The Orphanage

User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 154 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 19 out of 154

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User Reviews

  1. DanielleM.
    May 27, 2008
    10
    This movie was amazing, i couldn't get enough. You really have to pay attention to understand whats going on. I like it when a movie keeps you on the edge of your set, and this one does.
  2. CatullusP.
    Jul 17, 2008
    9
    An almost unbearably chilling film with surprising emotional heft and humanity, which makes this a highly original entry in the thriller genre. Scary, yes, but heartbreaking, compassionate and sad as well. The cast--especially the mother--the direction, the gorgeous photography, the music--are all first class. The Orphanage succeeds brilliantly with tropes that are familiar to the genre. An almost unbearably chilling film with surprising emotional heft and humanity, which makes this a highly original entry in the thriller genre. Scary, yes, but heartbreaking, compassionate and sad as well. The cast--especially the mother--the direction, the gorgeous photography, the music--are all first class. The Orphanage succeeds brilliantly with tropes that are familiar to the genre. Like a great song, it contains many familiar chords and notes and yet is put together in such a way that makes you feel as if you're seeing it for the first time. I can't imagine what it must take to pull something like this off. Those looking for cheap thrills and gore won't find it here. This movie requires an attention span above 9 years old. Expand
  3. MichaelF.
    Jan 17, 2008
    8
    Truly frightening in an old-school, tasteful way.
  4. SethF
    Jan 4, 2008
    9
    Beautifully shot, acted and edited.One of my favorite films this year. It is filled with jumps, goosebumps not to mention heart. It is not a cheap thrill. see it!
  5. TomL.
    Mar 21, 2008
    10
    One of the most intense, horrifying movies I've watched for a long time. It's simple and elegant in the way that it's shot, yet immerses you into an unforgiving world where anything is possible. This movie is a true horror movie which guarantees goosebumps. Definately recommended and I will be buying this on DVD. Superb!
  6. PrinkipperSkipple
    Mar 27, 2008
    9
    Great film. Like Pan's Labyrinth, don't get caught up in the supernatural aspects and see it in very human terms and it is still both scary and touching
  7. NathanN.
    Mar 3, 2008
    10
    This is a seriously scary movie. Visually it goes to extremes in being perfect and even the can't be helped cliche parts work well. This movie is a lot like The Ring in how it delivers the goosebumps, even though you know its only a movie. If you like this one you'll also like Session 9.
  8. PJCorpuz
    Mar 30, 2008
    10
    Even if you take away the horror aspect of this film, its still wonderful!
  9. JayH.
    Apr 15, 2008
    7
    Visually very impressive, like all Guillermo Del Toro films, he is also gifted and drawing the viewer into a film. Suspenseful, fascinating and a well crafted film. Good cinematography and art direction.
  10. BrianW.
    May 23, 2008
    9
    Was so well done, I forgot that this was in Spanish with English subtitles. Guillermo Del Toro is a genius. I investigate the paranormal and it takes a lot to scare me, which very few horror movies have ever done. This one made me actually get up out of my chair on more than one occasion. Nice to see a plot that hasn't been overuse in previous movies and the creepy kids factor was Was so well done, I forgot that this was in Spanish with English subtitles. Guillermo Del Toro is a genius. I investigate the paranormal and it takes a lot to scare me, which very few horror movies have ever done. This one made me actually get up out of my chair on more than one occasion. Nice to see a plot that hasn't been overuse in previous movies and the creepy kids factor was very well played. Acting was very good in this film, and sold the plot amazingly. Expand
  11. David
    May 31, 2008
    10
    This was an excellent movie even though when you stand back and look it is really just a haunted house pic. The movie maker that can get a jump from an audience from a simple slamming door like this did is the new Hitchcock.
  12. KevinC.
    Mar 29, 2009
    9
    A beautiful film the evokes a creepy atmosphere instead of going for cheap scares. It plays with your expectations, as some of the things you think are important end up being inconsequential, or vice versa, creating a conclusion that is completely logical but that still manages to surprise you. My one caveat is that I wish they had included a couple of the deleted scenes to add more of A beautiful film the evokes a creepy atmosphere instead of going for cheap scares. It plays with your expectations, as some of the things you think are important end up being inconsequential, or vice versa, creating a conclusion that is completely logical but that still manages to surprise you. My one caveat is that I wish they had included a couple of the deleted scenes to add more of the character depth, but maybe it's hindsight and if they were in there I would think they were spoon-feeding the end to me. Expand
  13. IvanM.
    Dec 26, 2007
    10
    I watched this movie last week in Spain... awesome and soooo scary.
  14. danielw
    Dec 26, 2007
    9
    The classic gothic horror movie is a sadly dying breed -- swamped by slasher movies and facile monster claptrap. The orphanage is a triumphant return of the genre. It's got it all -- a big house with lots of corners around which things that go bump in the night may -- or may not -- be lurking, a lighthouse, and a sad looking little boy with a dark secret. But the filmmakers have The classic gothic horror movie is a sadly dying breed -- swamped by slasher movies and facile monster claptrap. The orphanage is a triumphant return of the genre. It's got it all -- a big house with lots of corners around which things that go bump in the night may -- or may not -- be lurking, a lighthouse, and a sad looking little boy with a dark secret. But the filmmakers have respect for the genre, and it never descends into camp. This is a seriously scary and stylish piece of filmmaking -- scary, in that it gets under your skin, rather than in that it makes you jump out of your seat. Expand
  15. JimS
    Jan 10, 2008
    10
    An unusually commited and affecting film, it's not clear that it really belongs in the horror genre. Rueda is lovely and involving, and her son wonderful. Really this is a film about maternal love, under very special circumstances.
  16. ChadS.
    Jan 12, 2008
    8
    Simon(Roger Princep) is HIV-positive, which serves as a metaphor, I think, for the aesthetics of the way this filmmaker reworks the horror genre to his liking. We expect blood, but "The Orphanage" is nearly bloodless. Using AIDS as an analogy: If somebody with the virus bleeds, there's a fear of being infected. Just the very idea of an infected person shedding tainted blood scares Simon(Roger Princep) is HIV-positive, which serves as a metaphor, I think, for the aesthetics of the way this filmmaker reworks the horror genre to his liking. We expect blood, but "The Orphanage" is nearly bloodless. Using AIDS as an analogy: If somebody with the virus bleeds, there's a fear of being infected. Just the very idea of an infected person shedding tainted blood scares us. After years of sitting through so many American horror films(mostly bad), we've been conditioned to expect arterial sprays, red drippings, or some manner of spectacular bloodletting. As it turns out, nobody spills an ounce of blood in "The Orphanage", but the film manages to induce an anxiety about some death rendered in grisly detail. Simon is representative of this filmmaker's sensibilities. The young boy doesn't have to bleed to scare the bejesus out of us. "The Orphanage" takes a page out of the "Poltergeist" handboo-(make the horror twofold; human(an abducted child) and supernatural(ghosts)- with cribnotes from "The Blair Witch Project"(black screen, the human face in fearful repose), and god help us all, Steven Spielberg's worst title from his filmography. Most impressive of all is how the ghosts don't flicker, or fade away; they're either corporeal or suggested. "The Orphanage" is cerebral, but by no means is it a deconstruction of the genre. In the film's last ten minutes, you get the raw emotion of Ingmar Bergman's "Cries and Whispers" and the Spielbergian uplift of "Kick the Can"(the second segment from "The Twilight Zone: The Movie"). Pretty cool, huh. Expand
  17. rp
    Jan 13, 2008
    9
    I did not want to see this movie since I tend to dislike the horror genre. However, the film takes a wonderful detour (I am sure is not to everyone's liking) and the last section of the movie moved me as few movies have. Belen Rueda might be the reason why this movie works so well.
  18. THW
    Jan 14, 2008
    9
    Scares you the old fashioned way, with your own imagination and fear of the unknown. A refreshing change from the overly gory Hollywood trash that's been polluting the horror genre. A great methodical, suspense ridden film.
  19. AbbyL
    Feb 13, 2008
    10
    I absolutely LOVED this movie. Personally I think everything Sergio Sanchez and Guillermero Del Toro (spelling?) touch turns to gold. But I'm a sucker for Spanish/Mexican films. And this movie did not disappoint.
  20. Mr.PotatoR.
    Mar 11, 2008
    8
    @Jason P. You have obviously not understood anything about this movie![***SPOILER***]The mother kills herself out of guilt. She was responsible for the boys death (think about that).As I understood the boy that pushes the mother and 'smashes' her fingers is not a ghost but her son wearing the mask (when she finds him dead he is still wearing it).The old woman was alarmed when @Jason P. You have obviously not understood anything about this movie![***SPOILER***]The mother kills herself out of guilt. She was responsible for the boys death (think about that).As I understood the boy that pushes the mother and 'smashes' her fingers is not a ghost but her son wearing the mask (when she finds him dead he is still wearing it).The old woman was alarmed when she realized that people have moved back into the orphanage and acted without thinking - you are right this is as much unreasonable as it is realistic: just imagine that you have killed someone and hidden his corpse on the basement of an abandoned house, and at some point you are told that someone has moved in. Plus she Expand
  21. THES
    Mar 28, 2008
    10
    How frightening a horror becomes to watch always depends to an extent upon the individual - their fears, phobias (and subconcious even?). To my mind, The Orphanage is the most frightening movie I have ever endured. It is also expertly paced and evocatively shot.
  22. JL
    Apr 14, 2008
    10
    One of the most amazing movies I have ever seen. It really moves you inside.
  23. MattD.
    Apr 22, 2008
    8
    An excellent, chilling story that creates suspense without the mindless use of gory props and fake screams and has enough plot twists to keep it interesting. It must be (and deserves to be) watched at full volume in a quiet, dark room to have the greatest effect.
  24. Radrian
    May 22, 2008
    9
    Great movie. On par with some of the best Hitchcock made. Amazing ending.
  25. RyanM.
    May 27, 2008
    9
    Simple, well shot, ghost story that has more depth in it's simplicity and mood than the obvious American style scares with monsters and gore. Great, even, and chilling made this film worthwhile..
  26. Luiz
    Jun 14, 2008
    9
    Fantastic! The movie captures the attention from the first minute till it´s brilliant ending. A must see!
  27. EmericC
    Aug 11, 2009
    8
    Great movie, but the ending could've been better.
  28. JohnD.
    Dec 27, 2007
    10
    Probably the best horror film since The others but in another level. This is more like a drama with some horror moments. Belén Rueda gives one of the most devastating performances of the recent years, probably the best female performance of the year.
  29. JustinM
    Dec 28, 2007
    10
    Easily the best film I've seen all year. Despite some unnecessarily drawn out scenes, the camera work is amazing, the suspense is palpable and realistic, and ultimately you're left with a sense of finality.
  30. JoeU.
    Dec 29, 2007
    9
    I always read the best and worst reviews for all films on Metacritic. It is interesting that one of the best features of this fillm, in my humble opinion, which is a moving and surprising ending, happens to be what the worst review (NY Daily News) describes as an "unsatisfactory" ending. That´s why we are all different.... Add to that what I thought was a good story line, good I always read the best and worst reviews for all films on Metacritic. It is interesting that one of the best features of this fillm, in my humble opinion, which is a moving and surprising ending, happens to be what the worst review (NY Daily News) describes as an "unsatisfactory" ending. That´s why we are all different.... Add to that what I thought was a good story line, good direction, beautiful cinematography, excellent acting by Belen Rueda, and it all adds up to what I thought was quite an entertaining and satisfying movie. Expand
Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    70
    There’s not really a bogeyman in The Orphanage and not much blood; just insane intensity and a building sense of bad vibes.
  2. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    90
    A great horror movie is like a good shrink--and a lot cheaper, too. It purges us through petrification. That horror movie, thankfully, has arrived. It's called The Orphanage," and it is seriously scary.
  3. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    90
    A fastidiously grim ghost story that rattles the bones of the haunted-house genre and finds plenty of fresh (but not too bloody) meat.