Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
There's a surprise ending, followed by several bonus endings, and we're not giving anything away in noting that the film's titular adoptee has more lives than Chucky.
While the third-act surprise twist of Orphan must have looked wicked-good on paper, on screen ... not so much.
Overlong and overwrought, Orphan stays faithful to every cliche of the genre.
If director Jaume Collet-Serra set out to make a parody of horror-film cliches, he succeeded brilliantly.
Orphan works because it's a film that knows exactly what it wants to be -- creepy as all get out -- and does everything possible to achieve that goal.
Director Jaume Collet-Serra moves Orphan along efficiently, doling out a 'boo!' shot every few minutes with mechanical professionalism.
Director Jaume Collet-Serra (House of Wax) endows this ugly mess with a slew of unintentional laughs, but not enough to repay the 123-minute time suck.
To really get under your skin, a bad-seed horror movie needs a demon child whose dastardliness sneaks up on you. There's nothing too subtle, however, about Esther.
Director Jaume Collet-Serra, working from a devilishly clever script by David Leslie Johnson, maintains steady suspense while mercifully mixing in some moments of dark humor.
I didn't mind wasting two hours watching the truly ferocious Furhman teach Max how to play Russian roulette and snickering when Kate thinks to Google "children who kill."
Los Angeles Times:
Clocking in at more than two hours, the movie teeters between psychological horror and violent blood-letting and, as such, probably won't completely satisfy fans in either camp.
A thoroughly enjoyable demon-spawn movie in the tradition of The Bad Seed (1956) and The Other (1972).
New York Daily News:
The scares are often the generic, push-off-the-slide variety and Orphan doesn't add much to the genre except, disturbingly, a fetishistic bent that's creepy in the wrong way.
New York Post:
Although reasonably, cheesily suspenseful, the movie takes a long time to get going. Its tagline, 'There's something wrong with Esther,' turns out to be a masterpiece of understatement.
It feels too slow and moody for the Halloween crowd and too absurd and silly for more discriminating horror fans.
It would be harder to find a more dark and joyless thriller on the market than this one.
Here is a shamelessly effective horror film based on the most diabolical of movie malefactors, a child.
San Francisco Chronicle:
So sloppy, so lowdown, so shameless and so entertaining, Orphan provides everything you might expect in a psycho-child thriller, but with such excess and exuberance that it still has the power to surprise.
Kevin C. Johnson,
St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
During a summer with the usual transforming robots and young wizards, this chilly flick is a bit of a break, and there are worse options than letting this Orphan in the door.
Globe and Mail:
[Orphan] never exploits the dramatic possibilities, despite the efforts of its excellent cast and gorgeous production values.
The best thing about Orphan, is the way it plays with the genre's overused staples and its sophisticated audience's expectations.
This wickedly entertaining, if slightly over-stretched, variation on the familiar 'evil child' scenario displays an unusually complex grasp of twisted psychology.
It's a cut above most spooky-kid movies, with a twist that sets it apart.
Teasingly enjoyable rubbish through the first hour, Orphan becomes genuine trash during its protracted second half.
Surely writers David Leslie Johnson and Alex Mace deserve their own circle of hell for thinking up the story, which moves with breathtaking cynicism from disturbing to grotesque to perverse to ludicrous.