[Screen It]

 

"ORPHAN"
(2009) (Vera Farmiga, Isabelle Fuhrman) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Heavy Extreme Heavy Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Heavy Heavy Extreme None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Extreme Minor Extreme Heavy Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Suspense/Horror: Hoping to fill the void left by a stillborn baby, a couple adopts a nine-year-old orphan into their family, unwittingly setting into motion increasingly troubling repercussions that threaten to rip them apart.
PLOT:
Kate (VERA FARMIGA) and John Coleman (PETER SARSGAARD) have had mixed feeling about adding another child to their family following their last daughter arriving stillborn. After all, it's been about a year since Kate stopped drinking, and with the help of her psychiatrist, Dr. Browning (MARGO MARTINDALE), she thinks she might be ready to adopt.

Accordingly, when they visit Sister Abigail (CCH POUNDER) at the local orphanage, they're immediately charmed by Esther (ISABELLE FUHRMAN), a mature, reportedly 9-year-old Russian girl whose last family died in a fire. She soon returns home with them as the new sibling to Daniel (JIMMY BENNETT) -- who isn't crazy about this development -- and his younger sister, Max (ARYANA ENGINEER), who's partially deaf and immediately takes to the new family addition.

Things seem fine at first, but when a school bully ends up injured and fingers are pointed at Esther, Kate becomes a little suspicious, especially after conferring with Sister Abigail about similar, past events. From that point on, and as Esther becomes more diabolical and dangerous in her approach, Kate becomes increasingly despondent and desperate to prove that there's something wrong with their new daughter, a point not shared by John.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're into domestic-based horror/suspense films and/or are fans of anyone in the cast, they might be interested in it.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For disturbing violent content, some sexuality and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • VERA FARMIGA plays a former professor turned recovering alcoholic and stay-at-home mom who's happy with their adoption of Esther until things start to go wrong and then turn sinister. As she sets out to prove that, she must contend with others questioning her sanity and sobriety, most notably John. She uses strong profanity.
  • PETER SARSGAARD plays her husband who doesn't heed Kate's gut feelings, beliefs and later proof about what's transpiring in their house. He uses profanity, drinks an entire bottle of wine in one sitting and briefly smokes.
  • ISABELLE FUHRMAN plays a reportedly 9-year-old Russian orphan who's quite mature for her age, but hides a disturbing and dangerous personality behind her initial facade that convinces the Colemans to adopt her. Once she's entrenched in the home, she sets out on her plan that involves all sorts of diabolical and deadly behavior. She uses strong profanity and sexually comes on to John.
  • JIMMY BENNETT plays Kate and John's oldest child who isn't crazy about the addition to the family and that feeling only worsens once he realizes what sort of person Esther is. He briefly uses profanity and shoots a pigeon with a paint gun, although he feels awful about that afterwards.
  • ARYANA ENGINEER plays his younger and mostly deaf sister who takes an immediate liking to her new big sister, but is then horrified by her sibling's actions.
  • MARGO MARTINDALE plays Kate's psychiatrist who believes her patient is losing ground in her recovery, based on what seem like wild-sounding allegations about her adoptive daughter.
  • CCH POUNDER plays a nun at the orphanage who helps with Esther's adoption, but becomes concerned about the girl once she starts adding things up.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated horror/suspense film. Profanity consists of at least 10 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Sexually related dialogue is present, as are two sexual encounters (husband and wife) and some disturbing material regarding what appears to a young girl sexually coming on to her adoptive father. Meanwhile, some pictures of barely-clad women are seen in a porn magazine (including bare breasts and lots of other skin), and some full-sized, sexually explicit drawings (with nudity) are seen on a wall.

    Violence consists of successful and attempted murders, while others are injured and self-mutilation occurs. Various scenes of that have bloody results, while that material, various moments of potential peril, and various jump scenes may be unsettling, suspenseful or even scary to viewers.

    Drinking occurs or is referenced in several scenes, including one person ending up intoxicated, while another is noted as being a former alcoholic. Brief smoking also occurs, as does other potentially imitative behavior. Bad attitudes are present, as are all sorts of tense family elements regarding past and current developments.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's some of that from lightning at night.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are varying amounts of shaky, handheld camera shots in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Kate occasionally takes prescription medication, but we don't know what it is.
  • Kate tells her shrink that she saw a wine shop on the way home and had an urge to buy some, but didn't.
  • Kate tells John's mother that she (Kate) didn't go to AA, but just quit drinking.
  • John has what appears to be a beer with dinner.
  • Distraught over allegations that she physically abused Esther, Kate goes to the liquor store and buys two bottles of wine. We then see her with a glass in front of her, but she can't drink it and thus pours out that and the rest of the bottle.
  • John and Dr. Browning think that Kate has started drinking again despite her protests that she hasn't. That prompts John to tell Kate that she has one week to go into rehab or he's leaving with the kids.
  • We hear that Max nearly drowned in a pond in the past while Kate was apparently drunk, and that if John hadn't been there, the girl probably would have died.
  • Frazzled by the day's events, John ends up drinking an entire bottle of wine and then appears tipsy from that.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see (what turns out to be a nightmare about having a stillborn child) Kate having labor pains in the hospital, and as she's being wheeled to the delivery room, she reaches down and sees blood on her hand. We then see blood dripping down from the wheelchair leaving a trail on the floor, followed by a view of the doctor with blood on his surgery gown, blood spurting out during the delivery, and then a view of her blood-soaked infant (after the nurse says her baby is dead while still inside her, thus distressing her).
  • We see a large vertical scar on Kate's belly.
  • Esther hits Sister Abigail on the head with a hammer with bloody results. She then repeatedly does the same, with blood on Sister Abigail, the snow around her, Esther, and the hammer she used.
  • We see a urine spot soak the crotch area of Daniel's pajamas when he's frightened.
  • We briefly see a dead and bloody body with the eyes open.
  • Esther's arm is misshapen and bruised after she purposefully crushes it in a vise.
  • Daniel has some blood from his nose after falling from his tree house.
  • SPOILER ALERT: Esther stabs John in the back, and once he's on the floor she repeatedly stabs him in the chest, killing him, with bloody results (including a pool of blood on the floor). Max sees the results of this, as does Kate later, thus causing them great distress.
  • Kate is shot in the arm, and has blood there as well as on her hand.
  • Kate has some bloody cuts on her head after battling Esther.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • SPOILER ALERT: As the story progresses, Ether's behavior becomes increasingly anti-social, manipulative, dangerous and finally deadly as she tries to have John all to herself.
  • Daniel is jealous of Esther upon her arrival in the family.
  • Some kids make fun of Esther and her old-fashioned dress, calling her Little Bo Peep.
  • Daniel shoots a pigeon with a paint gun pellet.
  • About Esther, one of Daniel's friends says that his parents must have gone to lots of "retard" camps to find someone as stupid as her. One kid knocks her down, and when what appears to be her diary is exposed, one girl mockingly asks if that's her Bible and refers to her as a "Jesus freak," while one of Daniel's friends says that Esther is a "total spaz."
  • A cleavage-revealing neighbor obviously comes on to John in a playground, with Esther noticing and watching that.
  • Max lies for Esther about whether the latter pushed a girl out of a playground set or not.
  • Daniel tells Esther she should go back to Transylvania, that maybe their parents should send her back to the "retard camp" from where they got her, and then refuses to apologize, stating, "She's not my f*cking sister."
  • About Kate's love of music, Esther tells her it must be frustrating to have a disinterested son and a daughter who can't hear.
  • We hear that John had an affair in the past.
  • Esther makes Max her unwilling accomplice in her treacherous acts and blackmails and threatens her into not telling anyone.
  • Despite knowing that they were grown from the ashes of Kate's stillborn daughter, Esther picks those roses clean and hands them to Kate as a gift, thus causing her great distress.
  • About her earlier stunt, Esther tells Max that she'll shoot their mommy if the latter tells on her.
  • Esther taunts Kate by reading from and reciting parts of the latter's diary, especially regarding her stillborn daughter.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence," "Blood/Gore" and "Jump Scenes" may be unsettling, suspenseful or scary, especially to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • We see (what turns out to be a nightmare about having a stillborn child) Kate having labor pains in the hospital, and as she's being wheeled to the delivery room, she reaches down and sees blood on her hand. We then see blood dripping down from the wheelchair leaving a trail on the floor, followed by a view of the doctor with blood on his surgery gown, blood spurting out during the delivery, and then a view of her blood-soaked infant (after the nurse says her baby is dead while still inside her, thus distressing her).
  • Daniel fires a paint gun at various military toy figures (holding various weapons), blasting them with the paint pellets. A pigeon then lands in front of him and he blasts it, downing and injuring the bird. He's upset that he hurt it, with Esther and Max showing up and Esther telling him he needs to kill it. When he won't, she takes a large rock and slams it down on the bird, killing it (with bloody results splattering into the snow).
  • Kate accidentally finds what appears to be Esther's diary, and we worry that Esther is going to walk in on her with it.
  • When a girl touches the ribbon around Esther's neck, the latter lets out a bloodcurdling scream.
  • After realizing Esther is watching her in a playground, the female school bully cautiously makes her way through the playground and then up into an elaborate play set where she cautiously looks around. When she gets to the opening above the sliding board, Esther rushes forward and pushes her out, and the girl clips and breaks her ankle on the board before hitting the ground hard.
  • Esther has Max find keys for her, and she then unlocks a safe and retrieves a handgun from that. She then empties the chamber save for one bullet, spins the chamber, and then points the gun directly at Max (we also see her point of view), asking if she wants to play, but Max shakes her head no.
  • Esther and Max wait in hiding along the side of the road for Sister Abigail to pass by. When the latter does and is distracted inside the car, Esther pushes Max out into the road, with Sister Abigail swerving just in time. She gets out to aid the girl when Esther comes up from behind and strikes Sister Abigail on the head with a hammer. She then has Max help her drag the body off the road as another car approaches. We then see that Sister Abigail is alive, but bloody and wounded, and as she tries to crawl back to the road, Esther attacks her again, repeatedly bashing her with the hammer, with very bloody results.
  • Daniel hides in the woods upon seeing Esther and Max, and as he peeks up above a boulder, Esther suddenly looks over in his direction, causing him to duck down again.
  • Esther wakes up Daniel at night in his bed, and holds an X-acto knife to his throat, threatening to kill him regarding what he might have seen. She then holds that near his pajama-covered crotch, telling him she'll cut off his "hairless little pr*ck" before he knows what it's for.
  • Esther repeatedly turns an ultraviolet light on and off, thus showing the hidden images on her painting of a home that's suddenly engulfed in flames with panicked people, and then back to normal, etc.
  • To make Kate's previous grabbing of her arm appear more serious and physically brutal than it was, Esther puts her own arm into a vise, places a towel-wrapped screwdriver into her own mouth to muffle her sounds, and then proceeds to tighten that vise. Her arm starts to swell up and we then see the bone break beneath the skin, later leaving her arm misshapen and bruised.
  • To make Kate look bad while she's helping Daniel at school, Esther puts the family vehicle in neutral, releases the emergency break and then watches the car start to roll backwards. Daniel and Kate see that and she runs after it (as does a man who tries to get inside, but apparently hits himself on a parked vehicle and falls away). Other approaching cars swerve out of the way and the vehicle ultimately plows backwards into a snow bank, scaring but not harming Max who's strapped into her car seat in the backseat.
  • Daniel and Max confide in each other about Esther's actions, unaware that she's listening to them through the door.
  • Daniel goes looking for hidden evidence in his tree house, when Esther shows up behind him, sets fire to what he's looking for, and then shoots lighter fluid around the platform and onto his shoe, catching both on fire. She then locks him inside there and watches in amusement as he climbs out along the side and then up onto the room where he nearly falls through and into the growing fire. He then ends up hanging from a side support beam and falls to the ground hard from that, as the burning tree house falls close by. Esther then picks up a rock to kill him, but Max knocks her aside at the last moment.
  • Esther sneaks into the ICU, removes the badly injured Daniel's pulse monitor and oxygen mask, and then begins to smother him with a pillow, all as Max tries to find her and then their parents to alert them. We then see that Daniel's pulse rate is flat (after Esther reattaches that) and everyone scrambles to cover that situation, including Kate, John and hospital personnel. Daniel appears to be dead, but is revived.
  • We see Esther approaching an intoxicated John with a knife, but it turns out it's just for the snacks that she's prepared.
  • After receiving a call detailing what Esther is really all about, Kate races home to try to save her family from her.
  • John enters Esther's room and notices what her ultraviolet light shows (lots of violent scenes) in the paintings she's done.
  • Trying to use her phone while hurriedly driving home, Kate nearly runs into an approaching snow plow.
  • Armed with a flashlight, John slowly walks through his house, looking for Esther.
  • SPOILER ALERT: Esther stabs John in the back, and once he's on the floor she repeatedly stabs him in the chest, killing him, with bloody results (including a pool of blood on the floor). Max sees the results of this, as does Kate later, thus causing them great distress.
  • Kate slowly walks through the house, armed with a flashlight, and slowly reaches out for a shower curtain that she then yanks back, revealing nothing.
  • Esther slowly hunts for Kate, who's outside on the snowy ledge of the house, hiding.
  • Esther slowly hunts for Max who's hiding inside the home's greenhouse, with Kate up on the glass ceiling, using sign language to tell her to hide. Esther spots the latter and fires at her, and then fires several shots at Max as she flees. Kate then breaks the glass to allow her to fall down on Esther below her, smashing her to the floor.
  • SPOILER ALERT: Armed with a knife, Esther comes at Kate who tries to shoot her, but can't get off a shot as the two struggle and then tumble down a snowy bank, with Kate banging her head on the ice-covered pond. Esther then comes at her again, stabbing at her, with one jab momentarily leaving the knife stuck in the ice, and another slicing Kate's leg. As that struggle continues, Max finds the handgun, aims and fires at Esther, but hits the ice instead. It breaks and Esther and Kate fall into the cold water where more struggling ensues, including Esther stabbing Kate who manages to knock her away and swim to the surface. As she tries to pull herself out, Esther grabs her from below and starts to pull her back into the water, prompting Kate to kick Esther quite hard in the face, possibly breaking her neck in the process, sending her back through the hole and into the water.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Knives: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • Daniel fires a paint gun at various military toy figures (holding various weapons), blasting them with the paint pellets. He also shoots a pigeon with that.
  • Esther has Max find keys for her, and she then unlocks a safe and retrieves a handgun from that. She then empties the chamber save for one bullet, spins the chamber, and then points the gun directly at Max (we also see her point of view), asking if she wants to play, but Max shakes her head no.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "I know, they f*ck," "Pass the f*cking potatoes," "F*cking spend some time with her then," "She's not my f*cking sister," "You're an asshole who wanted to f*ck someone else," "You have no f*cking idea," "What the f*ck?" "I'm not your f*cking mommy," "I will cut your hairless little pr*ck off before you know what it's for," "Snorfin" (snow orphan), what sounded like "You suck," "Retard," "Jesus Freak," "Total spaz," "You're such a freak," "Maybe you should send her back to retard camp," "Turn that crap down" and "You bitch."
  • Some kids may be enticed to imitate various jump scenes and other moments that might startle people.
  • Likewise, they or others might also be enticed to behave the way Esther does toward others.
  • Esther has Max find keys for her, and she then unlocks a safe and retrieves a handgun from that. She then empties the chamber save for one bullet, spins the chamber, and then points the gun directly at Max (we also see her point of view), asking if she wants to play, but Max shakes her head no.
  • Esther repeatedly turns an ultraviolet light on and off, thus showing the hidden images on her painting of a home that's suddenly engulfed in flames with panicked people, and then back to normal, etc.
  • To make Kate's previous grabbing of her arm appear more serious and physically brutal than it was, Esther puts her own arm into a vise, places a towel-wrapped screwdriver into her own mouth to muffle her sounds, and then proceeds to tighten that vise. Her arm starts to swell up and we then see the bone break beneath the skin, later leaving her arm misshapen and bruised.
  • To make Kate look bad while she's helping Daniel at school, Esther puts the family vehicle in neutral, releases the emergency break and then watches the car start to roll backwards.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • While mentally distracted, Kate (with Max in the backseat) starts out from a stoplight and is nearly hit by a large, passing truck.
  • As Kate plays the piano, there's a sudden loud thump from elsewhere in the house (it turns out to be Max with a basketball outside).
  • Kate slides a vanity mirror shut and John is suddenly there in the reflection.
  • Some giggling girls quickly run by the camera shot.
  • With a lightning flash, we suddenly see Esther standing in Max's room by her bed.
  • Some kids pop out into the camera shot during a tense moment.
  • John sees a lump under the covers in Esther's bed and walks up to that, whispering for her to get up. She doesn't, but then suddenly pops up from under the covers.
  • A circuit breaker pops and sparks when John tries to turn on a light.
  • A gunshot suddenly rings out.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of ominous and suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 10 "f" words (2 used sexually), 1 "s" word, 1 slang term using male genitals ("pr*ck"), 1 ass (used with "hole"), 1 crap, 1 damn, 4 uses of "Oh God," 3 of "Oh my God," 2 of "My God" and 1 use each of "Jesus Christ" and "Oh Jesus."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see John shirtless and he seems frisky toward Kate, kissing on her, but she shakes her head no and he retreats to the bedroom, knowing there will be no sex.
  • Daniel and his two male friends go up into the tree house and pull out a porn magazine, looking at the photos of scantly clad women in provocative poses (legs spread, etc.) and we see bare breasts with one, while one friend jokes that an unseen model looks like Daniel's mom.
  • Kate crawls up under the covers from the foot of the bed and apparently performs oral sex on John under the covers (we see and hear his reaction). She then climbs up on top of him and the two passionately kiss, but just then Esther and Max show up in the room, stating they can't sleep due to the lightning. They then crawl in bed with the adults, with Esther snuggling up behind the apparently nude under the covers John.
  • Thinking the kids are asleep, John repeatedly comes on to Kate in the kitchen. She likes that, but keeps telling him not there, but he persists, including getting between her legs after putting her up on a counter, and she eventually removes her top and pants, revealing herself in her bra and panties, while he's shirtless. He then bends her over another counter and proceeds to have rear entry sex with her (the two bump heads when her face isn't on the counter in ecstasy), and there's movement and related sounds but no nudity. But we then see Esther watching them and they immediately stop upon seeing her. Later, Kate tries to do a "mom" explanation of what Esther saw, commenting about parents expressing their love, but Esther bluntly chimes in, "I know, they f*ck."
  • A cleavage-revealing neighbor obviously comes on to John in a playground, with Esther noticing and watching that.
  • About John previously cheating on her, Kate tells him, "You're an asshole who wanted to f*ck someone else."
  • Esther wakes up Daniel at night in his bed, and holds an X-acto knife to his throat, threatening to kill him regarding what he might have seen. She then holds that near his pajama-covered crotch, telling him she'll cut off his "hairless little pr*ck" before he knows what it's for.
  • As Kate puts on her jeans, we briefly see a side, close-up view of her in her panties.
  • We see a partial bare breast view in a breast-feeding promotional poster.
  • Now dressed like an adult (sexy dress, makeup and styled hair), Esther tries coming on to an intoxicated John, snuggling up and repeatedly kissing him on the cheek, and telling him to let her take care of him. He's confused by this (due to his state), but eventually realizes what's happening and hurriedly gets up.
  • We briefly see Esther in her bra.
  • John enters Esther's room and notices what her ultraviolet light shows (lots of violent scenes) in the paintings she's done. He then pulls some of them down to reveal full size, full body sexualized drawings of her and him on the wall, including nudity (her full frontal and his hand at her crotch, etc.).
  • SMOKING
  • John smokes a few times, while it appears as if Sister Abigail is reaching for a cigarette when she's then distracted.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We see (what turns out to be a nightmare about having a stillborn child) Kate having labor pains in the hospital, and as she's being wheeled to the delivery room, she reaches down and sees blood on her hand. We then see blood dripping down from the wheelchair leaving a trail on the floor, followed by a view of the doctor with blood on his surgery gown, blood spurting out during the delivery, and then a view of her blood-soaked infant (after the nurse says her baby is dead while still inside her, thus distressing her).
  • Kate reads/signs a children's story to Max about a sister who went to Heaven.
  • We hear that Esther's last family perished in a house fire.
  • Daniel is jealous of Esther upon her arrival in the family.
  • Daniel tells Esther she should go back to Transylvania, that maybe their parents should send her back to the "retard camp" from where they got her, and then refuses to apologize, stating, "She's not my f*cking sister."
  • Kate's doubts about Esther puts a growing strain on her relationship with John. That leads to talk of him having an affair ten years ago (but not telling Kate until 2 years ago) as well as Kate's past drinking problem.
  • About John previously cheating on her, Kate tells him, "You're an asshole who wanted to f*ck someone else."
  • Esther wakes up Daniel at night in his bed, and holds an X-acto knife to his throat, threatening to kill him regarding what he might have seen. She then holds that near his pajama-covered crotch, telling him she'll cut off his "hairless little pr*ck" before he knows what it's for.
  • Despite knowing that they were grown from the ashes of Kate's stillborn daughter, Esther picks those roses clean and hands them to Kate as a gift, thus causing her great distress.
  • John and Dr. Browning think that Kate has started drinking again despite her protests that she hasn't. That prompts John to tell Kate that she has one week to go into rehab or he's leaving with the kids.
  • About her earlier stunt, Esther tells Max that she'll shoot their mommy if the latter tells on her.
  • We hear that Max nearly drowned in a pond in the past while Kate was apparently drunk, and that if John hadn't been there, the girl probably would have died.
  • Esther taunts Kate by reading from and reciting parts of the latter's diary, especially regarding her stillborn daughter.
  • Esther sneaks into the ICU, removes the badly injured Daniel's pulse monitor and oxygen mask, and then begins to smother him with a pillow, all as Max tries to find her and then their parents to alert them. We then see that Daniel's pulse rate is flat (after Esther reattaches that) and everyone scrambles to cover that situation, including Kate, John and hospital personnel. Daniel appears to be dead, but is revived.
  • Realizing that Esther tried to kill Daniel, Kate slaps her across the face hard enough to knock her to the floor. Hospital personnel then grab and sedate Kate.
  • Now dressed like an adult (sexy dress, makeup and styled hair), Esther tries coming on to an intoxicated John, snuggling up and repeatedly kissing him on the cheek, and telling him to let her take care of him. He's confused by this (due to his state), but eventually realizes what's happening and hurriedly gets up.
  • SPOILER ALERT: Esther stabs John in the back, and once he's on the floor she repeatedly stabs him in the chest, killing him, with bloody results (including a pool of blood on the floor). Max sees the results of this, as does Kate later, thus causing them great distress.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Orphanages and adopting kids, including older ones.
  • Stillbirths.
  • Max being partially deaf.
  • Kate tells John's mother that she (Kate) didn't go to AA, but just quit drinking.
  • About Kate, Esther tells John that it must be hard to love an adopted child as much as one of your own.
  • The concluding revelation regarding Esther's motivation behind her behavior.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see bloody results splatter out into the snow when Esther kills an injured pigeon - previously shot by Daniel with a paint gun pellet -- with a large rock.
  • One kid knocks down Esther in the school hallway.
  • After realizing Esther is watching her in a playground, the female school bully cautiously makes her way through the playground and then up into an elaborate play set where she cautiously looks around. When she gets to the opening above the sliding board, Esther rushes forward and pushes her out, and the girl clips and breaks her ankle on the board before hitting the ground hard.
  • Esther and Max wait in hiding along the side of the road for Sister Abigail to pass by. When the latter does and is distracted inside the car, Esther pushes Max out into the road, with Sister Abigail swerving just in time. She gets out to aid the girl when Esther comes up from behind and strikes Sister Abigail on the head with a hammer. She then has Max help her drag the body off the road as another car approaches. We then see that Sister Abigail is alive, but bloody and wounded, and as she tries to crawl back to the road, Esther attacks her again, repeatedly bashing her with the hammer, with very bloody results.
  • Esther has a tantrum in a bathroom stall, repeatedly pounding and kicking the stall walls and door, etc.
  • To make Kate's previous grabbing of her arm appear more serious and physically brutal than it was, Esther puts her own arm into a vise, places a towel-wrapped screwdriver into her own mouth to muffle her sounds, and then proceeds to tighten that vise. Her arm starts to swell up and we then see the bone break beneath the skin, later leaving her arm misshapen and bruised.
  • Daniel goes looking for hidden evidence in his tree house, when Esther shows up behind him, sets fire to what he's looking for, and then shoots lighter fluid around the platform and onto his shoe, catching both on fire. She then locks him inside there and watches in amusement as he climbs out along the side and then up onto the room where he nearly falls through and into the growing fire. He then ends up hanging from a side support beam and falls to the ground hard from that, as the burning tree house falls close by. Esther then picks up a rock to kill him, but Max knocks her aside at the last moment.
  • Esther sneaks into the ICU, removes the badly injured Daniel's pulse monitor and oxygen mask, and then begins to smother him with a pillow, all as Max tries to find her and then their parents to alert them. We then see that Daniel's pulse rate is flat (after Esther reattaches that) and everyone scrambles to cover that situation, including Kate, John and hospital personnel. Daniel appears to be dead, but is revived.
  • Realizing that Esther tried to kill Daniel, Kate slaps her across the face hard enough to knock her to the floor. Hospital personnel then grab and sedate Kate.
  • Esther trashes her room after John rebukes her romantic advances toward him.
  • SPOILER ALERT: Esther stabs John in the back, and once he's on the floor she repeatedly stabs him in the chest, killing him, with bloody results (including a pool of blood on the floor). Max sees the results of this, as does Kate later, thus causing them great distress.
  • Kate hurriedly drives her car up to the house into which the car slides and crashes.
  • Kate is shot in the arm, and has blood there as well as on her hand.
  • Esther slowly hunts for Max who's hiding inside the home's greenhouse, with Kate up on the glass ceiling, using sign language to tell her to hide. Esther spots the latter and fires at her, and then fires several shots at Max as she flees. Kate then breaks the glass to allow her to fall down on Esther below her, smashing her to the floor.
  • SPOILER ALERT: Armed with a knife, Esther comes at Kate who tries to shoot her, but can't get off a shot as the two struggle and then tumble down a snowy bank, with Kate banging her head on the ice-covered pond. Esther then comes at her again, stabbing at her, with one jab momentarily leaving the knife stuck in the ice, and another slicing Kate's leg. As that struggle continues, Max finds the handgun, aims and fires at Esther, but hits the ice instead. It breaks and Esther and Kate fall into the cold water where more struggling ensues, including Esther stabbing Kate who manages to knock her away and swim to the surface. As she tries to pull herself out, Esther grabs her from below and starts to pull her back into the water, prompting Kate to kick Esther quite hard in the face, possibly breaking her neck in the process, sending her back through the hole and into the water.



  • Reviewed July 20, 2009 / Posted July 24, 2009

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [American Made] [Battle of the Sexes] [Flatliners] [A Question of Faith] [Stronger]

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