Format: DVD from personal collection on rockin’ flatscreen.
Last year, Chip Lary and I traded a list of 12 films for each other just as we did this year. One of the wild cards I picked for him in 2015 was The Orphanage (El Orfanato). I was nervous about the selection even though I genuinely love this movie because Chip wasn’t a horror guy. He wasn’t a fan of blood and gore, and while there’s only a touch of that here, this is clearly a film in the horror genre. As it happened, it was the only movie he gave five stars to from my list last year, and Chip didn’t hand out a lot of five-star reviews. I was genuinely pleased that he liked it as much as he did—it validated the choice and validated what I saw in the film.
The Orphanage, if it has a weak point, ticks all of the boxes in terms of horror movie clichés. There’s a big, spooky, old house that used to be an orphanage (hence the title). There are things that happen in the house that defy explanation. We have a child who has invisible friends who may be real and may not be real. There are paranormal investigators as in Poltergeist. There are also ghost children who are absolutely terrifying.