What makes the movie scary and why is First Kill so anticipated?

The scary movie Orphan came out 13 years ago, but this story of a seemingly innocent little girl in a dress who kills her father with multiple stab wounds is still very much in the minds of the public. It’s haunting enough that even all these years later, a prequel is highly anticipated. The film surprised everyone with its incredible atmosphere and terrifying twists, and although Orphan received mixed reviews from critics, it is considered by fans to be a staple of modern horror. Now viewers will be transported back to Esther’s dark past with Orphan: first murder is due out on August 19 this year.


The 2009 film was based on a true story that was even more disturbing than the film. The incidents became known as the Barbora Skrlová case. There were many changes to the narrative during the making of the film, which is to be expected. The main element of the story, an adult pretending to be a child adopted by a family and doing horrible things to them, remains the same. Orphan tells the story of a married couple who have just lost a child during their pregnancy. They have two other children but ultimately only want one thing: to have a bigger family. That’s when they meet Esther in an orphanage, a nine-year-old girl who seems to be everything they wanted. They will soon realize that nothing is what it seems and that Esther is someone to be feared, not loved.

Esther gave new meaning to how scary kids can be in horror movies. Here’s why the movie was so terrifying and why its prequel story is so eagerly awaited by fans, even after so many years after the movie’s release.

Horror movies and children

Every horror fan knows that something dangerous is about to happen when children appear in a scary story. the child will either be threatened or become a threat. So when the movie Orphan was released, there was no doubt that he would use this creepy tope. There are certain other tropes the movie uses that are well known in the genre, like “The Crazy Woman” (when a woman tries to warn people about something and everyone ignores her, deeming her unstable or unreliable). Orphan is clever with these horror movie cliches, tricking audiences into believing the expected, then delivering the unexpected.

Related: Orphan: First Kill: Plot, Cast & Everything We Know

Kids in horror movies usually have some form of connection to the supernatural. They are the ones who are possessed, perhaps the ones who can hear ghosts at night, or even worse, the ones who have imaginary friends who ask them to do horrible things. When Esther first appears at the orphanage, there is apparently nothing wrong with her; on the contrary, it seems too perfect to be true. Then the audience discovers that she is carrying a very outdated bible (red flag!) and wearing vintage clothes (double red flag!). The viewer is quickly misled, and there is nothing supernatural about this story. The fact that Orphan moving away from the supernatural, relying instead on a true story and the grisly, all-too-real horrors of real life, helps ground the film in reality and make it more terrifying.

Moreover, the protagonist’s children find out the truth about Esther before anyone else. They create the distress felt by the audience when watching the film. They’re helpless when they confront her, and yet they try to stop her and save everyone – even if it happens after they’ve been manipulated by her. Ultimately, they stop Esther from hurting the family sooner, and having the kids play that role in a film with a tough R rating is surprisingly refreshing.

Plot twists in Orphan

Great twists, if used wisely, can enhance the story; if they are fumbled, they can make a totally unrealistic and stupid movie. Because this device has become so popular (especially after the M. Night Symalan movies), sometimes it seems like it needs to happen. This leads to poorly executed twists that come out of nowhere. Horror movies suffer a lot from this problem: relying too much on twists and turns that add nothing to the story and don’t really make sense overall.

Related: Orphan: The First Murder Does Something No Other Horror Movie Has Tried, Says Isabelle Fuhrman

Orphan is not like that. The film is well constructed and gives just enough clues without giving it all away, so your mind is blown when you find out the truth about Esther, but you don’t feel cheated. One of the main reasons the movie was so scary was how grounded the plot twists (and really the whole movie) were in reality, as mentioned; the two go together.

Esther in Orphan: a complex character

Esther is a complex character with a deep story that hasn’t been explored to her full potential in the film. She’s such a violent and brutal person that it’s really exciting to have the chance to see what made her who she is and to do the things that she does. In the trailer for the new movie, the viewer can see her gasp and try new things (violent, of course) that she was very good at in Orphan. There’s always a fascination with figuring out what makes characters tick in horror, especially when it comes to the really disturbing ones.

Another element that makes viewers eager to see the new film is that Esther is played by the same actress: Isabelle Fuhrman. It’s exciting to see the actress return to the role so many years later, especially after a career excelling in big horror roles (from Don’t let me go and In a dark hallway to his great recent film The The last thing Mary saw. They used CGI to make her look younger since the actress is now 25. In the trailer, it looks like they didn’t overdo it and instead allowed for the weirdness of someone looking older and trying to look like a kid – which is exactly what does the character.

Orphan disturbed the public 13 years ago, and now Esther is back. Orphan: first murder will bring the past to the present, alongside one of the most feared children in modern horror movies.

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