This Spanish gem was brought to us a few years ago with the help from one of my favorite madmen, Guillermo Del Toro. Although, the fact that he only produced it and didn’t write or direct it is apparent. There are definite influences of his various styles of fantasy and mood, along with some of his trademark dreamlike qualities. But The Orphanage is definitely its own movie. Extremely reliant on tone and atmosphere, this film is quiet, understated, and extremely haunting. It’s about a woman who travels back to the old orphanage she used to live at, with the plan of restarting a new orphanage herself, only to discover that there may still be some secrets and unsolved mysteries left from the past. It’s kind of a spooky haunted house tale; kind of a dark religious tale; and kind of a dark mystery, all rolled into one. One thing you’ll notice right off is how absolutely beautiful this film looks. The cinematography, along with the composition of the shots, are bar none exquisite (yes, I said exquisite.) But mixed with this beauty is a haunting dread. There are some truly dark moments, some suspenseful sequences, and quite frankly, the visual of the phantom boy with the sack over his head still terrifies me. All in all, it’s quite a puzzle that makes you wonder what’s actually going on. And let me just tell you that when you discover everything at the end, it’s quite a shock. Prepare yourself. Sad, dark, depressing, and yet still beautiful in all of this sadness, The Orphanage is definitely worthy of a view.