Orfanato, El (Orphanage, The)

Featured In Issue 132, June 2008

WSR Score3
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
New Line Home Entertainment
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Some distrubing content
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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J.A. Bayona
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DTS HD Lossless 7.1
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Laura (Rueda) decides to purchase The Orphanage where she was raised as a child, with hopes of reopening the now-abandoned facility as a home for disabled children. Along with her husband Carlos (Cayo) and young son Simon (Príncep), the family moves into the dilapidated old building. Soon after Simon begins to display bizarre behavior, leading his Mom to relive terrifying repressed memories, which will jeopardize the opening of the facility as well as the family's sanity. (Stacey Pendry)

Special features include the following featurettes: When Laura Grew Up: Constructing The Orphanage (17-1/2 minutes), the five-part Tomás' Secret Room: The Filmmakers (ten minutes), Horror In The Unknown: Make-Up Effects (nine minutes), and Rehearsal Studio: Cast Auditions And Table Read (four minutes); six still galleries: The Cast, Make-Up Effects, Set Design And Locations, Black And White Photography, Production, and Conceptual Art; the Spanish theatrical teaser; the Spanish theatrical trailer; the U.S. theatrical teaser; the U.S. theatrical trailer; and posters.

The anamorphically enhanced 2.33:1 DVD exhibits nicely balanced contrast, but black levels are somewhat elevated, giving the image a haze that causes it to look flat and dimensionless. Shadow delineation is quite good, however, with details in the darkest portions of the screen easy to see. Resolution is also quite good, with fine details resolved nicely. Color fidelity is nicely rendered, and fleshtones look natural. Edge enhancement is not distracting. Compression artifacts are obvious from time to time, but generally the image looks very clean. The VC-1-encoded Blu-ray Disc features well-balanced contrast and vibrant colors, with solid black levels and pristine resolution. (Danny Richelieu)

The Spanish Dolby® Digital Surround EX™ 5.1-channel and DTS® ES™ 6.1-channel encodings feature a fantastic mix, with impressive phantom imaging around the room from start to finish. Fidelity is quite impressive in both versions, although the DTS encoding steps it up a notch, especially noticeable in the dialogue clarity. Pans across each loudspeaker pair are very well crafted, sounding full and complete. Dynamic range is also impressive. The mix creates a soundfield that seems to extend well beyond the physical limitations of the room. In addition to the increased fidelity of the DTS encoding, dynamic range seems to be improved slightly, and the discrete center surround channel helps create a more impressive soundscape. The Blu-ray Disc's DTS-HD Master Audio™ 7.1-channel soundtrack is fantastic, with an incredible sound design that really brings life to the listening space. Deep bass is tight and controlled, helping cement a sense of suspense. Dynamic range is fantastic as well. This is a standout release. (Danny Richelieu)