El Orfanato – A Beautiful Horror

When my student (He has graduated but I still consider him as my student) told me about a movie called Orphanage, I was curious. He and I have the same taste in horror movies, let’s just say we both like horror movies with good story. Then I heard that it was going to be remade by Hollywood…and I hate remake!! So, I really have to find the movie before it is being remade (not that I ever going to see the remake…but I just want to see the real movie before the remake is out). My feeling toward remakes is same with this quote from director Bayona

“The Americans have all the money in the world but can’t do anything, while we can do whatever we want but don’t have the money” and “The American industry doesn’t take chances, that’s why they make remakes of movies that were already big hits”

And that’s why I don’t watch remakes!! I think Hollywood should start being creative again. I respect originality above everything.

Drive by the news of a remake, I searched for the movie every time I had chance to visit DVD store…Thank God  I finally found it last month and I FREAKIN LOVED IT!!! Really really love it!!!

The movie was not as scary as I expected it to be, there were some scary moments but didn’t frighten me at all. However, El Orfanato is a horror movie I’d like to call as beautiful horror (the other beautiful horror is Ringu). It had a story that’s not entirely depending on how the ghost tried to scare people off. It was more into how the main character deals with the situation. This kind of movie always made me feel sympathy toward the main character. Somehow, I evolved just like her and in the end it left a sense of sadness when it’s over. The scary moments were well built and not as cheesy as most horror movies out there.

The reason why I call it as beautiful horror is because the way it plays with emotion. We will not see the sup front ghost with CGI (as if ghost needs CGI to make them look real!!), and there is no bloody scene like most slasher movies that claimed to be horror movies (not in my list)…it is a pure psychological horror. The atmosphere makes it scary for some people, not for me but I like this atmospheric horror a lot. Just like Ringu, the ghost never appears except at the end…El Orfanato is also like that.

El Orfanato has a sad and happy ending, it depends on how you see it. From the moment she decided to play with the ghosts, I know it would not end in a crappy way. The end touched my heart deeply and I had no shame to say that I cried seeing the last scene of her and the children. I really love the ending.

The actors and actress are also great, they don’t overreact with silly banshee scream like most cheesy horror. Belén Rueda delivers a great performance, we can clearly feel how she feel.

In short, El Orfanato is almost flawless. There some scenes that I find a bit out of place but it is covered with an overall great story.

I have been sharing my feeling about the movie and yet I haven’t given the synopsis yet. Here goes:


The story focused on Laura (Belén Rueda), she used to be an orphan and had good memory at the orphanage. She and her husband decided to live in the abandon orphanage and planning to re-open it. They had a son named Simon. Simon was adopted and had HIV. Simon had some imaginary friends which were more than just a pigment of his imagination. Simon gradually changed after he met a new friend called Tomás. During a party in their house, Simon and Laura had a big argument. When Laura came searching for him, a boy wearing sack mask confronted her. After that incident, Laura and her husband couldn’t find Simon everywhere.

Six month later, Laura hadn’t given up yet. She even called a psychic to find Simon. What she found was more than Simon. She found voices of the orphans. This part is the scariest in the movie…I loved it!


I don’t want to spoil the fun by giving too much…my advice is WATCH IT!!! YOU’LL LOVE IT!! It’s a horror but it also has beautiful story of a mother’s love.

I once made a top-5 list of my favorite horror movies. I should make a new list next year because The Orphanage is so in my top-5 list from now on!!

Movie Detail

Title: El Orfanato (the Orphanage)
Director: J.A. Bayona
Staring: Belén Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Roger Príncep, Geraldine Chaplin
Writer: Sergio G. Sánchez
Producers: Mar Targarona, Joaquín Padro, Álvaro Agustín, Guillermo del Toro
Released: May 20, 2007 (Cannes), October 4, 2007 (Spain), December 28, 2007 (US)
Other Review: Listal.com

10 thoughts on “El Orfanato – A Beautiful Horror

  1. I never understood remakes that are made so soon after the original film! This was only 2007! Maybe, maybe there are some good remakes of old classic films, but something like this is unnecessary.. there are plenty of good writers, Hollywood should hire them 😀 I often also feel that a lot of Hollywood films are quite superficial compared to ones from other countries.
    I chicken out at horror films myself sometimes.. this one looks good though and I also loved Pan’s Labyrinth, also by Del Toro. Might have to gather some courage to view this one 🙂 Interesting post!

    1. I totally agree with you!! this kind of remake is SO unnecessary!! 2007 is just few years ago. I don’t know what is it with Hollywood nowadays, one remake after another…I am sick of hearing the news.

      This isn’t scary at all Theresa, you should see it. Trust me, there is no scary ghost showing up to give you a surprise

  2. I agree… I often wonder why there need to be re-makes at all, especially when the original film is available already dubbed into whatever language you might need.

    We had two such examples here in the US, one being “Let The Right One In” and the other being “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”. Both were released here in the US on DVD dubbed into English…. both were excellent films with good actors, competent filmmakers and lots of good reviews… But neither one got a Theatrical release here… and then they went ahead and re-made them. Stupid…. especially since those remakes weren’t necessary.

    I’m glad you finallly found “El Orfanato”… I liked this one too. 😉

    1. I know those two movies!! I REFUSE to watch The Girl With The Dragoon Tattoo-the remake because I love the original. Even though I am still searching for Let The Right One In and could find Let Me In everywhere,but I have no plan at all to see Let Me In. I might sound too arrogant for refusing ALL remake but I just think why bother watching remake if the original is already awesome?

      I love El Orfanato…it just become my second favorite horror right after Ringu.

  3. I watched it and didn’t find it very scary either but I’m sad to say it didn’t work for me. I may have expected something different. Maybe it did remind me a bit of Pan’s Labyrinth but I loved that so much. Nothing can compete.
    Another remake? Oh no!

    1. You know…I think I need to see Pan’s Labyrinth again. I didn’t like it as much as everyone else the first time I see it. Maybe second viewing can make me like it more.

      Ah ya!! remakes *shakes head* the only thing that can make me watch remake is when Cillian is one of the actors (but I pray he never do remakes)

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