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Scare Quotes

Scare Quotes

The organic foreboding conjured by an opening prelude torn from the past — depicting children at play outdoors on a beautiful summer day full of pollen and petals, their caretakers looking on from inside a looming manor — calls to mind elusive, unclassifiable films like Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s Innocence rather than genre movies of the horror variety to which The Orphanage belongs. Too bad, then, that this beguiling subtlety is quickly upended as the opening credits roll — kicking off with a big “Guillermo del Toro Presents” banner that signals the film’s bald bid to become this year’s Pan’s Labyrinth (a dubious prospect if you happened to find that Foreign Language Oscar nominee overhyped, as I did) — to the tune of a score distractingly reminiscent of Psycho and indicative of the more well-worn path Spanish filmmaker Juan Antonio Bayona’s feature debut will follow.

Click here to read Kristi Mitsuda’s review of The Orphanage.

And click here to read Emily Condon’s review from the NYFF.

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