First-time feature director J.A. Bayona has learned that loud noises and (pace the Coens) unexpected car accidents will make an audience jump. But testing viewers’ reflexes is not the same as creeping them out, and once the well-deployed shocks wear off, it’s hard to ignore that The Orphanage never coheres even on its own fantastical terms. A sequence involving Geraldine Chaplin as a medium is gorgeously suggestive, but mostly, this is an overproduced Twilight Zone episode—and it might have been more satisfying had Del Toro conjured the ghost of Rod Serling and closed the movie with a monologue.
Cast and crew