The Orphanage (film)

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El Orfanato or The Orphanage is my new favorite Halloween movie.

Haunted Houses are my favorite kind of scary tale.  This one was light on the gore, so I especially liked it.  I also scare easily and the final part of the movie had me holding my viewing partner’s hand. But for regular people, I think it’s just suspenseful.

A young family moves into an old house that used to be an orphanage.  The parents are planning to open a home for kids who are disabled.  Needless to say, the family finds it is NOT ALONE.  Something super-spooky is the house and is threatening their family bonds and ultimately their lives.

Like all the best horror movies, this one is more about human fear and human relationships than it is about the supernatural.  The main relationship under the microscope is the one between cute kid Simon (Roger Princep) and his warm-hearted mother Laura (Belen Rueda).  Rueda gives a great performance in the panicking mother role that I usually dislike but I was rooting for her throughout the movie.  The house, though just a set, is beautiful to look at.  The story effortlessly moves between a kind of twisted fairy tale and contemporary story of a family melt-down.

I re-watched the movie with a women from Madrid.  Some trivia I gleaned: she used to play the “1,2,3 knock on the door” game.  When the boy asks if Santa Claus is a lie, he’s really asking about the three wise men who are the gift-givers.She said that Rueda used to be a television personality, very bubbly and cute.  Now I’m doubly impressive.

I hope, hope, hope that this not the last effort by this director.

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