Title – Orphan: First Kill (2022)
Director – William Brent Bell (The Boy)
Cast – Isabelle Fuhrman, Julia Stiles, Rossif Sutherland, Matthew Finlan
Plot – A prequel exploring the early years of diminutive killer Esther (Fuhrman) as she takes up residence in the Albright family disguised as their long missing daughter.
“There’s always been something wrong with Esther”
Review by Eddie on 19/09/2022
Released in 2009 to surprisingly decent reviews and a nice profit making box office return, the Leonardo DiCaprio produced and Jaume Collet-Serra directed Orphan was an against the odds success, with it coming somewhat as a shock that it has taken 13 years to return to the murderous world of Isabelle Fuhrman’s Esther.
Trying not to dabble too much in spoiler territory for anyone that has yet to see the well-liked original that also starred a pre-Conjuring Vera Farmiga and the ever reliable Peter Sarsgaard as Esther’s unfortunate adoptive parents, this long time coming prequel that explores the earlier years of Esther and her journey to the United States isn’t at all on par with its original offering even if there are a few cheap thrills and spills to be had from a story that should never be taken at all seriously.
This time directed by the man responsible for cinematic crimes such as The Boy and The Devil Inside, First Kill see’s director William Brent Bell and his leading ladies Fuhrman and Julia Stiles steer clear of scares or mood to instead go right into shock territory as the blood flows freely and the twists come in big shock moments all the while transpiring around a story that never really feels at home within itself, an instance of a narrative unable to find a grip on how to make its audience care for the comings and goings of its various plot developments.
As was the case with the first film, Fuhrman is impressive as Esther, the actress able to convince us she is childlike in mannerisms and appearance but far from childlike in deeds and actions while its nice to see Stiles on the big screen once more even if her role as the tormented Tricia Albright isn’t the most well-written or developed.
Where the film struggles to match the first offering in a significant way is the ominous sense of dread and unease that was created in the 2009 film and while there’s some grisly fun to be had here when it comes to Esther’s murderous activities, despite an attempt to shock with a mid-film twist, First Kill never comes off as a true horror entry and while some may enjoy its cheap thrills there feels as though there was much more to give than what we get here, a barely passable film that adds little to what came before it.
Final Say –
It’s been a long wait for fans of the original but despite another impressive performance from Isabelle Fuhrman and an attempt by the film to match the twist of its predecessor, Orphan: First Kill is a mostly flat affair that steers too far from its horror roots.
2 pieces of candy out of 5
I’ve read some good things about this one and decided to watch it when time permits, but in your review you bring up every worry I have about it. The first was ominous, a sense of dread, and of course the big reveal, and I’ve wondered how they might get that across in a prequel since we know the outcome beforehand. Now I’m torn. I guess I’ll watch it so I can see if my reservations were valid.
Interested to hear what you think mate. I really enjoyed the first one but this felt like a step that didn’t need to be taken.