"Un, dos, tres, toca la pared" Laura said as she knocked on the tree trunk in front of a big sprawling orphanage. She looked behind her after a short pause, gauging how close her friends were to her, preparing to run the moment any of them could tap her on her shoulders as the game progressed. Later, Laura gets adopted.
El Orfanato, also known as The Orphanage, is a Spanish horror movie leaning towards the slightly mysterious and chilling side, with a bit of tragedy thrown in... It is what you could call a beautifully taken horror movie, verified by the non-existence of a blood-thirsty killer going on a rampage seeking revenge of some sort on skimpily dressed teenagers.
Moving on to the present day, Laura is all grown up with a family of her own, including an adopted son, Simon who is so adorably cute you feel like biting his nose off. My sister wanted to bite his cheeks off, though. They live in her former orphanage where she has plans to turn it into a house for children with special needs. However, the house seems to be a wee bit more mysterious than any ordinary house should be... starting with stories of imaginary friends who can't grow up, to a mysterious visit from an old lady which ends with a game that involves finding clues to get back what you treasure most. According to Simon, his imaginary friends would hide your most treasured item and it's up to you to figure out the clues to retrieve it..
As the movie proceeds, little stories from the past are revealed when Simon mysteriously disappears after an argument with his mom, and we get a glimpse of the horrors that happened, not in a 'in your face' way, but just a very general idea that is just enough to make you understand what went on, or send chills down your spine.
The cinematography is pretty awesome, and the person who played Laura is an excellent actress. I thought it was an excellent movie. It was interesting to note how the different aspects of the movie merged towards the end to reveal an ending that was incredibly sad, but made perfect sense (in a horror movie kind of way, at least)