Film of the Year No. 5

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5. The Orphanage

Laura grew up in an orphanage, but was later adopted. Years later, she and her husband Carlos buy the orphanage – which has since fallen into disrepair – and move in with their own adopted son, Tomas, intending to reopen it as a home for handicapped children. Before long, Tomas starts to communicate with an invisible new friend, who may be just a product of his young imagination, but could be something altogether more sinister...

The Orphanage is everything a horror film should be. Unlike most recent examples of the genre – which tend to rely almost exclusively on gore and extreme violence to unsettle the viewer – The Orphanage puts story and atmosphere first, scaring us with the unknown and the unseen, and connecting with the audience on a deeper, more psychological level. Ultimately, that makes it all the more terrifying.

Too often, films like this fall at the final hurdle, failing to deliver on the suspense they have built-up. Not so here: what makes The Orphanage transcend it genre is the knock-out blow it delivers in its final act, a brutal and unexpected twist that lingers in the mind long after the credits have rolled. Highly recommended.

Watch the trailer here