This week I started reading Damnificados, by J.J. Amaworo Wilson, in which terrorists attack a Christmas party in a skyscraper and … No, wait, sorry, wrong story. The actual plot is that a group of “damnificados” — defined by the book blurb as “vagabonds and misfits” — takes over an abandoned building and basically turns it into a vertical city. If this reminds you of the Oakland Bay Bridge from William Gibson’s “Bridge” trilogy, then, uh, you may be me. Or you may be Elizabeth Hand.
This month my free book from Amazon is Tears in Rain by Rosa Montero. The astute reader may recognize “tears in rain” as part of Rutger Hauer’s epic Famous Last Words in the film “Blade Runner”, appearing here as listed on Wikipedia:
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. [laughs] Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like [coughs] tears in rain. Time to die.”
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.