Critic’s Rating : / 5
Orphan: First Kill Movie Review : A satisfying tale of twisted deception
Review: The window to return for Esther– the psycho killer with an ageing disorder was left wide open in the 2009 original itself. The only question was whether she will come back in a sequel or a prequel? William Brent Bell and his team of writers choose the latter to bring Esther back into the lives of an affluent American family looking for their missing daughter for four years. Actress Isabelle Fuhrman, who brilliantly essayed Esther’s diabolical energies in the original, once again gives in her best, but it’s a constant challenge to believe her as a 10-year-old. The actress has aged since her last portrayal of Esther, which was pitch perfect back then. Her real age matched her screen age but now at 25, she doesn’t quite look the part. It’s because of her exceptional acting skills that make us get past that and an unpredictable twist in the tale that lends a terrific conflict to the narrative. This despite the fact that the premise is pretty similar to the original and Esther’s escape and impersonation exploits look far too easy and preposterous this time around. Yet the makers ensure that this one remains a stand-alone film with a well-rounded screenplay that does well on explaining the premise to its audience without alienating those who may not have seen the original.
Julia Stiles puts up a spirited performance as the firebrand Tricia Albright – a woman who will do whatever it takes to keep her family safe and functional. Her terrific screen presence and impeccable timing uplifts the power of Bell’s storytelling. Her husband Allen’s (Rossif Sutherland) character pales in comparison with her while her son Gunnar (Matthew Finlan) could also have done with a more detailed characterisation than making him a typical insensitive American youngster.
The film’s screenplay is the strongest when two of its most powerful women, Esther and Tricia are pitted against each other. We wish there was more of that but the film’s length and pace are just perfect and the bloody action is peppered evenly throughout the runtime. There is no doubt that this prequel needed to come in a lot earlier in order to compete with its original. Sure enough, fans of the ‘Orphan’ franchise deserve more, the trick to enjoy this one is to not constantly think about the original and revel in Esther’s twisted deception.