evil child towards an innocent one.
A good tense moment with both John and Dr. Browning talking to Kate about going back to rehab with her convincing them that she wasn't drinking along with great intense behavior and aggressions on her behalf while doing so which was very powerfully done.
Another good moment with Esther lighting the fort on fire with flames surrounding Benett with good shots on him trying to escape from it.
Great moment with Kate crying intensely in a hospital and then racing up to Esther and slapping her hard screaming at her which looked greatly done.
There's a great shot on John swigging back some glasses of wine on a couch acting like a basketcase. Plus a good moment with Esther in make up trying to come on strong towards him as well as him getting aggressive with her.
There's many great struggling moments between Kate and Esther during an ice pit and trying to climb to the top which was probably the best direction ever but don't want to spoil it.
Bottom line is that it's been a while since I've seen a great horror flick these days since there's been nothing but remakes and this one came along which had a great plot to it keeping you in suspense all the way through wondering what's going to happen next and will this evil brat get what's coming to her.
The story looks very impressive showing some mean kids at school hoping they will get what's coming to them by messing with the wrong person and some dysfunctional values on a family and thinking as well there's a scene where a pigeon gets killed which I found upsetting since I love pigeons and it seems there's more animal killing in horror flicks these days and find it unneccessary.
It is almost a tribute to those retro flicks while watching the plot as some may think this is gonna be like The Omen but this film is not supernatural but has an evil child doing nasty deeds with the family or others around her. There's also some elements of Children of the Corn 3: Urban Harvest on a girl showing a nice attitude to the father but not the mother. Plus there are many scene's that borrow heavily from the psychological thriller The Good Son with a child acting innocent only to do evil things and trying to get others to stick with her while she does this stuff. I mean all of this together brings out a great horror film.
It is a bit scary when you expect something terrible is going to happen and it does as well as a good beginning with little Esther acting so loving and innocent and later showing her true evil colors which sells for a horror film and is a must for any horror fan without a doubt.
Alot of great intensity surrounding the Esther character and acting menacing in which you hope this family will stay safe and finding out more about where this little girl came from and why she's doing the things she does.
It also has alot of good psychological moments when a struggling mother and wife is recovering from alcoholism and no one believes her when she try to warn them about this child doing this stuff and is accused of doing these things to herself.
Bottom line is the film was a flop at the box office but yet is a terrific horror film in my mind which is better than watching a remake and can inspire others like this one even if it's been done a few times before.

The acting was very powerfully performed with a talented cast especially the lead actress Vera Farmiga (Kate Coleman) with her upsetting emotions and her disturbed behavior as well as showing a nice and caring attitude too. She also knew how to act incredibly aggressive and intense almost losing her mind when the terrible things start to happen in the film in which she draws this alltogether terrifically not losing the pace in the plotlines. She was by far the best adult cast member in the film and deserved an award if she didn't get it.
Peter Sargaard
(John Coleman) had the good looks and nice guy next door appeal to his part with a good passive like behavior and calm attitude too reminding you as one of those easygoing types. He does show good upsetting emotions too when he needed to bring that out as well.
Isabelle Fuhrman (Esther) lived to play the demented supposed child Esther and studied this part inside out showing a nice friendly deceiving nice girl with a good calm attitude and then acting cold with her wicked speaking as well as really letting it out with her violent attitude. She was a ball of energy and can get more gigs like this in which this film would be a great stepping stone.
Aryana Engineer
(Max Coleman) showed a great innocent appeal as the partially deaf and mute youngest one in the film who knew how to act confused and emotional about what's all happening around her. I really sympathised for her part in the flick.
It's nice to see Jimmy Bennett (Daniel Coleman) in another horror film since his little boy innocent appeal in the remake of Amityville Horror but this time he's a little older and going through a rebellious phase proving he can wear another hat to a character in this one. He does well acting vulgar and aggressive when he is bothered by something as well as showing a nice stand offish attitude too.
CCH Pounder
(Sister Abigail) played a nice mother superior with a good warm and calm attitude to her part in which I thought I should mention her even if she's only halfway through this flick. She knew how to portray this role very well and can be well remembered for it.

We hear alot of the light echoey peaceful piano playing for the pleasant moments in the film. There's also good dark sounds and banging noises too for when the terrors start to happen as well as some cold sounding noises with the synthesizer. There's lots of screeching sounds which works intensely well. There's the odd deep violin music too which sounds nice and strong.