Orphan: First Kill may be the prettiest horror sequel since Jason Voorhees went to outer space in 2009. It is a prequel to 2009's goofy-ass slasher Orphan, which starred Isabelle Fuhrman as a murderous little girl who passed as a child due to a rare medical condition that stunted her development. Apparently, no CGI and a healthy dose of camp help grease the suspension-of-disbelief machine.
ORPHAN: FIRST KILL: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
The Gist: ESTONIA, 2007. A kind and helpful lady (Gwendolyn Collins) visits a mental hospital, and she is clearly doomed. She is there to see the facility's most dangerous patient, Leena Klammer (Fuhrman), who, as the script reminds us, may look like a child, but she is a grown woman. She seems to enjoy it, which is simply not nice.
Leena R-U-N-O-F-Ts and concocts a plan to leave the country, probably not happily ever after, and live with the girls' family, right? he asserts; one tends to get distracted by all the body doubles and forced perspective; some of the details slip by you, but not the rich-people sport of polo, since it would strain the budget.
Leena's ruse isn't that powerful, but when you've been in the midst of grief for four years like Allen's, I understand why you want to believe this weird-looking person, with creepy schoolmarm dresses and creepy giant black empty pupils, to be your child. He must know something, therefore he must die. But why is she not attempting to murder the Albrights first, for no reason but to satiate whatever bloodthirsty monster lurks inside
What Movies Will It Remind You Of? The Bugs Bunny short with Babyface Finster in it
Stiles manages to keep his distance from this dreck with a straight face like a true pro.
A couple of choices decontextualized one line in Memorable Dialogue:
Even for us, this is a sane undertaking! Gunnar
Tous macaws are parrots, but not all fing parrots are macaws! Tricia
Nothing noteworthy about sex and skin.
Our Take: First Kill takes 30 minutes to get going, half the movie before it really starts toying with us, and I didnt laugh until the final act. The whole film, from the old-mind/young-body premise to its subdued execution through practical effects, will put you to the test for patent ridiculousness. Esther is a film character that has little charisma.
If you can admire the film for its audacity, it would be easy to get caught up in its histrionic crappiness down the stretch; ding the director (William Brent Bell, The Boy) for failing to deliver a single memorable kill. James Wans Malignant is proud to be several bananas shy of a bunch of film, but it doesn't differ because it sticks with you like Bubble Yum in your stomach.
Our Call: Unless you're one of those maniacs who has to see every horror movie no matter how terrible it is, and you know who you are Orphan, First Kill just doesnt deliver the goods often enough to warrant your time. SKIP IT.
John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Visit his website at johnserbaatlarge.com to see more of his work.
StreamOrphan: The First Kill on Paramount+