Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 127 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Laura returns to the stately manor house that holds such a special place in her heart. The orphanage was abandoned years ago; Laura and her husband, Carlos, plan to reopen it as a center for sick and disabled children. It will be a place where boys and girls--including the couple's beloved 7-year-old Simón--can play freely in the open air, enjoying the sunshine and the nearby beach. In its years of solitude, however, the orphanage has acquired a haunted, unhappy air. To get used to his creepy surroundings, Simón starts to have relationships with imaginary friends. Simón's circle of unseen friends quickly expands to include five more boys and girls, who tell cryptic stories and engage him in elaborate games that carry a suggestion of the sinister. Troubled, Laura allows herself to get sucked into her son's eerie world, which seems to resonate with a far-away and disturbing echo of her own childhood experiences. (Picturehouse) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Delivers more goose bumps than anything Hollywood has served up in years – which I hope does not mean that Bayona, a first-time feature director and music video whiz, will be enlisted to direct "Saw V."
  2. Lures us in with extraordinary subtlety. Keeping sound effects and incidental music to a relative minimum, it builds its suspense almost subliminally. So when something scary or shocking does occur -- deprived of those Hollywood-style cues -- we are truly startled.
  3. 83
    While some of the trappings and even some of the plot elements could easily be called unoriginal, Bayona and screenwriter Sergio G. Sánchez arrange them in a fresh way, crafting an emotionally resonant, nerve-jangling experience.
  4. You're either in the mood to go along with the puzzle pieces or you're not. I'm not usually a puzzle-piece fan myself, not when it's clear that the filmmaker rigs the moves. But I couldn't help but fall for the repurposed real estate, and cheer for the lady strong enough to break through walls when she senses a child is waiting.
  5. 75
    The filmmakers know the tropes of spooky movies: Glowering shadows, squeaking playground equipment, eerie storms and half-glimpsed forms, but the film rests on Rueda's subtle, intense performance, rooted in every half-articulated anxiety that ever gnawed at a parent's brain.
  6. 70
    The Orphanage is a careful, elegant work that looks a little rough around the edges; it was shot largely with natural light and employs minimal special effects.
  7. 50
    Ultimately the composition comes off as both overplayed and underdone.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 50 out of 54
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 54
  3. Negative: 4 out of 54
  1. PJCorpuz
    Mar 30, 2008
    Even if you take away the horror aspect of this film, its still wonderful!
  2. IvanM.
    Dec 26, 2007
    I watched this movie last week in Spain... awesome and soooo scary.
  3. Feb 9, 2012
    This movie was brilliant! I can't think in anything wrong about it. Perhaps there are some small details that needed to be clarified -if they were not left like that deliberately-, but, in movies, as it is in life, there is always room for improvement. The performances were great, and the characters were perfectly elaborates, so the audience empathize with them. I actually felt pretty close to Laura and Simon, and also to the 'ghost' children and their story. Moreover, this movie manages to continuously surprise us. There is always suspense, which makes it thrilling. In fact, at time, I had goosebumps; that, even though I am not a person who gets easily scared. Further, I love the emotional component of the film, because it was not a movie that dealt merely with death, life, and the super natural world, but it was a movie that confronted us about how each of us deals with his/her humanity. The Orphanage questions our coping mechanisms to face, pain, loss, reality, the 'unknown', and more. I think that those people who see is a 'dumb' 'silly' 'pointless' or 'boring' movie are probably more into gore or have a very narrow perspective about what is horror. I have read some of the reasons why some put this movie just a '1 or 2', and frankly, in most of the cases, their criticism shows an absolutely basic analytical thought. So, if you like intellectual stimulation, this is the movie for you! It is magnificently done. Moreover, the photography is breathtaking, so is the landscape. I loved the ending I found it very powerful...and open to your imagination. I did have tears, and I am not an overly emotional person so that means something to me. I think I can easily watch this movie twice the same day, not just because of its beauty, but also to play myself a bit with the clues...I may be able to discover more about it.!..An end note: I did like this movie more than Pan's Laberynth. I find The Orphanage is much better. Pan's Labyrinth was beautiful -what I enjoyed the most was the art direction- but the whole story didn't really impressed me much. The Orphanage is Del Toro's masterpiece! Expand
  4. Luiz
    Jun 14, 2008
    Fantastic! The movie captures the attention from the first minute till it´s brilliant ending. A must see!
  5. Sep 15, 2011
    This movie was absolutely fantastic. The acting was top notch, the set ups for the scary parts was almost torture in how slow and meticulous it set everything up. It even had a couple jump scares that actually worked as well. The ending was also heart wrenching and overall
    satisfying. The problems I hear people having are that it's to slow and that it turns into a drama at the end rather then a horror movie. To me these complaints are just from people who probably like the slasher kill them all movies as opposed to horror movies that take their time and let you try to figure out what's happening and why. The ending again is very emotional and is very dramatic. If you like the slower paced movies then this is definitely worth checking out if you haven't you will not be disappointed.
  6. EmericC
    Aug 11, 2009
    Great movie, but the ending could've been better.
  7. JasonP.
    Jan 21, 2008
    What?! I can't believe I had to sit through 90 minutes of the most boring and pointless sequence of events just to get an "OK" ending. ***SPOILER*** A movie where a mother kills her self over an orphan child and doesn't care one bit about leaving her husband alone and miserable... is just dumb! Oh, and explain to me why Tomas is an evil ghost who smashes the mothers fingers with the door, just to come out all loving and good at the end. What about that old woman who killed the orphans... she shows up out of nowhere in the tool shed (or what ever that room in the front yard is called) to do what? To check if the dead orphans she buried are still dead? And that woman showing up out of nowhere again in front of their car months later just to get hit by a bus... Stupid! I don't understand how anyone can like this film... ***End Spoiler*** I'm soo sick of foreign films getting good reviews from critics, just because it's in another language. If this was made in the U.S. in English, everyone would be trashing this film. Expand

See all 54 User Reviews


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