Orphan First Kill

Where I Watched it: Paramount Plus

English Audio Description?: Yes

Critic’s Note: orphan First Kill was also a day and date theatrical, so it’s possible the audio description is the same, but i cannot confirm.

2nd Editor’s Note: This review will be written as if you have seen Orphan (the 2008 film), or are at least aware of how it ends.

Man, two special notes before I even begin to review. That’s special. I first learned this movie existed just days before it was released, and my first thought was why are we getting a prequel 14 years later? Is there a demand for this? Really? Then I noticed the super talented Julia Stiles was attached, as well as the original girl Isabella Fuhrman, who was 12 when she shot the original, and is now 25. And yes, she’s still acting. She received a Spirit Award nomination last year.

So, most people walking into this either didn’t see the original because it’s been 14 years, or they have, and they know the twist. luckily, this film assumes you saw the original, and reveals the twist early on. Very early on, like in the first five minutes. There’s a woman, she’s gotten a job at a mental institution, and on her first day she’s warned about a certain patient. When things go on lockdown, her idiot boss locks her in a room not knowing who is in it, but this woman finds herself there with a young girl, who we know is not a little girl, and it’s soon revealed to the entire audience. Then, the movie begins.

of course she breaks out, people die, and she manages to get herself into the arms of a family that is missing a child that looks close enough to her. For those who watched the first film, there is zero suspense here, as the fate of these characters is revealed in the original. It’s why shes literally an Orphan. It’s in the fucking title. if you think this shit is a spoiler, just ask yourself “Why is this film called Orphan? If she isn’t one… oh wait.” Yes.

however, despite the uphill battle of all the cards being on the table, the movie manages to play with the inevitable while also making some really interesting points about being privileged in this world. This is most seen in Gunner, the older brother character, who tells his fake sister that he matters, people like him matter. And this is a kid with everything handed to him whose sport is fencing. This film is not subtle.

The reason I am giving this film an above average grade is that even though I predicted the twist, and how the title really means something, I can say loosely my aim was slightly off. Even though I saw their big twist coming, I applied it on the wrong person. That’s about as close as I can get to saying it, without saying it.

So, a clever twist ups the ante for our little killer, and suddenly she has to be smarter about everything. That’s what makes the film work, is that unlike the first film where she clearly had her adults outfoxed, here she’s given characters who are secretly as devious as she is. If we weren’t certain Fuhrman lives to see another day to be in the next film, the suspense could be real.

But, like I said, because it’s already set in stone, there’s only just so much they can do, and only just so much suspense it can really bring.The audio description here does a good job, though personally having seen Fuhrman when she was 12 playing this role, I’d love to see how they really pulled this off now that she’s more than twice that.

On another note, i was really happy to see that the same production house behind the 90’s reboots of house on Haunted Hill and 13 Ghosts is still making films, even if this seeems like a far cry from those projects. At least Dark Castle is still alive. Watch this or don’t. It’s not the worst thing you’ll see this year.

Episode Grade: C+

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