Film Review – Orphan: First Kill

Orphan: First Kill (MA)

Directed by: William Brent Bell

Starring: Isabelle Fuhrman, Julia Stiles, Rossif Sutherland

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Review by: Julian Wright

With Esther, the psychotic 33 year old Estonian with a thirst for blood and daddies and rare hormone disorder that makes her look like a child dead at the end of Orphan (2009), the only option was to look backwards with a prequel – so now we are treated to her attempt to wreak havoc on her first adoptive family.

Two years before Esther was adopted by an unsuspecting family that she did her best to completely destroy, the 31 year old was locked up in the Saarne Institute.

Here, she escapes, dons the identity of a missing American girl who she bears a vague physical resemblance to, turns herself in and is shipped to America to the wealthy Albright family – mum Tricia (Julia Stiles), father Allen (Rossif Sutherland) and son Gunnar (Matthew Finlan).

While Esther fits in and adapts to her new life, the detective on the missing child case Detective Donnan (Hiro Kanagawa) becomes suspicious, and so a more bonkers twist than the original Orphan film is revealed.

Orphan (2009) put a wild twist on the “Bad Seed” trope, and David Coggeshall, David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Alex Mace, credited for the story and screenplay, have taken on the burden of having to one-up the original in terms of shock and surprise.

What begins as almost a re-tread of the original, with a slight The Imposter influence thrown in, is soon spun on its head with a left-field twist that does more than just shock for the sake of shock value.

This absurdly fun twist challenges our expectations, shows our lead character in a new light and gives her a whole new emotional journey. It also creates some deliciously dark and funny interaction between Esther and her new family.

The only minor let down is that the film doesn’t quite go far enough – there could have been a couple more scenes of power play between the characters. but this is a minor quibble for a film that is more fun than it has the right to be.

Another minor distraction is the way each scene looks like it was filmed after a fog machine has been left on before the cameras roll – surely an attempt to mask the fact that Fuhrman is now 12 years older, playing an even younger version of her character.

But under the reins of the aforementioned script team and director William Brent Bell, Orphan: First Kill is a sensationally satisfying piece of pulpy horror entertainment done just right.

It is just a shame that this character has been painted into a corner which would prevent further adventures – this real life Chucky offers a wild ride!

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