#REVIEW: “ORPHAN: FIRST KILL”
Review by Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
When Horror fans were first introduced to Esther in 2009, they were shocked to discover her true nature. Even though Orphan laid-out some clues as to who she really was, the ending and twist that came from the 2009 film was something that shook audiences. To this day, it widely is talked about as one of the most unforgettable reveals, for good or worse, in recent memory. 13 years later, audiences get to reunite with Esther in Orphan: First Kill and, surprisingly, this is one of the very rare instances where the Prequel wildly surpasses the Original.
Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) escapes her Estonian psychiatric facility and flees to America, and disguises herself as the missing daughter of Tricia and Allen Albright (Julia Stiles and Rossif Sutherland, respectively). She tries to replace the daughter they’ve long lost, but there are of course obstacles in Esther’s way that makes her transition into this new family more difficult than initially anticipated. Without giving away too much of the Plot, not everything is as it seems, and while Orphan: First Kill is not relying as heavily on shocking twists, the sadistic nature of the Film is certainly proudly on full display, and brings together one terrifying, disturbing Horror that is sure to satisfy genre fans.
Screenwriter David Coggeshall and Director William Brent Bell come into this with a vision that enables its Cast to shine. Fuhrman is completely engrossed in the character of Esther, further building on the character she gave life to in 2009, with the addition of added backstory. And now that she is actually in her 20s, she is able to more freely build this character and create a world of mischief and chaos that only she can truly bring justice to. Julia Stiles, is leaning into her dramatic chops and plays the cautious mother whose weary of her daughters re-emergence from disappearance, and through her ability to resonate with the audience on multiple levels throughout the Film truly comes through. Rossif Sutherland and Matthew Finlan who plays Gunnar, their other son, are also great in Orphan: First Kill but it is Stiles and Fuhrman who steal the show and deliver the genre chaos that ensues that certainly leaves audience satiated.
Orphan: First Kill is a rare example of a Prequel far surpassing the original film, even with the 13 years between the first two installments. While some audiences may want to revisit the 2009 Orphan, it would be best to go as blind as one can into Orphan: First Kill as to not spoil or ruin any of the fun and excitement that unfolds throughout this feature. They always say the first kill is the most satisfying, and Orphan: First Kill certainly lives up to that moniker.
VVS Films releases ORPHAN: FIRST KILL on digital on Friday, August 19, 2022.