Evil orphan terrifies in classic horror film

2009-09-28 00:00

FEAR is an unpleasant emotion caused by the probability of being exposed to something unwelcomed. That’s what the dictionary says.

I didn’t major in psychology, but “something unwelcomed” usually implies something that we aren’t too familiar with — the unknown — so to speak.

Horror movies thrive on this emotion. You stay clasping at the edge of you seat because you know very well that something is going to happen … you just don’t know what exactly.

They do a 180-degree spin on most (sane) people’s idea of reality — turning good into bad, and innocence into mendacity.

They turn rag dolls into killers who find pleasure in maliciously murdering their loving five-year-old keepers. They turn family pets into savage beasts that prowl the streets for blood at the sight of a full moon.

Orphan turns a talented nine-year-old Russian girl into a murderous manipulator, hell-bent on destroying the home of her new adoptive parents.

It tells the story of a husband and wife who recently lost their baby. They adopt an older orphaned girl to compensate for their loss. However, she is not nearly as innocent as she seems to be.

Gosh, this girl is so evil. During the course of the movie, she bashes a pigeon to death with a rock, tries to seduce her adoptive father, and even kills a nun by beating her with a hammer.

I was stunned that 12-year-old Isabelle Fuhrman managed to pull off this role. The U.S.-born actress even got the Russian accent pinned. “Vat a purfourmance”.

I take my hat off to Alex Mace for coming up with a story true to the genre that does not submit to market demands for topless teens and masked murderers.

As in any good horror, Orphan is full of twists. It is also a tad predictable, but so are most good horror films — after all, as much as you know something is going to happen, you never really know exactly what.

*** Angelo C. Louw

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