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El Orfanato | The Orphanage

An unoriginal technician's piece
By BRETT MICHEL  |  January 9, 2008
2.0 2.0 Stars

VIDEO: The trailer for El Orfanato|The Orphanage

Most of the zealous reviews greeting the debut feature of Guillermo del Toro protégé Juan Antonio Bayona cite the latter’s influences, from The Innocents to The Others, and there’s the rub: there are far too many to allow his supernatural horror/thriller to forge its own identity. True, Bayona is a skilled technician, but seek elsewhere if you’re hoping for the transporting originality of last year’s El laberinto del fauno|Pan’s Labyrinth. Those who can overlook the hackneyed scare tactics will appreciate the relatively bloodless classicism of this ghost story from Bayona and writer Sergio G. Sánchez. Belén Rueda impresses as altruistic mother Laura, who with husband Carlos (Fernando Cayo) purchases the orphanage she grew up in, hoping to convert it into a home for sick children. When her HIV-positive adopted son, Simón (Roger Príncep), disappears, her dreams descend into nightmare. Geraldine Chaplin’s spectral presence briefly chills, but the warm, fuzzy ending won’t. Spanish | 100 minutes | Boston Common + Kendall Square + Embassy + Suburbs

Related: Primary concerns, Fractured fairy tales, Doom, gloom and zoom, More more >
  Topics: Reviews , Guillermo del Toro, Juan Antonio Bayona
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 See all articles by: BRETT MICHEL