Horror prequels are hardly a new phenomenon, but Orphan: First Kill definitely stands out among the pack for one notable reason. The entire concept of Jaume Collet-Serra’s 2009 original was predicated on 12 year-old star Isabelle Fuhrman as Esther, a troubled young child adopted by a married couple mourning the loss of their unborn baby.
After adapting to her new life, Esther soon starts displaying some sociopathic and outright homicidal tendencies that put her family in life-threatening danger, before a major third act twist changes the entire way you look at the movie. In Orphan, Fuhrman was asked to pass as a 9 year-old, so it was a surprise to discover that the now 24 year-old was returning a decade later for another outing set before the events of the original.
Utilizing some good old fashioned makeup effects and camera trickery to create the illusion of forced perspective, Orphan: First Kill‘s first major task is to convince audiences that they can buy into an adult masquerading as someone who hasn’t reached double figures in age yet, but anyone with a knowledge of the first film will be aware that it could actually add another meta layer to the proceedings.
The other important remit for First Kill is to deliver a solid horror movie capable of scaring people out of their seats, and based on comments made by director William Brent Bell, it certainly sounds as though he’s accomplishing that goal.
“The movie has a very childlike quality in some ways, but it’s also extremely violent at other times. Because she’s a violent psychopath. The movie is turning out just awesome. Esther is this very romantic person who so much wants love and then when she doesn’t get it, a different side of her comes out. And it’s brutal. So the movie really plays both of those sides really well. So it has a really big heart for her, but it also has a real super dark side.”
Orphan: First Kill tracks Esther as she escapes from an Estonian institution before murdering her way to America, and it’ll be interesting to see if the prequel delivers now that everyone knows the main character’s big secret right from the off.