Friday, June 20, 2008

The Orphanage

Hey there. What a gerat movie. I caught this flick last night. My Netflix queue is pretty low and my wife was asking our coworkers to recommend some good flicks to check out and this was praised very highly. Needing fill our queue, I see that the movie is available on what I like to call "insta-watch". I love this feature by the way, no waiting, just hit play and BAM! Movie starts. lol So last night, I hooked up the laptop to the TV, logged on the Netflix, and started to play the movie. After some techincal difficulties (had to call Netflix to fix) we finally got to the movie to work. WARNING! This will be a long post.

First impression: The movie is in Spanish... Ugh... But it's subtitled in English so if the movie is as good as they say, I can live through it.

Movie starts with a family moving into a very large house. Turns out the woman, Laura, used to live there when the place was an orphange. She bought the place and intended to turn into an orphange for special needs kids while her son, Simon, and her hubby, Carlos, lived with them.

After a few days there, Simon starts to show that he has an active imagination. He claims to have made 5 friends and they all play together. Seeing that there are no other children around, his parents play along and figure he's keeping himself entertained since no kids are around to play with him. His mom, soon after, decides that a trip to the beach is what he needs and off they go. While there, they come across a cave. Simon runs inside with a flash light to explore while Laura stays behind.

Now, maybe I missed something but... who would let a child wander into a cave on their own? I made this comment outloud, my wife just looked at Laura and said, "Her." lol

Anyways, after awhile Laura goes into the cave looking for Simon. He finds him standing and talking to a "friend". The shot of this was great. Off in the distance you see Simon but you can't see his front side of the body because the rock wall is in the way. It leaves you to think if he really was speaking to someone of it's one of imaginary friends. Simon then turns to Laura and asks if Thomas, his new friend, can go to the house. She whisks him away, but before they go, she shines her light on the floor to reveal footprints going deeper in the cave. On the way back home, Simon drops shells so that Thomas can find his home.

A social worker than stops by the house to offer any services to Laura. Laura doesn't need services and tries to make her leave but the social worker than says that she's really not here for her but for Simon. Laura lets her in and it is revealed that Laura and Carlos are not the biological parents of Simon and Simon is ill with the HIV virus. The social worker leaves Simon's file and leaves.

Weird noises begin to haunt the house. Especially in Simon's room. Simon has trouble sleeping because he is either playing or can't sleep because his friends are playing. Laura and Carlos take turns in getting him to go to sleep. On this particular night, Laura hears noises outside and goes out to investigate. She finds a woman snooping in her shed and scares her off. The next day, she encouters Simon playing with his friends and Laura chats with him. Simon tells her that he has special coins that he wants to show her. When he pulls out his coins from his treasure chest, they are missing. He then tells her how his friends will take something that is dear to him, hide it, and leave behind clues for him to decipher. Kind of like a scavenger hunt where a clue that is left behind should be returned to it's rightful place and another clue will be discovered there. He also tells her that once he finds what is missing, he can make a wish and it will come true. So as they run around the house finding clues and returning them, the last clue leads them to the kitchen drawer, where Laura hid Simon's file. Laura didn't want the file open and Simon goes into a rant how she is a liar and that he doesn't have parents. That he is just like his friends and that he's going to die. Laura stands speechless.

Carlos and Laura speak with Simon and discuss the situation with him. They assure him that he is not going to die and that they will always love him and care for him as their own. The next day, the special needs children arrive along with friends and family. Carlos brought down a box from the attic so that the kids can wear masks, which are pretty freaky by the way. lol Laura tries to convince Simon to go outside and play but Simon isn't having it. He wants to show her Thomas' "little house". Laura, reaching her boiling point argues with Simon and after an intense argument, she slaps him across the face. She then tells him that if he doesn't want to go outside, fine, stay here. While outside, all the kids are playing with masks and we're introduced to Thomas, you just don't know it's him yet. lol You'll spot him cause he's the kid with a birlap sac over his head... If you paid attention to the film, you'll notice that he's the exact image of one of his imaginary friends that he drew for him mom.

Laura goes upstairs looking for Simon. He's nowhere to be found. She searches every room and closet but nothing. She ends up in the upstairs bathroom since she heard a noise and off in the hallway, you hear a high pitch whistle and when she turns, she sees Thomas, staring at her. He slowly comes towards her. Laura, believing it to be Simon talks to him and when Thomas is close enough to be touched, Laura attempts to take off his mask. Thomas freaks and pushes Laura in the bathroom and slams the door on her fingers. I thought this shot was pretty damn freaky. It's Thomas looking into the bathroom.

After some yelling, Carlos goes up there and smashes the door so that Laura can get out. She rushes outside and heads towards the beach, realizing that who she just saw was Thomas and the friend that Simon made in the cave was named Thomas. As she's fighting through the tide to get to the beach, she sees a small person at the entrance of the cave but she slips and breaks her leg and can't continue her pursuit. Carlos was chasing Laura and when he caught up with her, he carried her back, since Carlos did not see anyone at the entrance of the cave.

Police frantically search the house and the cave for Simon but he is not found. Police inform her of this while she's in recovery at the hospital. A police psychologist comes in to ask a few questions...

Several months go by and Laura and Carlos have not given up on Simon's rescue and they have many, many posters of Simon all over the place. They have attended meetings of other parents who have lost their children and in one instance, Laura snaps because she knows her child is still alive.

A few more months pass and while Carlos and Laura are on their way to another meeting, Laura spots the social worker that came into her house with the file while at a red light. She is walking across the street pushing a stroller and Laura jumps out of the car and calls her name. The woman turns to look but before you know it, BAM! A truck runs her and the stroller over. Laura, in a panic thinking that she may have been pushing Simon, runs to check the stroller, finding a doll. She rushes over the social worker and find that she has the same whistle that Thomas was wearing. Upon reaching for it, the social worker grabs her hand and pushes it away from the window. Pretty grotesque shot of the woman's face but I couldn't find one to post. lol

Now that the police have identified the social worker, they check her house for clues. They find many old pictures and videos of the orphanage, the house that Laura bought. The police psychologist shows a picture of the orphanage group to Laura and asks her if she knows anyone in the picture. She can immediately identify her friends and herself and upon closer inspection, notices that the social worker was also there. Laura can't believe this since she considers those her most happy times that she would surely remember seeing her there. The police then tell her how she took care of a boy, by the name of Thomas, and she kept him away from all the other orphans. She placed a bag over his head so that no one would see the deformities that he had. Shortly after Laura was adopted, the other kids discovered Thomas and they led him to the cave at the beach. They took his mask and ran outside hoping that Thomas would come outside without his mask for all to see. Since Thomas did not come out, the tide rose, filling the cave, causing Thomas' death. Laura is not having it, she cannot believe that Thomas is dead since she clearly saw him and he definitely pushed her in the bathroom.

Throughout all this, you see that Carlos is losing his patience, and hope, in finding his son. He asks Laura that maybe they should leave the house and not come back. Laura, of course, is not having it and they continue their search. They then encounter a professor who knows of a medium whom he greatly confides in and tells her that if she's open, he can recommend her to stop by Laura's house to check things out. After many tense moments, the medium gets herself in a trance and notices noises. In a locked room, she hears children crying. After convincing the kids to open the door, the screams are more intense and the medium shouts out, "How can they do this to you?". Because these are in the medium's perception, we can't see the kids, but since they medium and her crew have sensitive hearing equipment, everyone can hear the children crying and talking. Carlos, believe this is all bullshit is not convinced of anything since not once did they mention Simon. He contests that they were merely looking for ghosts, not Simon. Laura, on the other hand, feels that she's learned a great deal of the house and is one step closer to finding Simon.

Many strange occurance continue in the house and during a fit of frustration, she yells out something along the lines of "give me a clue of where he is". At that instant, a window closes, smashing the glass landing on the bench. She clears the bench and realizes that you can lift the bench seat. She unveils small wooden boards with her friend's name on each one, underneath each board is a small doll representing themselves. She notices that one is missing. She realizes that the doll that she found the social worker pushing matches this style and she runs to get it and places it back with the rest of them. Upon doing this, she notices a picture under one of the dolls. She looks at it and she realizes that the hunt has begun. She is playing the treasure hunt game that she earlier played with Simon. She follows her clues and she becomes stumped when she encounters a doorknob as a clue. She runs around the house looking for a matching knob but finds none. She searches the shed, where she uncovers the remains of all her friends from the orphanage.

Police check it out and concluded that the social worker killed Laura's friends as retaliation for them playing a prank on Thomas, causing his death. She then realizes that the woman snooping in her shed the other night was the social worker. Police decide that since Laura bought the residence, she may have stumbled on the remains so the social worker was trying to remove the evidence.

Carlos packed up and is ready to go. She is not giving up on her son and asks Carlos for 2 more days, to say good bye to the house. But she wants them alone. Carlos drives off and immmediately thereafter, Laura builds her friend's beds, rearranges the furniture the way it was when she was a child and uses the dolls she found as her friends. She picks berries, serves several bowls, for herself and her friends. She then decides that she should play their favorite game as kids. She stood near a wall and knocked on it a few times and then turned around. The first couple of times, nothing. Then on the third or fouth attempt, the door opens revealing a kid standing still. She continues the knock and turn game and each time she turns, more children appear standing still. One of the kids eventually taps her on the shoulder and she goes off chasing them. One child leads Laura to a little closet. She opens the closet and snoops around trying to find a clue. While in there, a child slams the door shut. Locked in, she turn on the light and continues her search. She pounds on the wall and finds that one section of it is hollow. She then finds a hole in the wall. She pulls out her doorknob (the clue that she was stumped on) and finds that it fits perfectly into the hole. She turns it to unveil a secret basement. On the walls are pictures and drawings that Thomas made and there is a small desk with a lamp on it. She explores the basement and finds Simon, covered, and sleeping on a small bed. Estatic, she grabs Simon and covers him. Simon asks why she doesn't want to stay and play with them. She tells him that he needs to close his eyes and pretend that his friends to do not exist. She does the same, hoping that this will reverse the paranormal effects. The room gets darker and it is no longer lit, the way she found the room. The nightmare is over, there she is, standing the basement with her son in her arms, alive. Happy ending, right?

This is the "What the fuck?!?!!?" moment of the movie. She is holding her son and as she lowers him so that he can stand, he disappears. The film shot is very convincing. She is clearing holding a body but as she lowers her arm, it seems to dissolve leaving her standing there with just a blanket. I woke up my wife (she fell alseeo during the first half hour of the film she was so tired) when I said, "Oh, what the fuck..." lol

She looks around at her surroundings and notices that the rail of the stairs is broken and there's a small body on the floor. She slowly approaces it, thinking back. Flash backs come by reminding the viewer of the events. Simon telling Laura he wants to show her Thomas' "little house". The basement looks to be his little house. She remembers during her frantic search for Simon that when she opened the closet door, bars and posts crashed out of the door. She threw them back in the closet, consequently jamming the secret door so that it cannot be opened. She then remembers the poundings that she would hear at night. And lastly, she remembers the very loud thud that made her jump. She reaches out to the body, the face covered with the sac, removes it to discover that the dead body is her son.

She carries him to the upstairs bathroom and weeps. She then remembers that if she finds her "treasure", she will be granted a wish. She wishes that Simon comes back to her. With this wish, she sees a little girl outside and her boy alive in her arms. The little boy looks at him mother and tells her that he found his treasure. He found his special coins and that his wish was for him mom to take care of him and his friends forever. Laura looks up and see that the beds have kids in them, all staring at her. A little girl, blind, walks over to Laura and touches her face. She then smiles and tells the other kids, "It's Laura. It's Laura." The kids are the friends that she had as a child and one of the kids remark that she is like Wendy, from Peter Pan, where they stayed as kids yet she got older. They all gather around Laura and she reads them all a story.

At the end of the film, a plaque is placed on the grounds of the orphanage in memory of Simon and Laura. I believe that Laura may have overdosed on her meds, since she is seen swallowing many of them when she is holding Simon's body. Carlos takes one last stroll of the house, and finds the necklace that he let Laura borrow, for good luck in searching for Simon. A noise is heard and door creaks open. The movie ends with Carlos looking in the direction of the door, tears building in his eyes, and smile emerging from his face.

The movie is great. As you can see from this post, it has many details and if you're not paying attention, you will not get it. This movie reminded me some of the Sixth Sense, another movie that I love. Mostly because of the ending where as Laura approaches her son, everything starts making sense and the flashbacks help in understanding what went on the way Bruce Willis had his flashbacks confirming that he was dead. Great film, friends. Check this one out. Later!

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