The Reel Review


Isabelle Fuhrman reprises her role as Esther the psychopath in this prequel to the popular 2009 horror/thriller Orphan. In this origin story, the  child-impersonating adult serial killer escapes from her Estonian orphanage and flees to America, where she assumes the identity of a wealthy family’s missing daughter.

Isabelle Fuhrman in Orphan: First Kill

Nevermind that Fuhrman, now 25, doesn’t really look like the nine-year-old looking adult she so cleverly portrayed in the original movie 13 years ago. Some clever camerawork, child body doubles and digital facial enhancement all help a create an illusion that, combined with Fuhrman’s entertainingly all-in performance, is convincing enough. An equally all-in Julia Stiles stars as Esther’s would-be new mommy, with Rossif Sutherland (son of Donald) and Matthew Finlan rounding out the rest of Esther’s unfortunate new family.

Julia Stiles and Isabelle Fuhrman in Orphan: First Kill

While Orphan: First Kill is nowhere near as chillingly effective as the original – we know going in that Esther has to survive, after all – screenwriter David Coggeshall (Prey, The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia) cleverly flips the script with a fun and unexpected, albeit totally bonkers twist that totally makes this film worth seeing. If only director William Brent Bell (The Boy, Brahms: The Boy II) had gone as all-in as well. Still, the end result is a fun, campy, more ridiculous horror/thriller that wisely never takes itself too seriously.


Matthew Finlan. Julia Stiles, Rossef Sutherland and Isabelle Fuhrman on the set of Orphan: First Kill.

• To make her look like a child in the film, filmmakers digitally de-aged Isabelle Fuhrman’s face and had co-stars wear platform shoes in their scenes with her to make her look shorter.

• Julia Stiles stars in actress/director Heather Graham’s upcoming drama Chosen Family.

Isabelle Fuhrman, Alexander Ludwig, Jack Quaid and Leven Rambin in 2012’s Hunger Games.

• Isabelle Fuhrman, who also appeared in 2012’s Hunger Games as one of the game participants, will star with Don Johnson in the upcoming cat-and-mouse thriller, Unit 234.


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