Massawyrm Becomes A Total Sissy For THE ORPHANAGE!!
Published at: Sept. 27, 2007, 8:48 a.m. CST by merrick
Hola all. Massawyrm here.
Look, there's just no other way to say this – so I'm just gonna come right out and say it. I saw The Orphanage (El Orfanato) tonight. And it made me cry like a little bitch. I'm not talking about some masculine tear up in which I felt the tingles but fought it back, either. No. These were bitch tears. I went all sissy for this film. And you know what? I don't care who knows. This movie rocked me, scared me then pulled out pictures of my mom and showed them to me. And I wept. Don't laugh. You might too.
The Orphanage is a creepy little masterpiece from Spanish first timer Juan Antonio Bayona that may, at first glance, share an awful lot in common with an earlier work by the film's producer Guillermo del Toro. But it is only at first glance that these similarities last. It is a Spanish horror film, set in an old orphanage that may or may not be haunted. You know, kind of like The Devils Backbone. But the similarities truly end there. This film goes off in a completely different direction than del Toro's, and don't tell Guillermo I said this, but I think it is far superior. Don't get me wrong, I love The Devil's Backbone. But this isn't just a great horror film.
This is something magical.
What we have here is closer to classic, early Spielberg than del Toro. In fact, I'd put it on par with the best of Spielberg's horror. This isn't simply another up and comer aping on his producers horror work akin to other finds. This is a brand new exciting voice telling a magnificently touching and ultimately heartbreaking tale. Sure this is a horror movie, and there are some serious creep outs, some moody imagery and a couple of really solid scares. But at its heart this is really a tragedy. It is the antithesis of everything going on in J-Horror these days. It is a story entirely unafraid to allow you to feel, weep and ultimately hope for the denizens of the orphanage in question – living or not so living. This is a story more about elegance in mood rather than exercise. Everything that is creepy SHOULD be creepy, everything that is heartfelt SHOULD be heartfelt. And they never attempt to trick or manipulate you otherwise. The story is exactly as it should be.
And what takes this to a whole 'nother level is that this isn't a movie about complete innocents – but rather very flawed, very real people. And some extraordinarily, if not understandably, villainous ones to boot. While the story is simple, the emotional resonance is complicated, given an amazing level of complexity the likes of which we're rarely treated to in American cinema. This isn't just simple horror. This is one of the best-conceived, most perfectly executed films of the year.
There isn't an unimportant part of this film, not a single cheap scare, nor anything truly resembling the other entries into the haunted house ethos. This is its own beast, a truly wonderful tale that hits all the right notes that you hope to hear in a tale like this, coupled with a story that is unlike what you are expecting. It is beautiful, moody and perfectly paced.
It is not the scariest film you'll see this year, nor is it the bloodiest. It won't make audiences squirm for minutes on end, nor will it have the people lined up for blocks to see it. But it is probably the single greatest horror film you will see all year. It gets everything right and has a little bit of everything to share. If you're the type of person who misses the days of haunted house stories that were all about telling stories, creating legends and crafting a truly horrific, tragic location in which to set your horror, then rejoice. This is a return to that kind of film. The Orphanage is the film Steven Spielberg should have made for us when we were young. Instead, Juan Antonio Bayona and screenwriter Sergio Sanchez have made it for us now. And it was totally worth the wait.
I can't think of a person on the planet I wouldn't Highly Recommend this to. If I see a better horror film this year I'm gonna do backflips. Honestly, when was the last time you heard that a grown ass man cried at a horror movie? And he wasn't alone. Really. This is that good.
Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em.