Saturday, 29 March 2008

El Orfanato Espantoso (muy)

I hadn't noticed, presumably due to a low key marketing strategy that many good films fall foul of, particularly if they're (gasp) foreign, that The Orphanage has been out for a week. I was lucky enough to see it back in October at the Fright Fest in London, and made a note to keep an eye out for when it got released predicting huge waves of mega hit-dom. Alas that appears to not be the case, I've heard very little buzz around it, despite the few claims of it being "the new Pan's Labyrinth". Which it isn't. Although, it is in Spanish. And Guillermo was, you know, like the teaboy on set or something.

What it is is a deeply creepy ghost story in a very old-school kind of way. Big creaking houses (an old-school in fact - the titular orphanage). Children with unnervingly real imaginary friends. A sinister old lady with milk bottle glasses. It's all here. Throw in some of the most genuinely jumpy moments in recent cinema, and it makes for essential viewing. I seem to remember sleeping with the lights on that night. And that never happens, cos I'm well tuff. It's ghost children. They creep me out.

So why the low profile? Could it be due to recent real world events that disturbingly mirror some of the film's themes? Or is it just cos the kids can't manage films with subtitles? Whatever, if you can find it at your local cinema I urge you to check this out, as it's probably the best horror film I've seen since the Shining.

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