The Animatress Pipeline

Filmmaking Adventures

Good Story Telling in Horror Films: The Orphanage

Mexico in collaboration with Spain is making some awesome films. I hope they keep it up, they have some fantastic stories to tell!

El Orfanato

Presented by Guillermo Del Toro
Director: Juan Antonio Bayona
Writer:Sergio G. Sánchez (screenplay)

I’ll have to verify whether the Orphanage is in the horror or thriller genre. Either way, it’s a great story. El Orfanato is about a 37 year woman named Laura who moves back into the manor that was her orphanage where she spent part of her childhood. She has one adopted son, Simon, and with her husband, she plans to adopt 5-6 more children with special needs and dedicate the home to them. Laura is very altruistic woman who will do anything for a child. Therefore when her lonely little boy with imaginary friends goes missing she is determined to solve the mystery at all costs.

Six months pass after what Laura is convinced in a kidnapping and continues the search for her son. Three more months pass and despite her husband’s discouragement after they make a horrible discovery of the house’s grisly past, Laura continues the search for her son–this time alone.
She plays a game that her son started with his imaginary friends, who turn out to be the ghosts of her friends from the Orphanage! Through the game they lead her to her son who at first appears to be alive, but the fantasy discovery dissolves into reality: the ghost of her son and the last clue of the game. The the mask of the ill fated Thomas who befriended he son on the day of the disappearance, leads Laura the long decayed body of her son who fell in an accident when he tried to emerge from his hiding place which was his refuge after a fight Laura had with him that day he disappeared.
Fraught with grief, Laura over doses on barbiturates and joins her son and all of his ghostly friends in the after life where they call all enjoy the which has been converted into a museum post-humously and live happily ever after in a Peter Pan existence.
A Bittersweet end.

As a filmmaker, I prefer to know the ending of the main plot and then sit and watch the movie for the subplot(s) which enriches the main. I didn’t give away the villain of the story who is crucial to the subplot. So, despite my giving away the ending, there is a lot more to this film to be enjoyed over a heaping bowl of popcorn on a Saturday night in.
Enjoy the pics.


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