The Orphanage (2007)

Directed by: Juan Antonio Bayona

Written by: Sergio G. Sánchez


Belén Rueda .... Laura
Fernando Cayo .... Carlos
Roger Príncep .... Simón
Mabel Rivera .... Pilar
Andrés Gertrúdix .... Enrique
Edgar Vivar .... Prof. Leo Bálaban
Óscar Casas .... Tomás

Release Dates: Cannes Film Festival: May 20, 2007 (France); London FrightFest Film Festival: August 27, 2007; Toronto Film Festival: September 7, 2007; Austin Fantastic Fest: September 26, 2007; Helsinki Love and Anarchy Film Festival: September 29, 2007; New York Film Festival: September 29, 2007; Sitges Film Festival: October October 4, 2007; Morelia Film Festival: October 5, 2007 (Mexico); Supposed Theatrical: October 11, 2007 (Spain); Săo Paulo International Film Festival: October 25, 2007; Thessaloniki International Film Festival: November 17, 2007; Supposed Theatrical: December 20, 2007 (Greece); Supposed Theatrical: December 28, 2007 (Finland); Limited Theatrical: December 28, 2007 (USA); Theatrical: January 11, 2008; Gérardmer Film Festival: January 26, 2008; Göteborg International Film Festival: January 26, 2008; Guadalajara Film Festival: March 7, 2008 (Mexico); Spanish Film Festival: October 5, 2008; Cairo International Film Festival: November 19, 2008 (Egypt)

*Images courtesy at:








A former orphan named Laura (Belén Rueda) gets married to a man anmed Carlos (Fernando Cayo) and adopts a boy named Simón (Roger Príncep) whom is HIV positive to an old house which was the orphanage to where she was raised.
Simon tells his Mom about his five invisible friends to which she thinks that they are imaginary.
Later on, Laura decides to reopen the orphange to handicapped children which keeps her busy and it enrages Simón saying that he has no family and then Laura suddenly spots a mysterious boy in a mask during the opening party for the handicapped orphans. After this, she realises that her son has disappeared and presumed dead.
Months later Laura feels the presence of other children in her house and is determined that her son is still alive in which she invites a team of parapsychologists to try to unravel the mystery.
However, Carlos thinks that this is all a hoax and then leaves not being able to handle all of what is going on while Laura struggles to find her son.


A good prologue with some children playing a game.
We have a good conversation between Laura and Simón in his room by having a discussion about being afraid of the dark.
There's also a nice moment between Laura and Carlos playing the piano and having having a conversation about their son.
We have some good shots on Simón running around in a cave and speaking to an imaginary friend and Laura in a distance coming up to him and talking to him.
We spot some good intensity coming out of Simón towards Laura by telling her that she is not his mother and other nasty things which makes the setting look truly disturbing.
There's a good shot on Laura with a distant shot on Simón wearing a mask and then some good moments with her coming up to him and he pushes her in a bathroom along with a great close up shot on her finger being slammed by the bathroom door which looked painful too.
We have many great takes on Laura trying to look for her son lifting up party masks on children along with her running in the ocean screaming intensely and crying with Carlos holding her back.
There's a good setting with Laura and a group discussing seeing their dead loved one's.
We spot a perfect camera shot on Laura lying sideways on her bed talking to herself and acting emotional which looked nicely done.
There was a perfect scene with Laura by trying to talk to somebody on the street and suddenly a jumping scene with a vehicle hitting her which was a great effect. I found they borrowed that moment from Final Destination.
A good close up shot on Laura looking at the remains on the street and the corpses hand grabbing her which is another good jumping scene.
A good reaction on supporting character Aurora with her intense reaction while being on camera and hearing the spirits of children in the room saying that they're dying which was a powerful moment in the story while supporting character Prof. Leo Bálaban instructing her as his were very strong.
There's a good argument between Laura and Carlos by discussing if this is real or not.
Many great angle takes with Laura by trying to search for her son in passageways and other areas around the house.
A perfect shot on Laura by trying to play her game like she did when she was a child and some children start to appear which looked effective.
We have a good conversation sequence between Laura towards Simón by telling him about the good things that are going to happen while holding him.
Good shot on Laura holding the blanket realising it's empty with her breaking down and crying.
There's a good scene with Laura around the children at the end telling a story which is a perfect ending.
Bottom line is that it's hard to judge whether or not that this is a horror film but it does get pretty creepy and haunting like after the child disappears. A foreign film with Spanish language but it's still a good film to watch with alot of good quality values and neat illusions too. It's also extremely mysterious wondering whatever happened to this poor child and a mother not giving up till she finds him. Some good dark moments too and quite disturbing with the disputes going on as well along with a very nice ending.

The acting was spoken in Spanish so it's difficult to tell the acting talents but I can give a good idea on some of the cast involved even if there only a few worth mentioning and it's brief so let's see here....
elén Rueda (Laura) seemed to do a good job playing the adopted mother showing her aggressions as well as her upset and intense emotions too. A great reaction on her in a scene by telling a group of people her son is not dead and that she will find him. She is good at being convincing that the paranormal situations are real. We have a great screaming reaction with her by asking what these spirits want while there's food on the table when things aren't right for her.
Child actor Roger Príncep (Simón) showed great attitude and aggression in his part as well as his curiosity.
Edgar Vivar
Prof. (Leo Bálaban) seemed to present himself very well as a professor instructing others.

A woman's jaw is torn open on the street

For the dark moments there's some good drum booming sounds along with some little prickly type sounds. We have have the great violin and trumpet playing along with some nice peaceful music during the end of the film all composed by Fernando Velázquez.