(WARNING REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS)
So after watching many remakes and films with similar concepts and plots in the decade of the 2000's, I thought of this horror to be another lame failure. I remember clearly setting out to watch this at the weekend with very low expectations. Since the year 2000, I have been forced to watch modern horror really as I have seen most of the horror films from the 70's to 90's. However, I was rather impressed with this thrilling, mysterious film. Not only was it not a remake, but for once in the 2000's, the film was completely unlike any other classic produced years ago.It was something brand new and distinctive for present day being made only five years ago. I really enjoyed this film because of it pure brilliance, and the fact that it was also not clichéd.
Seriously, I recommend this film to all horror fans out there as the idea of a psychotic little orphan girl prowling about slashing innocent human victims was fantastic and I can't recall it having being used before! It is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and lasts a very good run time of 123 minutes. The plot revolves around the characters of Kate (Vera Farmiga - who was the main character in one of my favourite modern horrors - The Conjuring) and John Coleman (Peter Sarsgaard) who are rebuilding their troubled marriage. Kate had a drinking problem, but is in therapy and is doing well. She has been sober for one year. The couple decide to adopt a child. When they meet the nine-year-old Russian girl, Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman), at the St. Marina Orphanage, they immediately fall in love with the well-educated orphan. Their young son, Daniel (Jimmy Bennett), is hostile to his new sister; but their deaf daughter, little Max (Aryana Engineer), is enchanted with her - at first. Eventually, Kate begins to feel that Esther is manipulative and possibly even psychologically disturbed. John refuses to listen to his wife's misgivings, and the wounds in their marriage reopen. Kate calls Sister Abigail (CCH Pounder) at the orphanage, and the nun informs her that Esther has a troubled and mysterious history. Kate delves further into Esther's past and discovers she is not all she pretends to be.
Throughout the majority of the film, there is a very tense feeling due to the thrilling atmosphere as Ether becomes more evil. The moment takes a while to be established at a fairly high level, but after it becomes a high level, the film really is fantastic. This thriller received a lot of criticism by people who believed it was offensive towards the general scenario of adoption. If you treat this as a horror film, then for me, I do not find it very offensive. I would highly recommend, however, that you do not allow your children to see this film until they have reached a suitable age in case it were to frighten them out of communicating with other children as Esther is one crazy girl in this!
If you are tired of bad, clichéd horror films (like I am), then I highly recommend this film for you as it is full of suspense, perfect direction, and the central concern of the movie is generally very intelligent. I was very surprised with the out turn of this film as unlike any other horror films nowadays, it was completely distinctive and fantastic in comparison to the present day trash such as captured footage films that are constantly repeated through the years.
Seriously but, in conclusion this film is absolutely exceptional as not only a horror/thriller, but in general the story and background is very different and intriguing. In addition to the plentiful amount of fantastic features that come with the film, there is also a huge unexpected twist towards the end as we discover and understand the true Esther, after knowing all along there was something strange about her. I highly recommend this film to all (apart from young children) as it is very well directed, and lasts a good amount of time. Please give it a watch for your own benefit aside today's disappointing horrors!