The Orphanage (El Orfanato) [boxed spoilers]

Has anyone seen this film? It’s a Spanish-language horror film produced by Guillermo del Toro. I was hoping to find a thread on it but didn’t see any mention. I just saw it tonight after a my co-worker recommended it, but I knew nothing about it beforehand. This was one of the most tense films I have ever seen! Every moment is just so taut and filled with the sense that something is going to happen sometime, but you don’t know when it will come. Belen Rueda gives such a strong performance and I was really surprised at just how moving the film is. It’s not your standard supernatural thriller. Plus I love the way the film utilizes sound and noise effects. I’d really like to know what other people thought of this film.

That ending was such a gut-punch. Damn. When Laura sees Simon’s body at last in the cellar and just lets loose with an utterly painful scream, I couldn’t help but tear up. Her loss was palpable. After all that had happened, to know that she could have found her son alive if only she had followed the clues the night he disappeared…

I’ve been reading on IMDB, and some people have put forth the idea that there were no ghosts in the film at all! That it was Simon dressed as Tomas who pushes Laura into the tub, and that everything that happens after is in Laura’s imagination. I completely didn’t get that while watching the film, but looking back on it I suppose that could be possible. The banging she was hearing was actually Simon banging against the locked door. :frowning:

One thing I’m not sure about, was it Simon or Tomas who Laura saw at the party and in the hallway? I thought it was Tomas because you hear him making these horrible noises and his eye looked deformed, but I’m curious to the theory that it was actually Simon.

Was it Simon who set out the clues for Laura to find Tomas’s house, or was it the ghosts?

And the scene where Benigna grabs Laura’s arm, :eek: I was *not *expecting that at all! Her face, and Tomas’s burlap mask, are two of the most nightmarish images I’ve seen in recent years.[/spoiler]

The more I read about it afterwards, the more I loved it and realized things I hadn’t gotten in the film. This is definitely one film that deserves a second viewing!

I would love to see it! Unfortunately, for some weird reason, it is not playing in Baton Rouge (I think the closest it is playing in Louisiana is Lafayette, wtf?)… :frowning:

Why is it taking so long to release it to more theaters?

I want to see this SO bad, but I am probably one of the worst scary-movie watchers ever. I think the only way I could get through this would be in the middle of the day, in company, with all the lights on, after a bottle of wine. Sucks, because everyone who’s seen it tells me it’s one of the best movies they’ve ever seen.

I started a thread about this yesterday also, but no one came to play in it. I’ve been longing to discuss the movie.

Worse than that, in her panic she was the one who trapped Simon down there. (She knocked those metal thingies against the door in the closet so he couldn’t get out again.)

I wondered about that, but I don’t think it works. One of the clues in “the game” was the handle to the hidden door, which Simon couldn’t have planted. Also, the banging was Simon but the clanging was crazy social worker trying to break the lock in the shed.

I wondered about this myself. I think it was Tomas because of his violent reaction. I don’t think Simon would have tried to hurt his mother, even though he was angry at her. Tomas would have been frightened to have his mask removed and might also have been angry at Laura for hitting Simon. Still, if Simon was visiting and presumably playing with Tomas in Tomas’s Little House, why wasn’t Tomas down there playing with him?

Some of them could be interpreted either way, but Simon could not have hidden the door handle.

Yeah. sigh

I saw the movie with my coworkers. We spent this morning sketching the house layout on graph paper because I was arguing

that the position of Tomas’s little room would have been in the center of the basement (pretty much below the main staircase). It would have been evident to anyone in the basement that the room was much too shallow and that there must be another room, an obvious place to hunt for a missing boy. And while he was thumping on the door in the middle of the night, which could be heard clearly from a few stories up, why didn’t he holler?

Phew I hope I coded those spoilers right. . .

That reminds me of another question: why was Simon wearing Tomas’s mask when Laura found him? Perhaps that was meant to imply that Simon had dressed up as Tomas earlier. (But if I were a little kid trapped in a basement, I would eventually take off the mask.) Otherwise Tomas put the mask on Simon or Simon’s body at some point. Why?

So it’s worth seeing? I thought the previews looked great, but then a few friends said it sucked. How horrific does it get? I am in no mood for more Ring-style kreepy kids, though that bag-headed boy looks scary.

Because we lost our only venue that played even slightly ‘artsy’ options… the Siegen Lane theatre.

I think that’s to signify to us that it was Simón, and not Tomás, who attacked Laura. Simón was upset after being slapped and dismissed, so he shoved Laura into the bathroom and shut the door on her hands. The kid was going through some emotional turmoil: he had just found out that he was possibly going to die, he had discovered his parents were not his birth parents, and he was going to live in a house full of children who would demand the attention of his parents. Lashing out at his mother, especially after she had slapped him, seemed in character enough for such a young kid.

I think it’s worth seeing. It builds tension well enough, and it’s a decent example of the horror/suspense genre. It’s not like The Ring, so you shouldn’t have problems there.

That said, I went to see it because Guillermo del Toro’s name was attached, and while I enjoyed it, I thought it came out less original than I was hoping. If you miss out on it in the theater, there’s nothing lost, in my opinion, in seeing it on DVD. (Especially if the lights are out and you’re alone at home. ;))

I can see the argument that it was Simon upstairs in the hall. When you say “signify to us,” do you mean that Simón wasn’t actually wearing the mask? Even if he had dressed as Tomás, I don’t think a little boy would stay dressed up after the joke was over and he was trapped and scared.

[spoiler]My thought is that Simón was wearing the mask in the upstairs hall. The reason he’s wearing it in the cellar/basement is that, without it, the audience wouldn’t be sure that he was the one who attacked Laura. I suspect that was the director’s whole point in Laura finding him with the mask on; she comes to the realization that this all happened that one day and due to actions on her part her guilt–and the sinking feeling in our stomachs as we sympathize and discover with her–grows by leaps and bounds. Now, as for why Simón kept the mask on, my guess is that he probably got very cold down and kept it on for warmth. When he fell and hurt himself, it stayed on.)

Plus, whether intended or not, Laura finding the body with the mask only helps intensify the tension. Is it Simón or Tomás? When she removes the mask, will we see a decaying little boy, or an animated and angry ghost? It keeps us guessing until the last second. [/spoiler]

I think we’re discussing two separate issues here: why the director/screenwriter chose to do something and why the character in the movie would have chosen to do something.

[spoiler]I completely follow why the director chose to put the mask on Simón’s body. It was creepy and horrific and everything a director could wish for.

I was asking why Simón himself would have done it. He certainly wasn’t considering what would have given me the biggest jolt when his mouldering corpse was finally discovered. I guess he could have been cold. That seems a little weak on the part of the director, though. Simón died in the summer and the cellar room was comfortable enough that Tomás’s Mom had spent time there without extra clothing.[/spoiler]

I saw this for the 3rd time last night, and it held up. Even when you know what’s going to happen, it’s still spooky, and the characters become that much more poignant. The second time I saw the movie I walked out of the theater sobbing. That didn’t happen yesterday, but I still had tears in my eyes.

Were your friends hoping for a Spanish-language Saw/Hostel-like torture porn movie, or did they just not like to read? In any case, they’re wrong wrong wrong. It in no way sucks. It’s a wonderful movie.

It’s not about Ring-style kreepy kids either.

As I said several weeks ago, this movie will appeal most to those who like films such as The Devil’s Backbone, The Others, and the original The Haunting. The Orphanage takes its place alongside those movies.

When I first saw it in December, it was at a sneak preview and the director and screenwriter were there for a Question and Answer session after the film. Strangely enough, no one asked them if

[spoiler]that was Simón or Tomás who pushed Laura in the bathroom. Also, I don’t remember anyone asking straight out if the children were actually real. They mainly answered questions about the locale, and getting the financing and technical questions. They were really nice guys and fun to talk to. I’d love to go to a Q&A now that I’m much more familiar with the movie. After the first viewing I was too emotionally stunned by suicide being a “happy ending” to think of any intelligent questions.

My own thought is that it was Simón who pushed Laura, but that the kids really did exist and left the clues for her to find Simón. I too don’t understand why the police didn’t find Simón, or why no one heard him if he yelled, and he certainly would have yelled, but I’m willing to go with it. [/spoiler]

“One two three
Knock on the wall”

Does that game actually exist?

Okay, sure, I wasn’t entirely confident about which motivation you were addressing (Simón’s or the director), so I thought I’d throw in both. But back to Simón. I think we have to remember that he was also on a regular round of medication. I think the subtitles mentioned it was HIV and not full-blown AIDS, but I inferred he was supposed to be sick, which along with the disabling fall, would hasten both his being cold and eventual death. Either that, or he continued to wear the mask because it was comforting to him. Beyond that, I dunno; all complete guesswork on my part because either the director didn’t explain it, or I missed a hint somewhere.

But last year’s Pan’s Labyrynth was played in commercial cinemas, more specifically the Rave theater by O’Neal, and I know because I went to see it.

I keep looking every week… I want to see it dammit!