Review: “The Orphanage”

So this week we watched The Orphanage, which can perhaps best be described as a casserole of The Devil’s Backbone and The Others, with a pinch of The Sixth Sense and a little Poltergeist garnish.  Sadly, though, this casserole was only baked about three-quarters of the way, so it’s still a little runny on the inside.

The Orphanage wasn’t quite as good as most of those other films I just named as ingredients, and it was nowhere near as good as The Devil’s Backbone.  But it was much better than The Others, which my wife and I both found to be a great big predictable snoozefest.  (Even I almost fell asleep watching The Others.)

Anyway, The Orphanage involves, yes, an orphanage, and some orphans, and some treasure hunting, and some weird noises, and a tall, skinny, less funny version of Zelda Rubinstein’s medium, and some ghosts, and the usual crowd of people who don’t believe in ghosts vs. the one person who does.  It has a few jolty moments and an ending that I half saw coming and that half surprised the heck out of me.  I like to be surprised by movies, so I was half satisfied.

My wife had really been wanting to see The Orphanage, mostly on the strength of its good reviews and its association with Guillermo Del Toro, a director she worships, but only when the people in his movies are speaking Spanish.  Unfortunately, The Orphanage put her to sleep in about 30 minutes, and when she woke up, she didn’t bother to ask how it ended.  Not a good sign.

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