Orphan [2009, directed by Jaume Collet-Serra]
A couple looking to complete their family – adopts the child from hell, Esther.
I expected your standard fair from this film – and for the most part got it. You’ve got the creepy young girl – that does some depraved things that make you cringe – and you get the same child being charismatic enough to throw doubt in enough of the adults heads to make them question the child’s lone accuser – but it’s done very well. The performances all around are spot on – and the actress playing Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) is fantastically creepy. It’s rather violent, gory and terrifying – it builds tension and anticipation of terror very adeptly and it’s smart enough not to throw some dumb excuses in your face in hopes that you’d just plain believe it. I give this film an enthusiastic 4 out of 5.
Suspiria [1977, directed by Dario Argento]
Some very strange things are happening at the European ballet school that Susan has just joined.
This isn’t just Dario Argento’s masterpiece – this is a horror masterpiece. Argento’s direction is outstanding – from the amazing cinematography, to the use of interesting frame composistion, and the basic yet under used art of using light and shadow. I loved the use of colors - everything is washed in reds, blues and greens – it’s amazing. There’s a high influence of German Expressionism as well as French Impressionism – elevating Suspiria to above just another horror film to a visusal masterpiece. You could put it on mute and enjoy the film for just that – BUT you couldn’t because of Argento’s use of the soundtrack to punctuate the images is perfectly executed. Even the acting was great – I’m seriously having a hard time finding a flaw in this film. Suspiria earns a perfect score – 5 out of 5.