A certain someone recommended I watch Orphan: First Kill on account of seeing how ridiculous the twist was. As someone familiar with the first Orphan film, I went into this cautiously optimistic for some asinine reason.
It started off threadbare. It quickly evolved into a bewildering kaleidoscope of What’s, How’s and Why’s.
The first problem that almost immediately trumps the entire production is that it’s directed by William Brent Bell, the same director behind the The Devil Inside. He’s someone who doesn’t exactly like to make his films visually arresting or have them pop off the screen with anything interesting. Compared to The Boy or his other films, it’s tricky to tell exactly what the end goal is here because he’s got a lot more to work with here and yet INSISTS on keeping his structural blueprint as safe and threadbare as possible.
I can, at least, say with confidence that the overall cast did a good job. At least they understood the assignment they were given and rolled with it, Isabella Furhmann and Julia Stiles specifically.
Production design is serviceable at best and hollow at worst with only fair-to-middling cinematography and editing to mask the drab smoky and murky visual aesthetic of everything, despite it not sitting well with me. Its musical score, I will admit was tense and atmospheric in a few instances, the de-aging technology they used worked well on Isabella and didn't break the illusion for me, pacing keeps everything moving swiftly and with little delay and the structure of the film itself didn’t present anything problematic from a basic three act structure standpoint at first.
The odd thing about the story here is that, contrast to the first film, it’s somehow both the best and worst part of the movie. It lulls you into thinking that's it going to be a retread of the original just with a different starting point and with the mom seeming suspicious of Esther while the father loves her and doesn't suspect a thing, it feels dangerous close to repeating those beats especially with the fermented cliches.
And then the twist happens.
On one hand, it is absolutely ridiculous, switches gears for what to expect for later and it had me contemplate laughing for the longest time but then I’m reminded of two important details that suck the fun out of it. One: the twist is executed similarly to We Summon The Darkness where the entire film turns its head on this one twist and then proceeds to do nothing with it for the rest of the time; you’re not supposed to make a movie where the setup is more engaging than the rest of the film. And this leads to my second point: IT’S A PREQUEL. What the hell is the point of going out of your way to make a twist this out there and ridiculous to garner SYMPATHY for Esther especially when we know she’s going to make it until the next movie? Not to mention the twist itself doesn’t exactly change anything in the long run anyways so why is it even really there other than to spark a reaction?
Hell, the dialogues off, the kill scenes came off a bit uneven with a heavy reliance on sound effects over special effects and plot holes and inconsistencies are aplenty.
Didn’t know what I was expecting but it definitely wasn’t this.