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While over a decade past any fathomable need for it, “Orphan: First Kill” does remind you why the original film was controversial and notable.
|Director(s)||William Brent Bell|
|Screenplay By||David Coggeshall|
|Date Released (In Theaters, Video On Demand)||8/19/2022|
|Genre(s)||Action, Crime, Drama, Horror, Thriller|
|Duration||1 Hour, 38 Minutes|
|Content Rating||Rated R|
|Leena/ Esther||Isabelle Fuhrman|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
Before making it to America, Leena, who we’ve known as Esther, was a known criminal in Eastern Europe and even imprisoned in Estonia. But, no prison can be secure if it hires idiots, and thanks to one idiot, Leena escapes and finds out about Esther. Thus leading her to think she will have it made since Esther, who has been missing for years, does sort of look like her, even if Esther is decades younger. But, that dwarfism does have its benefits.
At least Esther thought it did until she realized what the Albright family has been hiding.
Things To Note
- Reason(s) for Film Rating: Cursing (Throughout in multiple languages), Violence (Gun violence, stabbing, blood, all that is to be expected), Sexual Content (Nothing graphic), Miscellaneous (Drinking and smoking)
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- What was Esther’s life like when she was a teenager or before she started grifting as she does?
Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.
In 2007, Leena was a 31-year-old grifter and serial killer who was finally caught, and there was some hope she could be rehabilitated. Art seemed to calm her, but with what she did to the last art teacher, there were signs things weren’t getting better.
Which the people at the Saarne Institute guessed correctly, as Leena manipulated a security guard and made her grand escape. One that led her to her old ways that got her freedom.
Tricia is a professional philanthropist who will do anything for her family, which is something she makes clear to Esther.
Allen is a painter who has been greatly affected by Esther’s absence, but with Leena masquerading as her, he has found some renewed joy in his life.
A noted fencing champion, Gunnar seems like a good and normal kid. However, like his mom, looks are deceiving.
Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)
The Series of Reveals Midway Through The Movie
What you cannot deny about “Orphan: First Kill” is that it cares far more about character development than your average horror film. From a bit more of Leena’s backstory to all that is done with the Albright family, “Orphan: First Kill” makes it clear that it wants to be more than a film about a bunch of murders. It wants to make sure the people involved in the killings also leave their mark, and the actors earn their paycheck.
On The Fence
The Kills Weren’t Brutal Or Inventive
Nearly all of the deaths in “Orphan: First Kill” are tame once Leena leaves Estonia. It’s the usual gun violence, stabbing, and just a slew of moments that aren’t the most inventive. Now, this is coming from someone desensitized to the average murder scene. So it takes something notable, like the sound of bones breaking or someone’s insides spilling out, to be considered brutal.
But that’s not what “Orphan: First Kill” does. There is people being shot repeatedly, a crossbow incident, and a crowbar being used, but nothing you haven’t seen before.
It’s Hard To See Why This Movie Was Necessary
“Orphan: First Kill” doesn’t push you to think this is long overdue. Leena has the same vibe of Freddy Krueger when Robert Englund was playing him, in you being left wondering why are they back again? This is especially true for Fuhrman, as she has the type of filmography which would make you question why she would revisit this? Especially after a film like “The Novice.”
Now, don’t get us wrong, as noted in previous topics, “Orphan: First Kill” is by no means bad. It just doesn’t present a notable kill, a huge reveal for Esther, or anything that makes you think this needed to potentially become a franchise vs. being one and done and having a single film released in 2009.
Despite appearances, Tricia is by no means this gracious and nice person. After Gunnar killed the original Esther, she threw her body down some hole to make sure no one would catch on to Gunnar’s mistake, which was likely sending his sister down the stairs. But, thanks to Esther, Tricia had to pretend that Esther wasn’t dead in some home in the ground.
Now, originally, Tricia was okay with Leena being a grifter and even murdered the cop who found out she wasn’t Esther. But this was solely because her husband, Allen, was in better spirits, drawing again and having sex with her. But while Tricia was willing to make a deal, Gunnar wasn’t fond of this arrangement. So he picked with Leena, and she made it clear that despite what he thinks, she is not someone anyone owns.
But all good things come to an end, and as Leena makes it clear she has feelings for Allen and would kill Gunnar and Tricia to have him to herself, Tricia decides it is time to kill Leena. Never mind calling the cops and having her arrested – Leena knows too much, and Tricia has a reputation to protect. So, Gunnar and Tricia make a move to kill Leena, with Gunnar pushed to take the lead since he is the root of this issue.
He fails, and Leena kills him with a crossbow, and as for Tricia? Leena accidentally sets the house on fire and, for unknown reasons, decided to go upstairs to the roof while someone is trying to murder her. This leads to her and Tricia having a squabble that causes them to hang off the roof, and then Allen shows up. He saves Leena, letting Tricia die, and then when Leena’s secret is revealed, he accidentally falls off the roof and dies. Thus setting up what we saw in the original “Orphan.”
Is There Sequel/ Prequel Potential?
“Orphan: First Kill” more so has prequel potential than sequel potential. Leena’s life in Estonia starts us after her being captured and doesn’t show us Leena’s struggles looking perpetually ten or having to grift to survive. Never mind, while the film is called “Orphan: First Kill,” that isn’t true. It’s made clear that Leena has killed many times before the events of this movie. It’s just we’re seeing her first kill in America.