I don’t know exactly if with the time I become pickier or if the movie industry isn’t anymore what it used to be, but lately it seems that are fewer and fewer movies that make a strong print in my memory. In the recent years one such movie was “El Laberinto del Fauno” (“Pan’s Labyrinth”) and the director, Guillermo del Toro, definitely caught my eye. Seeing his name on the presentation of “El Orfanato” (“The Orphanage”), as producer, was another reason for my desire to see this movie (but not the only one).
After many years, Laura returns to the place of her childhood, the orphanage where she lived for a while. She returns together with her husband and her adopted child, Simón, and she intends to make the place a home for children with disabilities. But on the day of the house presentation and the children’s party her son disappears. Her search for her missing child will face Laura with her childhood memories and old ghosts.
“El Orfanato” is a horror movie and when it comes to this genre it doesn’t bring anything new on the screen. The classical theme of ghosts and of a haunted place is old and used constantly every year. But this movie is unique in its making, the work made by the crew, the setting and the atmosphere make “El Orfanato” one of the best horror movies and one that beats the vast majority of ghost movies.
What I really liked in the first place is the setting. The landscapes are absolutely lovely, the house looks really good and contributes in full to the general atmosphere. I know that in the most of its parts the movie was filmed indoors and on a studio setting, but those outside images were very beautiful. I also liked that little game played in the movie, of treasure hunting. All that excitement behind the child’s play, the rush from one clue to another, the wish which will be granted at the end of the game, reminded me of childhood and the innocence of that period in everybody’s life.
Like I said the story is classic, simple, but it is well constructed, with the tension well built, driven to the higher point steadily and constantly. The end, more exactly the explanation for the Simón’s disappearance, is very good, one that I didn’t think of and didn’t imagine it. It is a simple idea, but that makes it more powerful. But “El Orfanato” doesn’t fall in the general horror line. The tension and the thrill is more on the psychological and emotional level and you will not get grotesque and frightful scenes. But I believe that this makes the movie more powerful.
What I love the most at “El Orfanato” is Belén Rueda’s interpretation. She makes a powerful role and makes from Laura such a strong character. Because of her interpretation I sympathized with the character much more and I was much more involved in the story. She is a very good actress and definitely shows great talent. I will add to this the Geraldine Chaplin’s appearance, short, but powerful.
Although Guillermo del Toro is only the producer of this movie he associates with a good title again and “El Orfanato” is a very interesting movie and one that made a print on my memory.