theorphanbluStudio: Warner Brothers
Year: 2009
Release Date: October 27, 2009
Run time: 123 minutes
Rating: NR

Audio: DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Disc Spec: 1 BD25
Region: A

A bad seed with a Russian accent, 9-year-old Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) is a nasty little girl with a nasty little plan. Unfortunately, this malevolent tyke has landed in the home of adoptive parents Kate and John (Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard), an unsuspecting couple with two kids of their own and considerable grief over recent family tragedies. It doesn’t take long for Esther to make her creepy presence known, as broken limbs on the playground and torched tree houses can attest. Give this movie some credit–the psychological underpinnings are all set carefully in place: Maternal trauma? Check. Backyard pond as emotionally charged danger zone? Check. Feminist parable about husbands not listening to troubled wives?

Mixed reviews from fans and critics were the usual flair upon its release, but something struck me about this movie. The film went on to gross $37 million at the box-office despite the thrashing it took from critics, but everyone couldn’t help but notice the Oscar-nomination worthy performance of it’s 12-year-old star Isabelle Fuhrman. I just viewed the film on DVD for the first time since its theaterical run and I’m still seeing just how riveting and engaging this movie really is.

‘Orphan’ is not a horror film. It’s more along the lines of a suspense thriller. When I think of horror films, I think of sex-crazed teenagers being sliced up one-by-one by a machete-wielding maniac (Jason Voorhies, Freddy Krueger, Micheal Myers, etc.). The only real weapons wielded here is just a hammer, a knife, and a .38-caliber pistol. You think scary when it comes to horror films and “Orphan” isn’t scary. Has some frightful moments, but scary?

In retrospect, I wouldn’t say this movie is really that “bad,” I would just say that it is so discomfiting for so long that it makes you feel a little funny. Then something happens in the films story that is a fairly ingenious one, I think–that it maybe jars the audience a little too much. And it comes a little late in the movie, too, for such a big re-arrangement of everything you thought you understood. And as you know, when people are uncomfortable and don’t understand a movie, they usually decide that it’s bad. There is something different here with ‘Orphan’ that is worth a viewing.
Movie Quality: 9/10

Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080p/VC-1 with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. ‘Orphan’ is a beautiful looking film that brings its unique style to high definition. There were many times throughout the film where my jaw dropped to the floor due to the beautiful visual effects. Black levels are deep and inky. Flesh tones were accurate. Details are some of the best that you will see in high definition. .
Video Quality: 9.5/10

The audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix. This film is dialogue driven with the score peering into the soundfield. Dialogue was clean through the center channel with a nice degree of depth. I never had to raise or lower the volume to make out what was being said. The soundfield does get a few effects into play, but nothing major. The soundtrack takes advantage of the soundfield with audio also lightly pouring through the rears.
Audio Quality: 9/10

Special Features

  • Behind the Scenes [HD]
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Alternate Ending
  • BD-Live
  • Digital Copy

Special Features: 5/10

Final Thoughts

I found ‘Orphan’ to be a rather interesting suspenseful thriller that might be mistaken for a horror film. On Blu-ray the film has excellent video and audio presentation providing near demo worthy experience. ‘Orphan’ has limited replay value due to the nature of the film, but it was rather enjoyable from start to finish keeping me on the edge of my seat the entire time.
Overall Rating: 9/10