Prequels are usually a route taken by horror franchises when the creative well has run dry, so it’s unusual enough for surprise second installment Orphan: First Kill to head straight into the backstory, over a decade after the first film arrived and shocked audiences with its surprise third act twist.
What makes it even more unusual, if not downright unique, though, is that star Isabelle Fuhrman is returning as tiny murderess Esther. The logistics of the situation could give you a headache should you think about it long enough; Orphan saw the 12 year-old actress passing as a 10 year-old, who was actually 33 but masquerading as a child in order to get adopted and then indulge in a spot of parricide.
First Kill has Fuhrman returning as Esther, except at an even earlier stage of her life, so we’ve got a 24 year-old playing a 33 year-old who’s supposed to look like an 10 year-old when the story begins. With that in mind, you can understand why the actress revealed in a new interview that the machinations behind her comeback could see William Brent Bell’s upcoming chiller go down in cinematic history.
“It’s definitely not what I think most people will expect, which I think is really exciting and what really drew me to even coming back to play that role. And also, what I think is most exciting about it is it’s something that’s never been done cinematically. There’s never been an adult actress who reprised a role she played as child. And that was exceptionally difficult and really fun to do, because when I was a kid and I played Esther, I was constantly playing a 33-year-old hiding herself as a kid while I was also 10, and this time, it was like, ‘Here’s a little weight off my shoulders’, since I just have to pretend I’m 10, because I’m already an adult.”
A combination of forced perspective, practical makeup and digital effects will be used to try and convince viewers that we’re not watching a modern variation of Gary Oldman in Tiptoes, but all of the camera trickery in the world isn’t worth a damn if the finished product isn’t up to scratch. Co-star Julia Stiles admitted she has no interest in the horror genre whatsoever but was convinced to sign on to Orphan: First Kill by the strength of the script, so let’s hope that anyone to see the movie whenever it arrives is fully in agreement about its quality.