Movie review (horror): The Orphan Killer (2011)

August 5, 2011 at 11:26 pm (horror, movies)

YES MA”AM! Now this is what I’m talkin’ about! This is a low-budget, totally independent horror film that rocks harder than its kickass mostly-metal soundtrack.

The movie starts out as a straight-up homage to 80’s slashers. The plot is classic: the parents of two small children are killed in a senseless, brutal robbery. The kids, a little girl and a little boy, are sent to a Catholic orphanage. There’s something wrong with the little boy from the get-go–he’s violent and unpredictable. When he beats another kid nearly to death, the nuns separate him from his sister, torture him for the sake of his soul, and make him wear a monster mask all the time to keep the other kids away from him.

(Well sure, that’s over the top. But that’s what 80’s style horror is all about.) Years later, the sister is a teacher at the same Catholic school, which is no longer an orphanage. Everybody seems to have forgotten about the psycho brother, who’s still lurking around. Well, over the years, he’s come to blame his sister for his awful treatment at the hands of the nuns. He starts hacking his way through the school staff, working his way to his sister.

I should point out that the acting and direction in this movie are quite good, and the gore is delightful. The blood is a particularly spectacular color of red, and there’s plenty of it. All practical effects, and all very good. Okay, the occasional severed head is clearly a model, but they’re GOOD models. The level of gore is up there with some of my favorite French extreme movies. For some reason, the direction of the murder scenes made me think of “Frontiers.”

The movie takes an odd turn when the brother finally captures the sister. It gets a little torture porny, with the sister suspended by barbed wire around her wrists while being creatively carved by her brother. Surprisingly, the brother talks to her–he’d spent most of the movie grunting, but he waxes eloquent when he has his sister in his grasp.

She however,  turns out to be a seriously tough cookie. The fun really rolls when she starts kicking butt.

This movie is tense, well-paced, and relentless. I want to see more from writer/director Matt Farnsworth, who also plays a role in the movie. I wish more filmmakers, independent and otherwise, would put as much passion and energy into their movies.

Four stars!

Although unrated, this is definitely not for kids. May be OK for older teen horror enthusiasts, but keep it away from the younger set.

“The Orphan Killer” is a fine example of what talented people can do with a little money and inspiration.

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