People regularly rave on and on about how good Pan’s Labyrinth was. Now, I don’t think that it was a bad movie at all, but I also don’t think it was anything that special. El Orfanato (The Orphanage) on the other hand, is most excellent.
It doesn’t have all the fantasy monsters and creatures that Pan’s Labyrinth has, but it does have some similarities. First off, it’s got a really beautiful setting. The cinematography and everything is fantastic, just like Pan’s Labyrinth. And while it doesn’t have all the creatures and stuff that Pan’s Labyrinth has, it definitely does have a sense of fantasy to it. It’s kind of hard to explain, but it almost feels like a kid wrote part of the story. I definitely don’t mean this in a bad way, but it just feels too fantastic and unreal to come from the mind of an adult.
But at the same time, it’s really freaking creepy. This isn’t “bump in the night” creepy like most horror movies are, it’s more psychologically creepy, like The Ring. There are very few movies that have creeped me out: The Ring, Monkey Shines (seriously), and the Descent (terrifying cave sequences) are the only ones that come to mind. Now El Orfanato joins that group. I can’t really go into why it’s unsettling (unsettling, not scary) without spoiling parts of the movie, so I won’t. I’ll just recommend it to anyone who liked Pan’s Labyrinth or The Ring.