An escaped mental patient cons her way into impersonating a wealthy American family's missing child, but things take an unexpected turn.
Orphan: First Kill (2022)
Directed by William Brent Bell
Written by David Coggeshall
Starring Isabelle Fuhrman, Julia Stiles, Rossif Sutherland,
Matthew Finlan, Hiro Kanagawa, Samantha Walkes
Prequel to 2009's Orphan
I don't think anybody was expecting another Orphan. I mean, for obvious reasons. Esther winds up at the bottom of a lake with her neck snapped at the end of the first movie. Plus, Isabelle Furhman does not actually have proportional dwarfism. She aged, so a prequel was out of the question. Lo and behold, the writer of The Haunting in Connecticut 2 and that godawful Scream TV show and the director of some of the worst movies in history (The Devil Inside, Separation, The Boy, etc.) came together and made what is easily the best movie that either of those hacks has ever been a part of. Somehow, this not only works, it outshines the original in many ways and provides an original, exciting take in place of an expected rehash.
Two years before the events of the first film, the woman who would be Esther, Leena Klammer (Furhman, who once again steals the show thanks to her committed performance and some impressive de-aging makeup) escapes the Saarne Institute. She then decides to con a wealthy American family into thinking she's their long lost daughter Esther. So, Tricia Albright (Stiles) goes to Moscow to collect her "daughter," and that's when audiences expect basically the same thing we got the first time. Nope. William Brent Bell and David Coggeshall gathered the single speck of creativity they had between them and poured it into the second half of this movie, which shakes things up with a genuinely surprising and engaging twist that turns Esther into our unlikely new protagonist. Absolute stunner.
Orphan: First Kill is one of the smartest horror prequels I've ever seen. It had no business even existing, but it will go down as a modern horror classic. It definitely leans way more into the psychological side than the first one, which is fine. But it closes some plot holes from the first film, and connects to it neatly, as well as opens possibilities for a third film. I'd be down.