Orphan First Kill (2022) Movie Review with Ending Explained


The Review

“Orphan: First Kill” delves back into the chilling saga of Esther, the enigmatic character who captivated audiences in the 2009 thriller “Orphan.” Directed by William Brent Bell, this prequel attempts to unravel the mysteries of Esther’s past and sets the stage for the horrors that the original film so effectively delivered.

The movie opens with Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) orchestrating a brilliant escape from an Estonian psychiatric facility, showcasing her cunning and dangerous nature. She finds her way to America by impersonating the missing daughter of a wealthy family, the Albrights. Julia Stiles delivers a strong performance as Tricia Albright, the mother determined to uncover the truth and protect her family at any cost.

“Orphan: First Kill” leans into its ludicrous premise with a sense of self-awareness that fans of campy horror will appreciate. It holds its own as a sequel and, for some, may even surpass the original in terms of sheer entertainment value. The film presents a twisty thriller with plenty of replay value, as long as one doesn’t overthink the sometimes convoluted plot.

One of the film’s strengths is its commitment to the character of Esther. Fuhrman reprises her role with the same eerie charm and malice that she brought to the original, proving that her portrayal of Esther deserves a place among the memorable horror icons. The film also benefits from the addition of Julia Stiles, whose character adds a new dynamic to the unfolding drama.

However, the film is not without its flaws. Critics have pointed out the lack of visual flair and the flat direction that fails to elevate the material to its full potential. Despite this, the narrative takes bold turns, and the screenplay by David Coggeshall introduces a mid-film twist that is audacious enough to keep viewers engaged.

Ending Explained (Spoiler Alert!)

The first Orphan movie was a setup for big surprises at the end, revealing that Esther was not a child but an older woman with a mental disorder. I was pleased to see that Orphan: First Kill also had a significant surprise revealed towards the end.

In Orphan: First Kill, Esther pretends to be a missing child and is reunited with a wealthy American family. The twist is that the family’s son accidentally killed his sister, and the mother covered it up, while the father remained unaware of the situation. With Esther’s arrival, the mother immediately recognized her as an imposter and attempted to kill her, turning Esther from a villain into a victim.

Esther appears much older than in the first movie, which is inconsistent as she is supposed to be a younger version of the character from the first film.

The plot of an older child pretending to be a missing child and being reunited with a family is not new. A documentary titled “The Imposter” presents a very similar story that occurred in real life.

We know the movie’s outcome: Esther cannot be killed because her story continues in the first film. In the end, Esther manages to escape by killing the entire family.

In the Nutshell

“Orphan: First Kill” is a prequel that manages to stand on its own while expanding the lore of its predecessor. It offers a fun, if not always coherent, ride for those willing to embrace its over-the-top nature. With committed performances and a willingness to embrace its campiness, the film is a welcome addition to the horror genre for those looking for a thrilling, if not entirely polished, cinematic experience. For a more detailed review, you can refer to the analysis by Brian Tallerico on Roger Ebert’s website or check out the audience and critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. [4 out of 5 stars]

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Genre: Serial Killer

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