Saturday, December 31, 2016

Day 61: The Orphanage

First, I want to wish a happy birthday to my only daily reader, you know who you are!

Next up, I almost rented the 1932 movie Vampyr but even the blurb describing it sort of told me to sty away so I'm saving that for later. Instead, back to my regular schedule with one of my favorite horror movies (and one of the few to ever make me cry when I first watched it). The Orphanage was not directed by Guillermo Del Toro but you can see his influence all over it. J.A. Bayona is the guy who DID direct it and he does a remarkable job setting up both horror and tragedy.

At a seaside orphanage for "special" children, the proprietors (one of whom grew up there herself) lose their own child one day when he simply vanishes from a party. Meanwhile, a hooded child has been showing up and terrorizing the woman who runs the orphanage. A lot of mileage is gotten from the warping of innocent childhood games into creepy things that you probably shouldn't do alone. The opening, for example, is the proprietor as a little girl playing the knocking game where you close your eyes and knock three times on wood. The other kids try to get as close to you as they can but freeze once you've opened your eyes. The game ends when a kid reaches you while your eyes are closed.

Of course, this comes back into play later as the now grown up and desperate woman calls out to the spirits of the orphans who are still in the house. She plays the knocking game and we can only see what the camera chooses to show us. I don't want to say too  much more about it but it is one of those masterful horror scenes where our own mind fills in the gaps to make things much worse.

If you can handle subtitles, I think you'll get a lot from this movie.

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