5/10 I re-watched the 2009 horror movie “Orphan” and despite a strong cast and and interesting twist, that movie does not hold up well. The movie made a profit and basically doubled what it cost to make, ensuring an inevitable sequel, prequel or remake. However, it took 13 years for this prequel to materialize and while the end result is rather mediocre, I would say that this is better than the original. Half of this movie works and the other half doesn’t so we will start off with the negatives first. Like most horror movies, there are clichés, impossible things going on, huge coincidences, etc. The movie also makes it appear as if murder is super easy to get away with, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The opening is utterly ridiculous as a mental asylum A) staffs its guards with the dumbest people imaginable, B) has horrible protocols in case someone breaks out and C) doesn’t clear a room to make sure it is safe before sticking civilians into it. One guard thinks he is going to get lucky with a patient but with him being a guard should know that there is literally a camera in each room so there is no possible way of getting away with it even if he did get lucky. While that is just the opening ten minutes, there are many stupid moments littered throughout the movie. The score is forgettable and certain elements of the plot are pretty ridiculous. The main family in the movie thinks they are being reunited with their missing daughter yet the proper authorities never do any kind of DNA test or examine dental records to verify that this is their actual daughter. They just go along with it which is not how these things work in real life. The direction is fairly vanilla and doesn’t break the mold in terms of horror movies. That being said, there are some redeeming qualities to the movie. The pacing is strong so you will be entertained from start to finish and there are several strong connections to the original 2009 movie without feeling forced or like blatant fan service. My favorite aspect of the movie is a plot twist that comes in around the halfway mark of the movie. I didn’t see it coming and it allowed for some of the cast to take a darker turn than what you’d be expecting. Speaking of the cast, while Isabelle Fuhrman returns to play the role of Esther, I was confused as to how she would play the same character in a prequel, since she has aged 13 years. In the first movie she was a 12-year-old playing a 9-year-old and now she is a 25-year-old playing a 9-year-old. While I thought they might have used de-aging technology that we’ve seen in several Marvel movies and “The Irishman”, they went with a more practical take. Fuhrman’s face looks shockingly similar to when she was a child so they just used camera angles to make her look shorter (similar techniques were used in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy to make hobbits look short next to everyone else). Body doubles were also used but overall, it was incredibly impressive to pull off what they did visually. Finally, Julia Stiles really gets to let loose and gives a great, memorable performance that I wasn’t expecting. While the movie doesn’t break any new ground and has many dumb aspects, if you set your expectations accordingly and enjoyed the first movie, you will appreciate some of the twists and turns that this prequel takes. Maybe in another 13 years we can get a prequel to this and have Fuhrman play herself as a baby. Stranger things have happened…

#JuliaIsStillInStile / #EndOrphans / #WeHaveToBesther / #StillOnTheFencingAboutThisMovie / #ScriptNeedsAnotherCoatOfPaint / #GirlMostLikelyToKill

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