A haunting and heartbreaking plot full of unimaginable scares and creeping, undefined dread; Juan Antonio Bayona's astounding debut The Orphanage stands as one of the most beautiful and moving horror movies in recent history.
Adopting seven-year-old, sweet natured, and imaginative Simon (Roger Princep) has awoken complex feelings in happily married Laura (Belen Rueda). Having been adopted herself and feeling a need for closure, Laura persuades her husband Carlos (Fernando Cayo) to buy the dilapidated institute where she spent the earliest, happiest, years of her life and reopen the orphanage as a facility for disabled children. As they move in to the silent, stately manor where something ominous haunts the darkened hallways, Simon's behaviour becomes increasingly reserved and malevolent. Carlos pins Simon's actions as a desperate bid to get more attention from his distracted parents but Laura isn't convinced and embarks on a desperate quest to unearth the terrible secret that lurks in the old house.
Taking inspiration from everything from Peter Pan to Henry James' The Turn of the Screw, director Juan Antonio Bayona and producer Guillermo del Toro (The Devil's Backbone) have produced a highly imaginative and well made film that induces fear throughout. With a musical score that elicits shudders from the outset and a heart-wrenching plot that filters unimaginable horror through a fairytale frame, The Orphanage is a unique, intelligent, spine-tingling, yet heartfelt horror that is as unsettling as Guillermo del Toro's Pans Labyrinth.