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Coming from Dark Castle Entertainment ORPHAN ($36) is the BAD SEED for a new generation. Although predictable in a number of places, ORPHAN remains a fairly creepy thriller, thanks to an impressive, understated performance from Isabelle Fuhrman, who projects a whole lot maturity and knowing into her character. The premise of ORPHAN, finds Kate (Vera Farmiga) and John Coleman (Peter Sarsgaard) trying to rebuild their strained marriage, after the loss of their unborn third child. Deciding to adopt, the visit a local orphanage, where they meet a nine-year-old Russian girl named Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman). Artistic, intelligent and mature beyond her years, the couple decides to add Esther to the family. Things go well at first, but it becomes apparent that there is something not quite right with Esther. As expected, death and mayhem ensue as Esther’s true nature comes to the surface… thus leaving her adoptive family in peril. The cast of ORPHAN also includes CCH Pounder, Jimmy Bennett, Margo Martindale, Karel Roden, Aryana Engineer and Rosemary Dunsmore.

Warner Home Video has made ORPHAN available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. Considering that ORPHAN is a modestly budgeted horror outing, and not the latest action blockbuster, the 1080p presentation is really quite impressive. Image sharpness, dimensionality and detail are very strong performers, thus making the presentation the best part of ORPHAN, that is, next to Isabelle Fuhrman’s capable performance. Fine details and texturing also stand out quite well on this Blu-ray. Colors are somewhat subdued with all the appropriate bleakness of the film’s wintry setting. Some moments offer stronger hues, but they are used for a startling contrasting effect. Blacks are inky, while the whites are clean and crisp. Contrast and shadow detail are pretty terrific. The elements from which ORPHAN has been mastered are virtually perfect. Modest grain is present, without any signs of excessive DNR.

ORPHAN is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. This is surprisingly proficient sound mix that makes the most of the genre stylings and has an effective sound design. ORPHAN is fairly talky and relies a whole lot on atmospherics to sell the material. As expected, the discrete channels are utilized for creepy sound effects placement and occasional zingers. Fidelity is just fine; sound effects are convincing and the musical component sounds good. The bass channel is deep enough for the material and adds the necessary weight to key effects. Dialogue is cleanly reproduced and is always easy to understand. English, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

The interactive menu gives one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as couple of extras. Bad Seeds And Evil Kids is a fifteen-minute look at homicidal genre brats. Some Deleted Scenes including an Alternate Ending close out the standard extras. ORPHAN is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player). A Digital Copy of the film is also provided.

Although predictable, ORPHAN is a fairly creepy thriller. The Blu-ray presentation is impressive. If you want to adopt ORPHAN, better do it on Blu-ray.



Orphan [Blu-ray] (2009)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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