El Orfanato (The Orphanage)
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Laura purchases her beloved childhood orphanage with dreams of restoring and reopening the long abandoned facility as a place for disabled children. Once there, Laura discovers that the new environment awakens her son's imagination, but the ongoing fantasy games he plays with an invisible friend quickly turn into something more disturbing. Upon seeing her family increasingly threatened by the strange occurrences in the house, Laura looks to a group of parapsychologists for help in unraveling the mystery that has taken over the place.

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A frightening movie that earns its scares the hard way, generating unbearable tension through artful technique instead of computer."
‑ Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"[Director Bayona] has a fine career ahead of him."
‑ Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
"Spanish director JA Bayona's debut feature is an exceptionally effective and surprisingly moving ghost story that seasons its horror with a pervasive sense of grief."
‑ Adam Smith, Radio Times
"As director Juan Antonio Bayona proves with his astonishing feature debut, you don't need a rusty scalpel to reveal the inner workings of the human heart."
‑ Steve Newton, Georgia Straight
"Spanish horror films have a rich, still underappreciated tradition, but The Orphanage could have been made by any anonymous Hollywood hack"
‑ Fernando F. Croce, CinePassion
"At a time when American horror seems transfixed by graphic sadism, the acclaimed Spanish chiller El Orfanato harks back to an older tradition of psychological scares and things that go bump in the night."
‑ Tom Charity, CNN.com
"The year's best horror picture is also one of the simplest."
‑ Peter Howell, Toronto Star
"The horror genre is not often known for its subtlety, but The Orphanage proves that sometimes it's more satisfying to squirm in your seat than it is to jump out of it."
‑ Ali Gray, TheShiznit.co.uk
"This is a movie whose power and emotional pitch lie in the understated: the discreet performances, the lack of special effects, the laconic script."
‑ Maria M. Delgado, Sight and Sound
"However, the creative trust hasn’t forgotten those who love their art served up rich in metaphor and message."
‑ S. James Wegg, JWR
"The picture is a creepily effective exercise in gothic technique."
‑ Bob Mondello, NPR.org
"Alas, there's no Ahhhh! moment at the end to justify the mounting tension."
‑ Sara Cardace, New York Magazine/Vulture
"This Guillermo del Toro-produced Spanish spook-'em-up re-opens the door to the chilly, bracing air of the old-school ghost story."
‑ , Total Film
"Bayona is a skilled technician, but seek elsewhere if you're hoping for the transporting originality of last year's Pan's Labyrinth."
‑ Brett Michel, Boston Phoenix
"[A] pungent and scary film."
‑ Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
More reviews for El Orfanato (The Orphanage) on Rotten Tomatoes

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