The psychological horror “Orphan” was initially released in 2009 and was a massive hit. What was supposed to be just a B movie horror flick ended up grossing almost 80 million dollars at the box office. But despite the movie’s major success, it would be another 13 years before we would see any additions to the Orphan story.

Orphan: First Kill takes us back to evil Esther’s origins. Esther is being held at Saarne asylum in Estonia for murdering an entire family after being rejected by the husband. Like in the original, her small innocent stature is deceiving to anyone who doesn’t know her violent past. And just as described in the first movie, Esther escapes the asylum and finds her way to America. It isn’t long before she finds herself with a new unsuspecting family.

When I heard about this prequel, I was immediately excited but very skeptical. Depending on the franchise, I am not a massive fan of horror sequels or prequels. However, I had a hunch that the original creators wouldn’t wait 13 years to give us a dud- and I was right! In fact, this is one of the most thoughtfully manufactured prequels I have ever seen. Even more impressive, Esther, played by Isabelle Fuhrman, who was only 12 at the time of the original film’s release, comes back to reprise her role. This time, special effects teams had the difficult task of making her look 12. Instead of using digital effects, creators used makeup and forced perspective to make her look smaller. Isabelle Fuhrman’s character as Esther doesn’t skip a beat and comes back scarier than ever.

This movie made me wonder if the prequel was planned while writing the original because the two stories flow together almost seamlessly. But the most surprising and enjoyable aspect of the prequel was how it managed to make the original even scarier despite seeing it years ago. The original movie was hinged on the mind-boggling plot twist at the end when we discover the orphan child is a 33-year-old grifter. But the prequel doesn’t take away from that aspect. It adds to the original by making you even more afraid for her next victims. With a thirteen-year gap between movies, you would expect some inconsistencies but the ones I noticed were minor and were more or less explained by the end of the prequel. It is easy to give this horror flick a good review; I watched it in theaters, then went home and re-watched it on Paramount + along with the original the same night. Julia Stile’s performance as the new and troubled mother is to die for. And as I mentioned earlier, Isabelle Fuhrman does a remarkable job of bringing evil little Esther back from her watery grave.

You can find this movie in select theatres and on Paramount+. However, I strongly suggest catching this one in theatres to get the full theatrical experience.

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