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Orphan: First Kill- Movie Review
August 19, 2022
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.  It was a box office success, and we are now getting a prequel. Prequels can be tricky. Tricky in that 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 into see this film but 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) who are a wealthy couple who have been missing their young daughter. Then a ‘miracle’ happens as 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 the, 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 can feel predictable, being a prequel doesn’t help, 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 wont 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 film 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 big role in that film. This project gave her some more content to work with and she was very entertaining in the film.

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 this. The pacing was good, the story develops well. There are some parts where I feel the acting was a bit much. One character is a little over the top but that’s a small gripe.

Orphan: First Kill is an entertaining film that stands out in this genre due to the performance of Fuhrman.

Grade: B-

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