Friday 23 September 2022

REVIEW: Orphan: First Kill (2022) - Starring Isabelle Fuhrman and Julia Stiles

Review By Jon Donnis
Have you ever started watching a film and then instantly thought you had seen it before? Well, I felt that way about Orphan First Kill, so I quickly got on google and realised this is a prequel of a 2009 film, with the same actress in the lead role

If you have never seen Orphan (2009), it is basically a film about a 9-year-old girl adopted by a family, but the girl is really a 33-year-old psychopath who suffers with a disease which has stunted her growth and left her looking like a child.

Orphan: First Kill is a prequel which covers the years before the first film.

The film starts in Estonia in 2007, Leena Klammer (played by Isabelle Fuhrman) is a psychiatric patient at the Saarne Institute. Although she looks like a child, she is in fact a 31-year woman. One day she seduces a guard, steals his key and then kills him. She hides in the car of a therapist who was visiting the institute and escapes. She then breaks into the therapist's house and kills her. Leena discovers that she has a strong resemblance to a missing girl from the United States called Esther Albright.

Posing as the missing child, a police officer approaches her and she tells him that her parents are in America.

We switch to Connecticut and Esthers parents, Tricia Albright (Julia Stiles) and Allen Albright (Rossif Sutherland) are informed by Inspector Donnan ( Hiro Kanagawa) that Esther has been found. Tricia goes to the American Embassy in Moscow and is reunited with the supposed long-lost Esther.

Esther is brought to America and reunited with the whole family. And of course, this is where the fun starts.

I won't say any more as it would ruin the film, but it is worth noting that although so far, the film starts pretty similarly to the original, it does diverge, and there are twists and turns in there that you might not expect.

Since Isabelle Fuhrman is 1 meter 60 centimetres in real life, they do use a body double for certain scenes, for example shots taken from behind, from running and so on, and all the close-up shots are of Isabelle Fuhrman. This can look a bit silly at times, as it is really obvious that it is a different person, but I suppose it had to be done.

The film doesn't feel as warped as the original, and is a bit campier, although it remains serious throughout.

The one big difference between this film and the original is that you might find yourself cheering on the Leena/Esther character more than you did in the original, in which she was 100% the bad guy.

The Good
An interesting idea to make a prequel 13 years after the original and use the same actress to play an even younger version of herself, but it does work. More of a thriller than a horror, which helps it stand alone as a film.

The Bad
A bit too similar to the first film, and the shots of the body double are laughable at times.

Surprisingly good, I didn't think I would enjoy it after the first ten minutes, but I got into it, and the ending is also fun. The twist is unexpected and adds a whole new element to the film.

I score Orphan: First Kill a fair 7/10

In Cinemas, On Digital and Streaming on Paramount+ on August 19 -

Signature presents Orphan: First Kill on Digital 31st October. DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD alongside Orphan & Orphan: First Kill Blu-ray box-set 14th November - Pre-Order at