the following is a movie review for the orphanage, by lindy west of the stranger, a seattle-based weekly reader:
I really don't get the whole concept of ghosts. I mean, why are ghosts supposedly so mad all the time? Isn't a ghost just somebody's grandpa? My grandpa was a Norwegian carpenter named Ole who smoked a pipe and ate licorice all day. Why would he go haunt somebody? Isn't there enough licorice in heaven? I don't know a single person who's been killed—or even inconvenienced—by a ghost, and that's why being afraid of a ghost is a waste of time. You know what I'm afraid of? A HUNGRY LION! A guy with a knife! A see-through grandpa who just hangs around your house all day and rearranges the furniture (and sometimes makes a noise!) is NOT SCARY.
Anyway. The Orphanage is a movie about Spanish ghosts—specifically baby ghosts, which are even less scary than grown-up ghosts (if that's possible). A woman named Laura (Belen Rueda) moves back to the orphanage where she spent her childhood. She has a handsome-ish husband (Fernando Cayo) and the world's cutest baby son (with AIDS!) and her orphanage is a magic Spanish castle by the sea. Unfortunately for Laura, she also has... ghooooooosts!!!
The ghosts are lonely and bored, so they start kickin' it with Laura's baby son, and that's when the problems arise. The head ghost, Tomás, wears a dirty sack mask with rotten eyeholes and a janky face painted on it—a horror-movie cheap shot if I've ever seen one. Granted, it's fucking creepy looking, but again: What exactly is a baby ghost going to DO to me after it crawls into my bed at night and I think it's my handsome-ish husband? Cuddle me TO DEATH?
The Orphanage is medium-scary, as long as you don't think about how dumb ghosts are. In fact, the worst shit in the movie is done to humans by humans—not ghosts. Because ghosts just want to be pals, you know?