As I’ve said before, for some reason, horror movies set in England or foreign countries just seem more realistic and frightening than modern American films. I think it’s because American horror films today are heavily dependent on computer-generated imagery.
For instance, I recently watched “I am Legend” and thought the scenes with the infected humans and animals would have been much more terrifying if they had not been computer-generated. This is what made “28 Days Later,” a film with a similar storyline, so much scarier.
“The Orphanage” is a Spanish film. I am not fluent in Spanish and generally don’t like subtitled films, but horror movies are the exception because you can generally tell what’s happening without having to constantly rely on the translation.
You won’t see any CGI in “The Orphanage.” The realistic look and feel of the film is one thing that makes it so haunting. The cast was also very good. Belen Rueda gives a wonderful performance as Laura, a woman who returns with her family to the orphanage/haunted house where she once lived as a child. Shortly after moving in, their young son, Simon, played by the adorable little Roger Princep, starts getting a little too involved with his imaginary friends and eventually goes missing. Laura begins to realize something supernatural may be behind his disappearance.
With a feel similar to “The Others,” The Orphange doesn’t try to comfort its audience with a traditional Hollywood conclusion. It’s a film true horror fans will want to watch.