I Wrote my First Movie Review While Giving Birth to a Camera. It has followed me ever since. Please don't mind the Mess.
Running and Killing Time
109 Minutes That Look Like A 10 Year Old Girl
William Brent Bell. Was He Bill Brent Bell in High School?
David Coggeshall (screenplay), David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick (story), Alex Mace (story)
Warning, there will be a spoiler alert to the original Orphan movie, a movie released in 2009. If you don’t already know the reveal, what the f*ck are you doing reading this? You’ve had at least 13 years to watch the original so don’t whine if you don’t know that 9-year old Esther is really a 65-year old woman with homicidal tendencies and huge, I mean, little stunted growth issues. She’s Esther-Jamin Button except she stays the same age. And kills people.
I enjoyed the original Orphan because I really like killer kids onscreen because it reflects real life. I didn’t get the twist until the movie wanted me to and had a wonderful moviegoing experience because of it.
The Children of the Corn.
The Bad Seed.
All movies with killer kids front and center and willing to use their supposed innocence to get the jump on naively stupid adults who think that Junior or Missy wouldn’t shiv you in the bikini regions if given half the chance.
Orphan was one of my favorite films of 2009 because Isabelle Fuhrman was so wonderfully outwardly creepy and yet none of the oblivious adults (Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard) had an inkling even though when Esther was being sweet there was something off about Esther. 9-year old Fuhrmann was more than convincing as an adult woman in a performance that’s better the second time you watch it.
“There’s something wrong with Esther”. A simple but telling tagline.
Did we really need a prequel? No, unless you were kept up nights wondering how Esther got into that US orphanage without proper papers. Because that was the least believable part of a movie in which an adult woman plays a 9-year old girl.
SYNOPSIS WHOSE PARENTS DIED IN A CAR CRASH
Orphan First Kill opens somewhere in Estonia in 2007. If you don’t have any idea where Estonia is there’s a lot of snow and uneven generic European accents
We’re at a psych institute where they keep sharp objects near dangerous mental patients to help make their eventual escape easier. It’s Anna’s (Gwendolyn Collins) first day on the job and she’s really looking forward to helping some mental patients. We’re looking forward to her character dying in about 5 minutes of screentime.
Anna is getting the lay of the land when there’s an alarm. The institute’s most dangerous patient is missing again. Who is it? Her name is Leena (Isabelle Fuhrman- The Last Thing Mary Saw, now in her mid-20s but playing younger than she was in the first movie which is not confusing at all) and she’s smart and manipulative…and is in the same room as Anna. RIP Anna.
But wait! Orderlies and Anna’s boss arrive just in time to capture Leena and throw her back into her room and lock her up and make sure she doesn’t escape again. Right?
F*ck no. This place has the same security team as the hospital in Halloween Kills, which is to say none at all.
It’s not long before Anna decides to quit her job at the institute. Better early than dead. But it’s still too late because…
The workers at the institute think with their genitals and a lone orderly with a thing for Leena is allowed to be alone in a room with her right after she went missing because all she has to do is kiss his ear and all the blood rushes down to his…and now he’s dead because Leena bashed his head into the wall and has escaped the institute faster than you can say “this security sucks.” Leena is gone and on her way to…
Anna is so glad to get out of that place in once piece. That job wasn’t what she thought it was and now she’s home and has to rethink her life and get herself a new job.
But Leena was hiding in Anna’s trunk the entire time and smashes Anna’s head with something metal. First days at work, right?
Now Leena is home free. But where to go?
Leena looks on the internet. There’s a very rich family in America who’s daughter went missing about 4 years ago. Her name was Esther Albright and shares a more than passing resemblance to Leena.
Leena makes her way to the proper authorities and says her name is Esther and that she’s been missing for almost 4 years.
Meanwhile, the actual Albright family has been a shell of themselves ever since Esther went missing. Dad Allen (Rossif Sutherland) is a painter who hasn’t painted anything in a while. Mom Tricia (Julia Stiles- Hustlers, 10 Things I Hate About Esther) throws parties for rich D-bags. Son and brother Gunnar (Matthew Finlan) looks like James Franco and is an entitled douche.
Now they can be a happy family again because their little Esther has come back home after being part of some slavery ring or improv group or something else really unsavory. Nothing else will go awry.
But there’s something wrong with Leena which means there’s something really wrong with Esther.
What Works With Orphan First Kill.
- A final act which makes the deliberate setup more than worth a watch. Maybe not in a theater but definitely on Paramount Plus. Like the twist in the first Orphan, I did not see this coming.
- Julia Stiles shows more range than she’s usually allowed as the very protective matriarch of the Albright family. She sure says “f*ck” a lot more than she did in the grindhouse classics The Prince and Me and Save the Last Dance.
What Doesn’t Work With Orphan First Kill.
- A deliberate and sometimes slogging first hour of a 90 minute movie. The main problem being since we saw the first movie we already know how dangerous Esther can be so we’re just waiting for the other characters to find out by getting killed or anything that will keep us interested. To be fair, this might flow better the second time you see it.
Is Orphan First Kill better than the original Orphan? Nope. But it is a watchable prequel to those with patience and lowered expectations. It’s fun seeing Fuhrman do her grown-ass woman be a killer child thing again, so drink yourself a wonderfully prepared smoothie. You never forget your first…kill.
(Really 2.5 but there’s a murderous woman/child)
Buy Orphan First Kill Here! If You're Old Enough!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2022 Noel Penaflor