Written & Directed by Pascal Laugier
Starring : Virginie Ledoyen, Lou Doillon, and Catriona MacColl
In 1958, in the French Alp, the young servant Anna Jurin arrives in Saint Ange Orphanage to work with Helena while the orphans moved to new families with the administrator Francard. Anna, who is secretly pregnant, meets the last orphan , Judith, left behind because of her mental problems, and they become closer when Anna find that Judith also hear voices and footsteps of children. Anna investigate the place trying to disclose the secret about the invisible children.
I have to admit, this film tricked me into believing it was good during the first act. I was very engaged with Anna; Ledoyen portrayed the mousey girl quite well. First time director, Laugier, is surprisingly apt at capturing many horror/suspense elements, presenting the ominous orphanage with a life all its own. The long tracking shots of the imposing manor, accompanied by the wonderful score are the best elements of this slow burn/no burn horror film. It reminds me of a watered down version of The Others. Ultimately, this film tanks in the second act, giving full warning that it’s going down.
There isn’t much of a payoff, and that sucks because the plot was brimming with opportunities. You’ll spend an hour of this film with your chin resting on your hand, wondering what the hell is going on. The film fancies itself something more complex than it is, and that becomes obvious. The gratuitous nudity does nothing to serve the film; it’s even confusing at times. The cast is talented, the film looks and sounds amazing; unfortunately, the lack of substance wrecks this potentially gripping 1950’s horror yarn. Pass on this.