“Orphan: First Kill” passes the baton to the original film quite well
Synopsis: After orchestrating a brilliant escape from an Estonian psychiatric facility, Esther travels to America by impersonating the missing daughter of a wealthy family.
Director: William Brent Bell
Stars: Isabelle Fuhrman, Julia Stiles, Rossif Sutherland
Over a decade ago, we were introduced to a character named Esther in the film Orphan. We are now getting the prequel to this box office success. Prequels can be tricky; we know what characters will make it, but we hope to see a strong handoff between the prequel and original film. We also want to see some sort of backstory and understand the development of the main character(s).
Full disclosure, I never saw Orphan. I am, of course, familiar with it, but I didn’t have that as a reference going in to see this film. For those of you in the same boat, rest assured you can appreciate this film without seeing Orphan.
In this film, we meet Tricia and Allen Albright (Stiles and Sutherland), a wealthy couple who have been missing their young daughter. Then a ‘miracle’ happens. They are told their daughter has been found. The family reunites, and all is well, right? Well, not so fast.
There are certain patterns we see in films, the whole ‘been there, done that’ feeling, but what sets movies parts are, among many things, the performances. Esther is such a different breed of character. She’s, dare I say, refreshing. She is in control of her world and will do whatever it takes to protect that. While some aspects of the film feel predictable, being a prequel doesn’t help, but her performance enhances the experience. As the family looks to reconnect with their daughter, something seems off.
Orphan: First Kill is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, there are some glaring plot holes that I won't mention at the risk of spoiling this film. On the other hand, I was impressed with several aspects of the film. It’s tagged as a psychological horror, and I wouldn’t say the movie is necessarily scary, but there are effective ‘jump scares’ throughout the film. Isabelle Fuhrman deserves credit for taking up a role she did 13 years ago and seamlessly breathing life back into Esther. The last time I recall seeing Julia Stiles on screen was in Hustlers, and she didn’t have a significant role in that film. This project gave her more content to work with, and she was very entertaining in the movie.
From a prequel perspective, this movie did its job. It passes the baton to the original film quite well. From just a movie perspective, I enjoyed it. The pacing is good; the story develops well. There are some parts where I feel the acting was a bit much. One character is slightly over the top, but that’s a minor gripe.
Orphan: First Kill is an entertaining film that stands out in this genre due to the performance of Fuhrman.
Watch the movie trailer:
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