ORPHAN (2009) Reviews and overview

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‘Can you keep a secret?’

Orphan is a 2009 psychological thriller and horror feature film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (The Shallows; Non-Stop; House of Wax) from a screenplay by David Leslie Johnson (The Conjuring 2 and 3; The Walking Dead; Red Riding Hood), starring Isabelle Fuhrman, Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard. The plot focuses on a couple who, after the death of their unborn child, adopt a mysterious nine-year-old girl.

Orphan was produced by Joel Silver and Susan Downey of Dark Castle Entertainment and Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran of Appian Way Productions. The film received mixed critical reviews although Isabelle Fuhrman’s performance as Esther was acclaimed.


“For those familiar with the genre, the story is on the predictable side but the film still deserves a sold recommendation for the superb casting, both in the leads and the supporting cast, the bleak winter landscape, and a satisfying conclusion.” Mike Mayo, The Horror Show Guide, Visible Ink, 2013

Buy: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca

Orphan is the kind of film that, even once you’ve seen the ending, you want to go straight back to the beginning to find out why you didn’t figure it out in the first place. While I won’t give away the shock twist, director Jaume Collet-Serra has obviously been inspired by Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now and Dario Argento’s Profondo rosso.” Peter Fuller, Kultguy’s Keep

“The climax is rather startling, combining the logic of the situation with audacity in exploiting its terror. Yet you have to hand it to Orphan. You want a good horror film about a child from hell, you got one. Do not, under any circumstances, take children to see it. Take my word on this.” Roger Ebert

“Silly, overlong, and bloody as hell, Orphan is likely to turn a sweet profit…” Chuck Wilson, The Village Voice

Cast and characters:

  • Vera Farmiga … Kate
  • Peter Sarsgaard … John
  • Isabelle Fuhrman … Esther
  • CCH Pounder … Sister Abigail
  • Jimmy Bennett … Daniel
  • Margo Martindale … Doctor Browning
  • Karel Roden … Doctor Varava
  • Aryana Engineer … Max
  • Rosemary Dunsmore … Grandma Barbara
  • Jamie Young … Brenda
  • Lorry Ayers … Joyce
  • Brendan Wall … Detective
  • Genelle Williams … Sister Judith
  • Mustafa Abdelkarim … Daniel’s Friend
  • Landon Norris … Daniel’s Friend

Technical details:

123 minutes
Audio: DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1

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