Ep. 126 – Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Rocketman, Running With Beto

June 4, 2019 by  
Filed under Podcast

On this episode of The CineSnob Podcast, Cody and Jerrod review GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS, ROCKETMAN, and the HBO documentary RUNNING WITH BETO.

Click here to download the episode!

The Front Runner

November 30, 2018 by  
Filed under Kiko, Reviews

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, Sara Paxon
Directed by: Jason Reitman (“Tully”)
Written by: Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air”), Jay Carson (debut), Matt Bai (debut)

It’s almost laughable to think that only 30 years ago, an entire political campaign for a U.S. presidential hopeful collapsed under the weight of a sordid extramarital affair. In comparison to the numerous sexual misconduct allegations raised about then-presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2016 — not to mention his countless public gaffes that would’ve destroyed any other candidate’s chances of making it to the White House — the unfaithfulness of Colorado Senator Gary Hart feels like such a trivial issue.

In “The Front Runner,” however, Academy Award-nominated writer/director Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air”) does his best to make Hart’s narrative resonate for audiences that can see the parallels between his indiscretions in the late 1980s and the bad behavior men from all industries have been called out for since the start of the #MeToo movement last year. It’s not heavy-handed from this aspect, but the similarities are recognizable for those who consume news on, at least, a semi-regular basis.

Reitman, who has been in a slump these last five years with less-than-stellar contributions like “Labor Day” and “Men, Women & Children,” delivers a sufficient look behind the scenes of a campaign spiraling out of control, although much of it is surface-level drama that fails to get into the heads of its main characters. It’s especially true of Hart (Hugh Jackman), who spends most of the film’s run time playing defense against accusations and blaming reporters for their salacious coverage.

As Hart, Jackman is genuinely believable in his role as a confident politician who is “talented at untangling the bullshit of politics” and becomes the front runner for the 1988 Democratic nomination. Hart was known for his resistance to answering questions about his personal life, so when the Miami Herald ran an article on an affair he was allegedly involved in, he quickly became a punchline for Johnny Carson and would later be written into the history books as the embodiment of political scandal.

“The Front Runner” is a captivating story but would’ve benefited from the script giving audiences a more meaningful insight into how Hart’s infidelity affected the lives of everyone around him — specifically his wife Lee (Vera Farmiga), campaign manager Bill Dixon (J.K. Simmons) and young lover Donna Rice (Sara Paxton). In her couple of scenes, Paxton gets closer than anyone in capturing the magnitude of Hart’s selfish actions.

Like all politicians, “The Front Runner” is flawed. But Reitman offers up a compelling enough glimpse from the campaign trail and shows that, no matter in what era, journalists will always be there to hold people in power accountable — even if that means forcing them to air out their dirty laundry.

Boundaries

July 20, 2018 by  
Filed under Kiko, Reviews

Starring: Vera Farmiga, Christopher Plummer, Lewis MacDougall
Directed by: Shana Feste (“Country Strong”)
Written by: Shana Feste (“Country Strong”)

It’s nothing new in cinema when an eccentric old man is put in a car and dragged across a few states while he attempts to make a meaningful connection with another person in the vehicle. What better way to learn about someone than to spend a few days on the road together?

Actors Bruce Dern and Will Forte do it exceptionally well as a father and son traveling to claim a million-dollar sweepstakes prize in Alexander Payne’s bittersweet 2015 film “Nebraska.” Alan Arkin won an Oscar for playing a heroine-addicted grandfather on an adventure with his dysfunctional family in 2006’s “Little Miss Sunshine.” With enough screen time, a sharp-minded senior citizen can usually impart some life lessons and words of wisdom for those willing enough to accept it.

Laura Jaconi (Vera Farmiga) is not, in fact, one of those characters. She’s not interested in anyone stepping into her lane, especially if that someone is her estranged 85-year-old father Jack (Christopher Plummer). When Jack is kicked out of his retirement home for growing weed, she has two options: let him move in with her and her rebellious teenage son Henry (Lewis MacDougall), or put him on a plane to Los Angeles to live with her younger sister JoJo (Kristen Schaal).

She chooses option two, but consents to making the drive from Seattle to L.A. when her father agrees to pay for Henry’s private school. Jack, however, has ulterior motives. With $200,000 worth of weed in the trunk of his vintage Rolls Royce, he recruits his grandson to help him unload the product during their trip down the West Coast, which includes a stop to meet Jack’s old friend Stanley (Christopher Lloyd) and Henry’s loser father Leonard (Bobby Cannavale).

While some complex themes like abandonment and redemption are touched upon lightly, there’s not much room for anything else to breathe with Farmiga’s exaggeratedly neurotic character overshadowing some of the more interesting relationships that should’ve been given top billing. Farmiga’s performance, in itself, is not bad, but Laura’ character is cliché, obvious and far from nuanced. She is an animal lover who takes in every single stray dog that she finds, a metaphor for the trauma she’s experienced throughout her life with an absent father.

Even then, “Boundaries” writer/director Shana Feste (“Country Strong”) never explores the troubled dynamic between father and daughter. We’re told Jack was a less-than-stellar dad — and we definitely see the effects of the flawed upbringing in Laura’s personality — but Feste fails to get to the heart of the issue. By the end, no one has grown emotionally or identified the root of the problem or learned anything about themselves or the people they love. Sadly, closure only happens because the credits start to roll.

The Conjuring

July 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Jerrod, Reviews

Starring: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston
Directed by: James Wan (“Insidious,” “Saw”)
Written by: Chad Hayes and Carey Hayes (“Whiteout”, “House of Wax”)

The best way to describe “The Conjuring” is to call it old school, which is an easy way to say that it’s a horror movie free from the excessive CGI, herky-jerky editing, or creepy Asian kids that have come to signify what modern horror filmmaking has become. Instead, director James Wan’s ’70s-set haunted house story goes for the slow burn and forgoes the laundry list of cheap scares typically awaiting moviegoers looking to jump out of their seats.

“The Conjuring” opens with the story of three roommates and an incredibly disturbing doll. The year is 1968, and strange things are afoot in the apartment they share. When the creepy doll starts doing predictably creepy things, the roommates call in Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), paranormal investigators with a knack for tracking down evil spirits. Three years later, Roger and Carolyn Perron (Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor) and their five daughters move into an old farm house. The discovery of things around the house like a boarded-up basement and a spooky music box give way to a full-fledged poltergeist, putting the entire family in danger. Left with no choice, the Perrons enlist the help of the Warrens, hoping to rid their home of the infesting evil.

As the first reels unwind, “The Conjuring” tiptoes on the edge of feeling routine. Family moves in to an obviously creepy old house where spooky supernatural things start happening? That plot line is like a well-worn shoe. Evil spirits start manipulating objects and/or members of said family? Seen it. But instead of going the contemporary route, ramping things up and populating the film with computer-generated terror, Wan keeps things simple and grounded. The 1970s color palette and musical selections complement the locked-down camera work, while the entire cast plays it straight, keeping the performances low-key and matter-of-fact. Wilson and Farmiga come off especially well, maintaining calm and realism in what could be scenery-chewing roles. And, in what could be the most pleasant surprise of all, that creepy doll featured so heavily in the prologue doesn’t figure into the climax whatsoever. She doesn’t wield a knife, doesn’t throw anyone down the stairs—nothing. When was the last time you could say something like that about a horror movie?

Safe House

February 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Brendan Gleeson
Directed by: Daniel Espinosa (“Easy Money”)
Written by: David Guggenheim (debut)

The rules are fairly easy in Hollywood if you’re a filmmaker wanting to direct a movie. Prove yourself a moneymaker like Michael Bay and budgets will usually swell. Problem is, every bloated and brainless production looks like the next one on the conveyer belt and mainstream audiences – despite their insatiable need for big explosions and pricey special effects – sometimes don’t fall for it (see “Green Lantern” or “Speed Racer”). What’s a studio to do when it wants to hire a new voice, but doesn’t want to gamble $170 million on someone whose resume only features a collection of really slick-looking TV commercials? The answer: Find some foreign talent yet to be influenced by the big industry machine and see if they can figure out how to inventively bash robot heads together at half the salary.

Examples from the past few years include Russian-Kazakh director Timur Bekmambetov, whose film work in Moscow earned him the right to make the 2008 Angelina Jolie action flick Wanted, and Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn (“Bronson,” “Pusher” trilogy), whose first American-made film was last year’s stylish arthouse hybrid “Drive.” Next in line to take a swing at an America action movie is Swedish-Chilean director Daniel Espinosa with “Safe House,” an exceedingly routine spy thriller starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds that will easily be lost among the mediocrity come March. Despite keeping things moving with some creative stunt driving and distracting editing, the film falls short in the screenplay department. While adequate in small doses, the lightweight plot, which becomes increasingly formulaic and predictable, doesn’t do much to heighten Espinosa’s visual approach or Washington’s villainous intentions.

Washington has played the bad guy before, but in films like “American Gangster” and his Oscar-winning role in “Training Day” there was more to his character than firing a slug into someone’s forehead or pointing a pair of pistols at a hoodlum’s groin. There was depth in those performances that simply isn’t found in the “Safe House” script of first-time screenwriter David Guggenheim. As renegade CIA operative-turned-traitor Tobin Frost, Washington makes his dead-on gazes work for him, but aside from the tough exterior there’s little about Frost that would send a chill down anyone’s spine. He’s selling government secrets in South Africa when he ends up in the custody of his former agency. Left to contend with Frost is Matt Weston (Reynolds), a low-level MI6 agent who must try to keep his “high-profile asset” alive as both are tracked by a mob of assassins. Wasting away in the wings are actors Brendan Gleeson, Vera Farmiga, and Sam Shepard, who stay holed up at CIA headquarters supervising the jerry-rigged mission for most of the runtime.

For those who like the hand-to-hand combat of the Jason Bourne series and the firefights and action of something like “Assault on Precinct 13” or “The Taking of Pelham 123,” “Safe House” might be a safe bet for a matinee if you’ve already caught up on the spillover from 2011. As much as the film wants to be a battle of wits between Washington and Reynolds, there isn’t nearly enough downtime for bullets to stop flying and a significant conversation to take place. Basically, this is a 106-minute chase scene through Cape Town that highlights a few fun stunts and some trivial storytelling. Espinosa does his best impersonation of Paul Greengrass and Tony Scott, and therein lies the problem. Until foreign directors like him realize their American films don’t necessarily have to be Americanized, we’ll continue to get what ultimately ends up being copies of copies of copies.

Higher Ground

September 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Vera Farmiga, Joshua Leonard, Dagmara Dominczyk
Directed by: Vera Farmiga (debut)
Written by: Carolyn S. Briggs (debut) and Tim Metcalfe (“The Haunting in Connecticut ”)

It takes strength for someone to tell themselves that what they thought was important for their entire life might not matter anymore. How does one redefine their belief system when it’s all they’ve known?

This is one of the struggles pious housewife Corinne Walker (Vera Farmiga) must face in “Higher Ground,” Farmiga’s directorial debut that follows her in the lead role as an evangelical church member who begins to seriously question her faith after tragedy strikes.

Based on Carolyn S. Briggs’ memoir “This Dark World,” “Higher Ground” maneuvers its way alongside its main character, from her years as a naïve child to her age of enlightenment as a mother who bases the family’s upbringing on the word of the Lord.

It’s not until Corinne begins her transformation, however, when “Higher Ground” starts to explore more deep-seated ideas behind organized religion and how someone who has only followed a righteous path their entire life can all of a sudden want more. Before her gradual conversion becomes evident, Farmiga doesn’t offer us much insight into what it means to be a “prayervert” or why this group of believers is motivated to search out something they can’t see.

In fact, as Corinne, Farmiga only scratches the surface during her early years and wastes an opportunity to really delve into the topic of serving God through the eyes of a child. As an adult, Corinne becomes aggravated when she doesn’t know how to allow the Holy Spirit to move through her so that she may speak in tongues. 

“Higher Ground” is an understated attempt by Farmiga, who can only grow from this experience behind the camera. She knows first-hand how great directors do it (she’s worked with Martin Scorsese and Jonathan Demme) and it’s obvious she is passionate about her subject matter, but in her first go-around it doesn’t necessary translate to a narrative with enough purpose.

Jake Gyllenhaal & cast/crew – Source Code

April 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Interviews

In the sci-fi action thriller “Source Code,” Capt. Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up inside the body of another man eight minutes before he and a train full of commuters on a Chicago train are killed by a terrorist’s bomb. Wired into a military program allowing him to travel through time, Capt. Colter is repeatedly transported into his avatar each time getting closer and closer to finding the source of the bomb and stopping it from detonating.

During the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas last month, I got the opportunity to sit down with “Source Code” director Duncan Jones, screenwriter Ben Ripley, and actors Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, and Vera Farmiga to talk about their new film and what is so intriguing about the sci-fi genre.

Duncan, You’ve described “Source Code” as a “thinking man’s sci-fi movie.” Can you elaborate on that idea and compare it to other sci-fi movies that might be a bit more mainstream?

Duncan Jones: Yeah, I see it as a contemporary thriller. There are definitely science fiction elements to it. It builds on that foundation and needs it for the story to work. But the heart of the film is about relationships. I think a lot of it comes from the set up that Ben wrote.

Ben Ripley: Yeah, there’s not a lot of tech in “Source Code.” There are no starships or lasers. We’re not in outer space. The technology is implied. I think that challenges you a little more whereas mainstream science fiction is going to try to wow you by setting the film on the surface of another planet; it’s the spectacle of it all. This is internal. This is a character mystery first and foremost.

Duncan, since “Source Code” is your second film, did you worry about what is known in the film industry as “the sophomore slump” – where your second film doesn’t live up to the critical success of your first?

I have to be honest, I didn’t think about it while I was shooting the film. It was a term I was familiar with, but I didn’t really have time to worry about it until we started talking to press and media. (Laughs) You start thinking about it when someone asks, “Well, what’s the third film called?”

Jake, this is the first sci-fi film you’ve made since “Donnie Darko” in 2001. How exciting was it to find your way back to this genre?

It was great. First of all, the screenplay was fantastic. For me, when Duncan decided he wanted to do it, that was it. I was excited because I feel like doing a sci-fi movie gives you the opportunity to use your mind in a way you normally don’t. Usually, you’re focused on character and not how a character is moving through a situation. Even if the character is moving through something, there are always rules of reality. In the world of sci-fi there aren’t any rules. It offered me the opportunity in my performance to pretty much do anything. That was a thrill. The process was fun because there is so much you can do

Was Duncan open to all your ideas?

All the time. I would say, “I’m going to try something crazy” and he’d say, “Do it, mate.” The crazier the better for him. He was like, “Weirder! Go weirder! You can do anything you want to anybody.” I found a real kindred spirit in that. He has this really big heart and is fascinated with details. It’s rare to see that in a movie like this.

Michelle, this is a fairly complicated script. When you were shooting it, did you ever have to stop and make sure you knew exactly where you were in the story?

Absolutely. I think the first time I read it, I had to read it again. The great thing about the movie is that it’s totally engaging. It literally grabs you from the first 10 or 20 pages. But you’re in an alternate reality part of the time so it definitely is confusing trying to work it out. You see the words on the page, but visually you’re trying to work it out in your head.

How did you manage to keep everything in order in your head and shoot what’s basically the same scene over and over again?

Well, when it came time to shoot it, it was really tricky. We were doing the same eight minutes. Playing those eight minutes over and over again was the most intriguing and challenging thing as an actress. We wanted to make them engaging and add all the subtleties. We would huddle up for a good hour prior to each scene over three days to make sure we were all in the same place in the story. We shot them chronologically, which was a nice luxury to have. We wanted to start each scene with a clear idea of what we wanted to puzzle together. That was our clear goal.

If you were to have the opportunity to go back and correct something in the past, would you or do you believe everything happens for a reason?

I’m a really big believer that everything happens for a reason, but if I could have eight minutes just to experience something again it would be my wedding because it was way too fast. No, I wasn’t drunk. (Laughs) It’s one of those things like, “Oh my gosh, I wish I could hear those speeches again! Oh, I wish I had a second shot at that first dance!” If I could have eight minutes again I would have that day.

You studied journalism for a long time…

Yeah, I did!

Could you see yourself on the other side of this table asking the questions?

Yeah, sure! It’s funny because for years that’s all I wanted to do and that’s what I studied. Then I discovered acting and found out when I was researching for roles I was doing the who, what, when, where, why. That’s how I prepare for all my roles now. So, I didn’t waste all that money [for college]. It was such a relief.

Vera, what were the challenges of playing a role that was fairly stationary from your character’s perspective?

Yeah, there wasn’t much movement. I was in a roller chair so I could roll back and forth and swivel right and left. My movement was confined. I knew my face was going to be massive and probably skewed in the way cameras skew your face when you’re video chatting. It forced me to think about their psycho-spiritual connection and maneuvering from an ocular standpoint. This role isn’t something I would particularly be drawn to, but because it is so opposite of what I’m usually drawn to, I took a look at it. Duncan Jones on the cover sheet was enough to get a yes from me. To be a part of an intricate puzzle was enough to get a yes from me. I think the challenge was to consider what the character was not saying and to read what was between the lines. I think that allowed for more life. I think the challenges were to convey all of that.

And convey it while reciting some very technical dialogue.

In all candor, that kind of dialogue – that expository dialogue – is just boring to execute. So, the challenge of that was to find life beyond the information. My character had to be a whip-cracker with information, but I also wanted to find a way to convey what her morale dilemma is and how that would play out.

Source Code

April 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga
Directed by: Duncan Jones (“Moon”)
Written by: Ben Ripley (debut)

Playing like a bizarre mix of the Billy Murray comedy “Groundhog’s Day” and the early 90s TV series “Quantum Leap,” director Duncan Jones’ second feature film, “Source Code,” is an exciting and smart sci-fi story that proves original ideas still exist out there – even if you have to search beyond time and space.

In “Source Code,” Jake Gyllenhaal (“Love and Other Drugs”) plays Capt. Colter Stevens, a helicopter pilot stationed in Afghanistan who wakes up one day to discover he is no longer himself. He now inhabits the body of a high school teacher traveling into Chicago on a train with one of his fellow colleagues and possible love interest (Michlle Monaghan).

Extremely confused for the first half hour of the film, Capt. Colter soon learns he is part of a special mission, which gives him eight minutes to find a terrorist who ultimately ends up bombing the train he is on. Sent back and forth into this parallel universe by military officer Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) and a team of scientists, Capt. Colter is forced to participate in what Goodwin calls a Source Code, a time reassignment program (way more interesting than the time traveling hooey Gyllenhaal goes through in “Prince of Persia”) that allows him to revisit past events in hopes of retrieving vital information and saving lives.

Shot in a Hitchockian-type style that keeps the intensity high, director Jones knows how to thread scenes together with inventiveness. Each time Capt. Colter fails at his mission, he awakes inside a mechanical pod, asked to report on what he has seen, and is sent back again without much warning. Like Sam Rockwell in Jones’ first film “Moon,” Capt. Colter is overwhelmed by isolation. Gyllenhaal, in a very convincing peroformance, gives his character depth and likeability. Each time he asks to speak to his father, Jones hits us hard with heartbreaking compassion.

It’s because of this that “Source Code” is more than just a fun sci-fi ride through the creative mind of Jones and screenwriter Ben Ripley; there’s actually a reason we care about our leading man and the pain he is feeling as he is jerked around between worlds. While Jones delivers an enjoyable balance of charm and humor to the picture, it’s the emotional pull that keeps us deep inside “Source Code” eager to see the captain emerge from the smoke and mirrors.

Up in the Air

December 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick
Directed by: Jason Reitman (“Juno”)
Written by: Jason Reitman (“Thank You for Smoking”) and Sheldon Turner (“The Longest Yard”)

People do crazy things when they are fired from their job. While most may sit in total disbelief, there is the occasional childish tantrum thrown, tearful plea, and even the somber threat to end it all by jumping off the nearest bridge. Some reactions are hilarious (at least from a cinematic sense), some are shocking, and some are simply too heartbreaking to even begin to describe.

In “Up in the Air,” director/writer Jason Reitman and co-writer Sheldon Turner run the gamut on the emotions an employee might experience if he or she was told they were no longer needed. It’s a frightening situation no one would ever want to encounter although today’s increasing unemployment rate continuing to rise makes people wonder just how safe their job really is.

At its most basic, “Up in the Air” is a timely story about the unpredictable marketplace. But it’s so much more than that. It’s a film that speaks volumes about isolation and loneliness and the fear of failure and uninitiated change.

The life-altering affair begins and ends with Academy Award winner George Clooney (“Syriana”). He plays Ryan Bingham, a contract businessman hired by companies around the U.S. to pull the trigger and fire their employees when they can’t find the gall to do it themselves. Firing people face-to-face with the utmost professionalism and respect is all Ryan has ever known. He doesn’t necessarily like the outcome of what his position entails, but his unconstrained lifestyle (living out of his suitcase, jumping from airport to airport, and never having to commit to anyone for anything) is what he is used to. His love for his independence is evident when he starts having scheduled flings with Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga), another frequent flyer who seems to share the same no-strings-attached outlook on life.

So, when Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick), an ambitious efficiency expert straight out of college wants to revolutionize the way the company drops the ax (it’s only logical that firing someone over a webcam will get it done faster and cheaper), Ryan sees and end to his easy-going routine. While this bothers him a great deal, Ryan is also concerned the advanced firing technique via internet is even more heartless than doing it in person. Since the changeover at his company will take some time, he gets the chance to show Natalie there is an actual method to letting someone go that just can’t be duplicated on a computer screen.

Full of charming and touching anecdotes, Reitman makes “Up in the Air” soar. As a “road warrior” who is suddenly grounded, Clooney is Oscar bound in this multi-layered role that speaks from the heart. Kendrick, too, is very memorable as a matter-of-fact young businesswoman who thinks she has it all figured out despite her lack of experience.

It all works in “Up in the Air” from the dark comedy elements to the catchy sountrack. Not only is it one of the best films of the year, it’s also one of those distinctive romantic comedies (with a satirical and tragic twist) that is a true rarity in a usually cliched genre.

Orphan

July 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Isabelle Fuhrman, Peter Sarsgaard, Vera Farmiga
Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra (“House of Wax”)
Written by: David Leslie Johnson (debut)
 
Make some room Damien. There’s a new evil kid on the block and she doesn’t care that you’re the spawn of Satan. In fact, Esther, the demented adopted daughter in the thriller “Orphan,” doesn’t care for much else other than bludgeoning people to death and looking oh so sweet doing it.

Call it my one guilty pleasure of the year. It’s really surprising how entertaining “Orphan” is in all its preposterousness.

Directed by Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra, who’s first film was an inadequate remake of 1953’s “House of Wax” with Paris Hilton, “Orphan” follows the Coleman family (Peter Sarsgaard and Vera Farmiga play the parents, John and Kate) as they come to terms with the death their a child and eventually open their home to a young girl they adopt from an orphanage.

Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) impresses John and Kate from the start with her sparkling personality, winning smile, mature nature, and artistic talent. She almost seems too good to be true, so the Colemans sign the paperwork and take Esther home to live with them and their two children Daniel (Jimmy Bennett) and Max (Aryana Engineer, one of the cutest little girls you’re bound to see in any movie this year).

It takes a good hour for Collet-Serra to set up the tension before unleashing Esther, which is bold of him to do since most thrillers usually jump right into the action. The waiting, however, pays off as we get a sense of who the Colemans are as a family. As they begin to suffer later, you can actually feel for them as real human characters instead of as victims of Esther’s lunacy.

In other similarly themed movies, shocking scenes are usually censored especially when the wrongdoing is at the hands of a child. In “Orphan,” however, there is nothing Collet-Serra decides to pull away from. There are extremely upsetting scenes in the film that are excessively violent. With Fuhrman behind it all, it’s more disturbing and effective.

“Orphan” is not just a kiddie slasher film. There are some genuine scares despite Collet-Serra overusing some substandard camera tricks and baiting the audience like children in a funhouse. Sure, it may slink back into clichés at times, but you could do a lot worse in the genre.