By: Amanda Guarragi
When the original Orphan was first released many people rallied behind the performance of Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman). She gave such a chilling and believable performance that the first film has become a must-see horror film every October. If you are a horror fan, you know her name and that is why many people will watch Orphan: First Kill to understand her backstory a bit more. Her presence on screen alone will send chills down your spine, but watching her interact with others is where she becomes even more fascinating to watch. Fuhrman does fantastic work in both films and is the main reason this prequel works.
After escaping from a psychiatric facility in Estonia, Esther travels to America by impersonating the missing daughter of a wealthy family. Yet, an unexpected twist arises that pits her against a mother who will protect her family at any cost. From the start of the film director William Brent Bell sets the tone and brings the audience back to a different era. The lens is all foggy as if it were a dream in Esther’s mind and the viewer gets to watch her descent into madness. At the time, Esther was in her cell and she knew how to draw people in, which is one of her many talents. Then, of course, she went in for the most brutal kill imaginable. It was fun to watch because you see this young girl who appears to be so sweet and innocent engage in such violent situations.
What worked forthis movie was the pacing and the timing of the twist in the middle of the film. Once Esther gets adopted there needed to be something more to carry the movie out to the end. And set up her future storyline. Esther’s adopted family Tricia (Julia Stiles), Gunner (Matthew Finlan), and Allen (Rossif Sutherland) all welcome her back with open arms but notice that something is different. The twist is possible the best part of the movie and Julia Stiles is very strong in this. Her chemistry with Fuhrman carries the second half of this film and the third act has some great sequences. The lighting and sound design throughout the movie created a different atmosphere in each room, especially where Esther felt the safest.
Orphan: First Kill is another sequel that will leave you pleasantly surprised because of how detailed Esther’s story is. It has been years since the first one was released, so it is only natural to bring it back with a good enough backstory for her. If it’s even possible Fuhrman shined even more in this prequel because she had to develop a different side to her and it added so much depth to the original movie. The cast is great and there are some graphic kills in the movie that will make you clutch your stomach because of how much contact Esther makes with some objects. It’s a fun horror prequel that will make you want to watch the original right after.