El Orfanato

The Orphanage or El orfanato is a 2007 Spanish horror film directed by J. A. Bayona. Be aware that there may be spoilers. The movie takes place in Spain at an orphanage in the 1970s where the main character, Lauran, is adopted. Years later she comes back with her husband and adopted son to fix up the place and make it a home for disabled children. Soon strange things start to happen when her sons imaginary friend, a boy with a sack over his head, causes trouble. In the hustle and bustle of the re-opening of the orphanage her son goes missing. With the help of a medium they are able to unearth the sad story of what has happened in the house so many years ago and what became of her son. The ending has a couple twists and turns but, still a bitter sweet ending (mainly bitter). I tried my best to not spoil anything big. This is a Spanish made film and did rather well in its country of origin and has gathered a following in the US. It was so well received here that there was an english version made by one of the great horror directors Guillermo del Toro. In my personal opinion the movie loses something in the English version. The culture of each place would be different and how being an orphan would be different in one country to the next. Yet, the English one just copied the Spanish version. It was still good and was the same movie but I personally felt like it should have changed a bit more to fit the area it was in. There was this one game in the Spanish version that is a big deal in the movie that the kids play and it is basically the same as Red Light Green light so, that was interesting. Plus, how there are more spiritual things in the Spanish version that may make more sense or how they accept the paranormal. The lighting and editing was one that does remind me of del Toro with a splash of Tim Burton. Over all this movie was something I really look for in horror. Each culture has their own thing about what is scary so the film did a great job bringing its own flavor to the experience. Both versions of the movie are extremely well done, I am a huge fan of del Toro but Iā€™d have to say the original is my personal favorite.

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2 thoughts on “El Orfanato

  1. IRONSSE: This was a really great account of the film. Thanks for the spoiler alert, but this film sounds far too frightening for me. I liked the way in which you described the editing and lighting: “splash of Tim Burton”, that is a clever way to describe it. It was a good pick up on your behalf in regards to the English remake, that is often the case with films that try to translate dialogue and themes from a foreign language; some very important details may have been lost in translation.

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  2. As a Spanish minor I am always looking for a great Spanish film. I had to check out your post when I saw the title. I really liked reading your post and it made me want to watch the film. On the other hand, I absolutely hate horror movies because I get way too scared. So I’m kind of on the fence if i want to watch the movie or not. However, I think I will since you thought it was done very well in the Spanish version. Thanks for giving me my next movie!

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