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Saturday, December 31, 2011

El Orfanato (aka The Orphanage) (2007)

A young wife and mother (Belen Rueda, THE SEA INSIDE) returns to the orphanage where she was raised. Now shut down, she plans to re-open the orphanage as a haven for disabled children. But when her young adopted son (Roger Princep) disappears without a trace, she must delve into the dark secrets of the orphanage's past in order to find him. Stylishly and intensely directed by Juan Antonio Bayona and co-produced by Guillermo Del Toro, this is a wonderfully atmospheric "horror" film that, in the end, you're likely to find more poignant than frightening. But if you're looking for cheap scares and gore, you can pass on it. This elegant ghost story is in the style of ROSEMARY'S BABY and THE INNOCENTS with its emphasis on mood and style rather than providing "jump at you" scares. The evocative score is by Fernando Velazquez. With Geraldine Chaplin as a medium who helps unlock the orphanage's dark past. Let's hope Hollywood resists an attempt to remake it for the English language market.

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