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The Orphanage(El orfanato)

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Spain · 2007
Rated R · 1h 45m
Director J. A. Bayona
Starring Belén Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Roger Príncep, Mabel Rivera
Genre Drama, Horror, Thriller

Laura brings her family back to her childhood home, a former orphanage. While settling in, her son begins to communicate with a group of invisible friends, something Laura chalks up to an active imagination, until her son disappears and a mischievous masked child starts wreaking havoc in the house.

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What are critics saying?


Premiere by Aaron Hillis

The Orphanage's joys come from the experiential: Bayona's cultured technical skills, including some phenomenal sound design, and sustained anxiety. It's about as healthy as junk food gets.


Newsweek by David Ansen

A great horror movie is like a good shrink--and a lot cheaper, too. It purges us through petrification. That horror movie, thankfully, has arrived. It's called The Orphanage," and it is seriously scary.


Variety by Justin Chang

A fastidiously grim ghost story that rattles the bones of the haunted-house genre and finds plenty of fresh (but not too bloody) meat.


TV Guide Magazine by Maitland McDonagh

The filmmakers know the tropes of spooky movies: Glowering shadows, squeaking playground equipment, eerie storms and half-glimpsed forms, but the film rests on Rueda's subtle, intense performance, rooted in every half-articulated anxiety that ever gnawed at a parent's brain.


L.A. Weekly by Mark Olsen

There’s not really a bogeyman in The Orphanage and not much blood; just insane intensity and a building sense of bad vibes.


Chicago Tribune by Michael Phillips

As in “Pan’s Labyrinth,” The Orphanage relies on a risky blend of clinically realistic horrors and poetic suggestions of an alternate world, one that can be visited, but at a price.


The A.V. Club by Noel Murray

While some of the trappings and even some of the plot elements could easily be called unoriginal, Bayona and screenwriter Sergio G. Sánchez arrange them in a fresh way, crafting an emotionally resonant, nerve-jangling experience.

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