Weekly News via Email
   Set as homepage | Add to favorites | Customer Service | Subscribe Now | Place an Ad | Contact Us | Sitemap Sunday, 02.25.2018
News Archive
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
 1  2  3  4  5
 6  7  8  9  10  11  12
 13  14  15  16  17  18  19
 20  21  22  23  24  25  26
 27  28  29  30  31
Online Extras
Site Services
Around Bend
Outdoor Fun
Travel Info
Shop Local

Members Of

Poll: Today's Live Poll
Email to a friend | Print this | PDF version | Comments (0 posted) 
  Blogger |   del.icio.us |   digg |   newsvine

Jan 04,2008
Movie Review: 'The Orphanage'
by David Elliott

You need to be devout about generic chills to really go for "The Orphanage." Spanish director J.A. Bayona, up from shorts and videos, has devotion - but what is the Spanish phrase for "everything but the kitchen sink?"

'THE ORPHANAGE' - Lots of creepy creatures show up in the suspense thriller 'The Orphanage.' CNS Photo courtesy of Picturehouse.


4 STARS - Excellent.

3 STARS - Worthy.

2 STARS - Mixed.

1 STAR - Poor.

0 - Forget It (a dog.) 
Loading it gothically with him is writer Sergio Sanchez, who has said he wrote to mimic films he loved as a boy: "Poltergeist," "The Omen," "Rosemary's Baby." The result is hooked on kids' imaginations, and on the worn devices of old movies.

It starts with a childhood game and ends with one from the dark side. Darkness made quite visible is the grand old orphanage near the sea, from which Laura was adopted at 7. She returns at 37 to its abandoned vastness as the new owner.

Belen Rueda plays adult Laura, seemingly not hexed by memories of the place, which might be called Xanadu, Manderley or the Castle of Otranto. Why are so many people in fear films such masochists?

Her doctor husband keeps smiling blandly for the longest time, even after their dreamy, adopted son, Simon (Roger Princep), slips off with imaginary friends to a huge sea cave under a lighthouse cliff. And weird Montserrat Carulla shows up as a "social worker" with haunted eyes, to reveal that the boy has a serious illness.

Clearly there are ghosts in all the eerie halls and crannies, and that the cave is a haunted theme park all by itself. Once Simon disappears, it's up to Laura to reach across the twilight zone to find the boy. She becomes a Stella Dallas of the supernatural, maternally compulsive, bringing in psychic experts with scanning machines, even gaunt Geraldine Chaplin as a medium who seems jumpy about her own shadow.

Sanchez and Bayona pack the full kit: creaky sounds, shattered glass, night vapors, haunting dolls, bones, crypt-like rooms, Catholic symbols, hide-and-seek, a gory death, a deformed lad living in virtual hell. A "welcoming" party for afflicted children echoes the staged fantasy photos of Ralph Eugene Meatyard but, strangely, the Blair Witch never appears.

This picture is "presented by Guillermo Del Toro," and has some of the dense, crepe-hung atmosphere of his classy creepers "Cronos" and "Pan's Labyrinth." But Bayona seems, though utterly committed, more a calculator than creator, and his rote inventory sadly includes Rueda's fervent, stressed but bathetic performance.

The truly disturbing element is the heavy reliance on childhood loneliness, fear and sickness. This mood-swamped contraption presses along almost interminably, until - but why spoil it? Suffer if you must.

A Picturehouse release in Spanish (subtitled). Director: J.A. Bayona. Writer: Sergio C. Sanchez. Cast: Belen Rueda, Roger Princep, Fernando Cayo, Geraldine Chaplin, Montserrat Carulla. Running time: 1 hour, 45 minutes. Rated R. 2 stars.
2059 times read

Related news
Films In Focus: New and recent releases by David Elliott and others posted on Feb 01,2008

Films in Focus: New and recent releases by David Elliott and others posted on Feb 15,2008

Films in Focus: New and recent releases by David Elliott and others posted on Feb 08,2008

Films in Focus: New and recent releases by David Elliott and others posted on Jan 04,2008

Films in Focus: New and recent releases by David Elliott and others posted on Jan 11,2008

Did you enjoy this article? Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00 (total 3 votes)

Market Information
Breaking News
Most Popular
Most Commented
Featured Columnist
Horoscope Guide
Aquarius Aquarius Libra Libra
Aries Aries Pisces Pisces
Cancer Cancer Sagittarius Sagittarius
Capricorn Capricorn Scorpio Scorpio
Gemini Gemini Taurus Taurus
Leo Leo Virgo Virgo
Local Attractions
Bend Visitors & Convention Bureau
Bend Visitors & Convention Bureau

Mt. Bachelor Resort
Mt. Bachelor Resort

Les Schwab Ampitheater
Les Schwab Ampitheater

Deschutes County Fairgrounds
Deschutes County

Tower Theatre
Tower Theatre

The High Desert Museum


Deschutes County

  Web    BendWeekly.com
© 2006 Bend Weekly News
A .Com Endeavors, Inc. Company.
All Rights Reserved. Terms under
which this service is provided to you.
Please read our Privacy Policy. Contact us.
Bend Weekly News & Event Guide Online
   Save the Net
External sites open in new window,
not endorsed by BendWeekly.com
Subscribe in NewsGator Online
Add to Google Add to MSN Add to My AOL
What are RSS headlines?