Here’s an irrefutable horror film fact: ghosts are scary, but ghost kids are a whole new and different level of terror. Case in point: Samara from The Ring, the Grady Twins in The Shining, and Tomas, the paranormal half-pint at the haunted heart of the Spanish supernatural creepshow The Orphanage. It’s not enough that Tomas can only be seen by little Simon (Roger Princep), or that he knows terrible secrets, like when Simon is going to die. No, Tomas ups the ante by appearing with a sack mask over his head, and the reason for that mask, as well as what happened to Tomas because of it, are just two of the many jolts awaiting visitors to The Orphanage.
The feature directorial debut of J.A. Bayona (Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom), the film carries the influence of its co-producer, Guillermo del Toro, whose appreciation for Gothic supernatural horror (see Crimson Peak) can be felt in the film’s fairy tale-like structure and mixture of innocence and dread. Del Toro has planned an American remake of the film for years, but the project has yet to take root.