Orphan: First Kill, Esther Returns and Delivers a Killer Time! Grade: B-
Orphan: First Kill tells a story about a family named Tricia (Julia Stiles), her husband Allen (Rossif Sutherland), and their son named Gunnar (Matthew Finlan) whom have a missing child that goes by the name of Esther. It’s been about four years since they last seen her, as eventually they’ve given up all hope that she’ll be found. One miraculous day: The Detective (Hiro Kanagawa) contacted the family, as apparently they found her in Russia! The family is once again all reunited with their wonderful little gal Esther (Isabella Fuhrman), as it’s all sunshines and rainbows… But is it really Esther?!
I’m a big fan of the 2009 horror film Orphan, it’s a great horror film with a superb twist that literally no one saw coming. Thirteen Years later we eventually gotten a prequel, as I was actually kind of curious what they can possibly come up with. Of course I felt this film will nowhere be near as good as the original, it’s hard to out top or match up with that twist. However: I did see potential of making an entertaining slasher kind of flick, that’ll satisfy the fan base of the first film to a certain degree.
I was bummed out this was a Paramount Plus release, as a fan of the first film I really did not want to sit at home and have an experience that doesn’t matchup with the theatrical experience. Fortunate enough: They gave this film a theatrical release, so I was pumped up! I felt Orphan: First Kill… Met my expectations exactly what I hoped it would be, as I had some fun with this film.
All I asked for was a fun little entertaining slasher like film, as this film did indeed was a fun little entertaining slasher like film. Esther goes around on a raging killer spree in the beginning at the ole psychiatric hospital facility, as I felt that whole beginning sequences was ton of fun. It really brought an energetic start, making the fans extremely excited to see their innocent looking child killer back on the big screen.
Though the death sequences does die down once Esther comes to America: It still manages to deliver some quality entertainment. Once Esther comes to America… It felt like Changeling meets Child's Play 2. Like Esther tricking this family, to believe they’ve found their missing daughter reminisces the likes of Changeling, however it doesn’t take itself seriously at all. Like the idea this family believes Esther is their daughter, knowing well enough she now has a Russian like accent and doesn’t have anything in common with their own daughter… It just felt ridiculous to experience how naive this family is.
But that’s the thing: This film embraces the idea to not take itself seriously at all, as it’s moral purpose is to make it entertaining as possible. When we’re delivered a shocking discovery, that there is in fact a plot twist involving the family… It is so bizarre, yet executes effectively in terms of the campiness of what this film is trying to be. Once that plot twist is revealed: The film suddenly goes into an entirely different direction, even our main characters go into an entirely different direction as it actually is so goofy but in a good way. I mean especially this one line of dialogue this character said about Esther… It’s so baffling to experience, especially when one of the main characters barely acknowledges it as problematic at all, it’s so goofy!
Sometimes the goofiness of the film can become over blown, especially the sudden shift of characters mental state, when it felt like everyone was in full agreement, but now becomes a ridiculous cat and mouse game that is so silly. The main flaw of this film is definitely the Cinematography… On a visual standpoint it looks terrible, as it’s extremely foggy. I can understand this choice of decision, however given the reveal… This choice of filmmaking doesn’t make any sense, so it comes off extremely distracting. Not to mention there was an obvious drone visual shot that looked amateurish, while also the camera work in the grand finale looked pretty bad as you can’t make out of anything you’re watching. There’s also familiar tropes from the first film that is repeated in this film, as sometimes you wish they didn’t recycle those ideas here. I do appreciate a couple recycled ideas in terms of receiving a back story, especially where exactly did Esther learned That’s the Story of Love song or the unique approach in painting.
You can say Isabella Fuhrman has the possibility of having her own horror franchise! I feel they can create one more film, they can open up the possibility of diving into the backstory of how she got herself into that psychiatric facility in the first place, given the critical success of the film I feel fans of the two films are looking forward for another entertaining slasher like flick. As long as Fuhrman looks young: It’s possible!
Overall, Orphan: First Kill was an effective goofy slasher film! I recommend checking this one out, see it with friends, go out on a date, or heck bring the family like our family experience the first film when me and my sister were teenagers! -Mitch Smietana