After 13 long years, there is finally another addition to the Orphan cinematic universe.
Set just months before the events of the original film, Orphan: First Kill offers some of Leena’s backstory and explaining how she became Esther. In many ways, the film is set up with the same basic premise as the original as Esther is adopted by an incredibly wealthy family as their long-lost daughter. As she lives a life of lavishness and extravagance, Esther does her best to fit in by stepping into the life of the real Esther. Determined to keep up the façade of her new life, she must get rid of anyone who stands in her way.
Directed by William Brent Bell, Orphan: First Kill is a solid long-awaited prequel to the Orphan franchise. Taking pages from the original film, First Kill starts off with a false sense of familiarity as Esther tries to blend in and manipulate a seemingly clueless family. Even so, although it offers fans the same creepy horror vibes that made the original a success, the film still manages to surprise by going in a very different direction than its predecessor that makes it unique.
Whereas the first film used the mother’s perspective, First Kill instead uses Esther’s point of view to tell its story. Beginning from her time in a psychiatric facility, the film even reveals moments that would have been private to Esther in the last entry. One example of this comes as Esther messes up on information that the real Esther would’ve known. After the critical error, she goes to the washroom and punching a wall in anger. First Kill‘s shift in perspective provides context for the later film by showing the initial challenge of stepping into the role. These moments are often hilarious but also carry a terrifying edge. What’s more, by using Esther as the primary point of view, the film completely twists the dynamics of the franchise. (In fact, doing so almost even makes her the film’s hero.)
Overall, Orphan: First Kill is a great entry to a franchise that was long overdue for an expansion. Offering fans all of the great vibes from the original, First Kill still manages to shock and intrigue the viewer with some surprises that suggest that the franchise may not be dead after all.
Orphan: First Kill is available on PVOD on Friday, August 19th, 2022.