The other day I was watching Matt Knost’s YouTube show Settle the Score. This week’s episode featured Ethan Erwin, whom I had learned about from the Schmoedown, and, at the end of the show, he mentioned that he was producing a new movie coming out the day after the show would air. It was called Orphan: First Kill. I wanted to watch to support Ethan.
Turned out that Orphan: First Kill is a prequel of a 2008 horror film Orphan. Amazingly, the main protagonist Esther was played in both the original and the new prequel by the same person, Isabelle Fuhrman. I had never seen Orphan, so I was interested to see if I would be able to follow the story of the prequel without having seen the first film. That was not a problem.
This film showed us where the mysterious Esther (not her real name) came from. She was originally at the Saarne Institute in Estonia and her real name was Leena. She was considered to be the most dangerous patient they had. Though Leena appeared to be a young child, she was, in truth, a 31-year old woman. Leena pulled off a bloody escape from the institute, leaving a trail of bodies in her wake. Learning that there was a girl in America named Esther Albright who was missing and whom she had a resemblance of, Leena decided to pretend to be the missing girl as a way to escape.
Our new Esther was “reunited” with her supposed parents, wealthy artist Allen Albright (Rossif Sutherland) and his wife Tricia (Julia Stiles) as well as her pretentious brother Gunnar (Matthew Finlan).
Despite the early joy from Esther’s return, it was not too soon when things started to go wrong.
This started off reminding me of a documentary from a few years ago called The Imposter, which told the story of a con man who stepped into a role of a missing child. Then, Orphan: First Kill went completely bonkers and the whole tone and idea of the film changed. It is a creative move and rolled the dice on the film.
Orphan: First Kill is not a film that you should sit down and pick through because there are a ton of details that could spoil the fun. If you are too picky on specific details, this film will not hold up. However, the movie is a fun and bizarre trip and, if you let yourself get swept up in the fantasy of the situation, you could enjoy the movie.
Isabelle Fuhrman was very creepy and presented a definitely sinister aura. She was the standout part of the film. Julia Stiles played opposite Fuhrman well and she took that character in so many unexpectedly different ways.
It was not much of a horror film, leaning more on the thriller aspect.
Orphan: First Kill was a preposterous movie with multiple crazy twists and plot devices. Yet, it brought an air of campy fun that raised the movie above what was in the script. Fuhrman and Stiles are wonderfully unhinged in their performances and they embrace the switch in the film with a robust insanity.