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The Orphanage (aka El Orfanato) (Blu-ray)

Released on 21 July 2008

Featuring: Belen Rueda, Fernando Cayo & Roger Princep

Format: Blu-ray | Rating: 15 years & over

4.0 out of 5 (23 customer reviews) | Write a review

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A haunting and heartbreaking plot full of unimaginable scares and creeping, undefined dread; Juan Antonio Bayona's astounding debut The Orphanage stands as one of the most beautiful and moving horror movies in recent history.

Adopting seven-year-old, sweet natured, and imaginative Simon (Roger Princep) has awoken complex feelings in happily married Laura (Belen Rueda). Having been adopted herself and feeling a need for closure, Laura persuades her husband Carlos (Fernando Cayo) to buy the dilapidated institute where she spent the earliest, happiest, years of her life and reopen the orphanage as a facility for disabled children. As they move in to the silent, stately manor where something ominous haunts the darkened hallways, Simon's behaviour becomes increasingly reserved and malevolent. Carlos pins Simon's actions as a desperate bid to get more attention from his distracted parents but Laura isn't convinced and embarks on a desperate quest to unearth the terrible secret that lurks in the old house.

Taking inspiration from everything from Peter Pan to Henry James' The Turn of the Screw, director Juan Antonio Bayona and producer Guillermo del Toro (The Devil's Backbone) have produced a highly imaginative and well made film that induces fear throughout. With a musical score that elicits shudders from the outset and a heart-wrenching plot that filters unimaginable horror through a fairytale frame, The Orphanage is a unique, intelligent, spine-tingling, yet heartfelt horror that is as unsettling as Guillermo del Toro's Pans Labyrinth.
  • Making of Featurette
  • Deleted scenes
  • Interview with Bayona and Del Toro in Budapest UK Exclusive Q&A with Bayona at Curzon Mayfair
  • Casting & Rehearsals
  • Designs & Sounds & Lighting & Storyboards & more

customer Reviews

 Average rating (23 reviews)

 Dark, Disturbing, Beautiful & Brilliant!

| | See all MovieMad13's reviews (84)

Top 100 DVD Reviewer

This film is truly magnificent. I couldn't praise this film enough. The Orphanage is a great Old school horror with its own little twists. The Orphanage will not make you jump out of your seat but if watched in the dark, in true horror fashion, this film will creep you out for days. The film really is a masterpiece and deserves all the credit it gets and more. The Orphanage build great tension throughout and the ending does not disappoint. Even though the film does not end in true horror movie fashion the ending brings it's own style to the film.

Juan Antonio Bayona directed this film great. The cinematography was some of the best i've seen. The film is visually great and will not disappoint there. The acting was great on all parts, all the performances were strong and powerful. Belén Rueda had the standout performance though and was immense.

This film is definitely worth the money. And i would recommend this film to anyone to watch if they haven't seen it. I have no doubt that this film will become a classic and will still be loved in years to come.

5 star film (thats all that matters here)
5 stars overall.

 Excellent

| | See all astoryatthree's reviews (13)

With the barage of awefull horror remakes and dodgy teen slasher movies we have had to put up with over the years, this film is a breath of fresh air. I've got the US blu-ray version and hopefully the same transfer will be used for the UK one as its excellent. This is a horror doesn't rely on shock and gore tactics to scare the audience, instead it builds tention and atmosphere through suggestion and music. Yes it is subtitled, but any true movie lover should be able to get past this and enjoy this truely awesome movie.

 Get this - now!

| | See all filmfan5's reviews (12)

It's taken me a while to get to see this film. It's been on DVD for a while now and I didn't really make much of an effort to go and see it at the cinema.

I regret both - there's not more I can say about this film that hasn't already been said. All I can really say is that I wish I made more of an effort to see this at the cinema, because it's a true cinema experience.

Creating the sort of psychological horror that modern Hollywood films can only dream of, "The Orphanage" is an attack on both the senses and the nerves. This is the sort of film that the director of "The Sixth Sense" M. Night Shyamalan could only dream of. If it's down-and-out horror you want, with blood and guts all over the place, you're going to be somewhat disappointed. The horror in this film is all about what you hear but don't see - the power to let the viewers imagination do all the work. It's also nice to see a film where the clues are there, but you have to work it out as you go along, and not have it explained to you like some sort of child.

Performances from all are strong and very convincing - but the lead actress as the grieving mother really stands out. It's through her eyes we see the story unfold and it's her strong performance that keeps us hooked. I've honestly not seen such a strong female lead like this since Sigourney Weaver in "Alien".

The picture (presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic cinemascope) is fantastic, and although far better than the standard DVD release, it's not what you could call demo material. That's not to say the picture isn't amazing - because it is and there is a lot of detail to be had. The DTS-HD surround sound is a major character in the film, and boy, is it effective and it really jumps out at you - though Dolby Digital 5.1 surround is also available.

There are loads of extras here, including a 40-minute Q & A session with the director, a 12-minute making-of documentary that talks to all the major players in the film, and various others - all ranging from 2 minutes to 8 minutes long.

All in all, this is a fantastic film that plays on the senses and takes it's viewer on an emotional rollercoaster ride - thanks to the fine and strong performances from the main cast. And if you've not shed so much as a tear towards the end, then there's something very wrong with you.

Film: 10/10
Picture: 9/10
Sound: 10/10
Extras: 7/10
Overall: 10/10

 Superb

| | See all DavidKessler's reviews (22)

I'd wanted to see this film for some time firstly based on Guillermo Del Toro's involvement, secondly on some good reviews I'd read. I finally saw it after getting a copy on Blu Ray from Spain and it didnt disappoint.
Telling the story of an orphan (Laura) who returns to her old orphange (after buying it) with husband & young son to live. Without giving too much away we begin to find out the horrors that came to pass shortly after Laura left the orphanage years earlier. The Orphange provides the scares & builds the chill factor in the same kind of way as The Others did and is good for a couple of nail biting scenes.
Terrific film with a good story & some excellent performances, highly recommended

 The Orphanage

| | See all SassoPalmieri's reviews (9)

Where cinema has been awash with 'gorno' and, frankly, unnecessary J-horror retreads of late, there exists a dearth of films that asks audiences to find the scares; to fear the unknown, the unseen, rather than overt bloodletting. Contrarily, The Orphanage is as far from the likes of 'Hostel' as it could be, before it crosses the genre boundary.
When Laura (Rueda) and her husband (Cayo) reopen the orphanage she once lived in,
the appearance of her son's (Princep) not-so imaginary friend heralds an awakening that treads an ambiguous line into the darkness.
And it's this darkness that fuels what follows. Aside from the haunting cinematography, everything has been plumbed for emotional resonance - the vast, creaky house; a cave that plays havoc with the mind; the wrought performances (Rueda's especially); plus the set pieces, chief of which sees an excavation reveal a buried secret that peels back new layers of tragedy. Like all good horrors, it's the drama and story beneath that makes for compelling watching.
Rest assured there are out-and-out jumps, too, one of which proves the horrific can occur any time of day. Bayona is not above employing the traditional deck of basic scares.
Influences are obvious - 'The Others', 'The Shining', 'Don't look Now' - cementing the creeping dread; the slow-burn story as the markings of first-rate film making. Despite loose threads, The Orphanage is a startlingly intelligent debut, as beautiful and sad, as it is terrifying.

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ActorsBelen Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Roger Princep, Mabel Rivera, Montserrat Carulla & Edgar Vivar
DirectorJuan Antonio Bayona
Certificate15 years and over
Year2008
ScreenWidescreen 2.35:1
LanguagesSpanish - DTS-HD Master Audio
SubtitlesEnglish
Duration1 hour and 45 minutes (approx)