Spoiler Points for The Orphanage (2007)

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Spoiler Points for The Orphanage (2008) [R] 100 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $13.75
DVD Release Date: 22 April 2008 (click date to purchase or pre-order)
Film's Official WebsiteFilm's Trailer
Click to read the non-spoiler review
Click to see photos from the Premiere of The Orphanage

Spoiler Points:
• Laura (Belén Rueda), Carlos (Fernando Cayo), and their adopted, HIV+ son named Simón (Roger Príncep), purchase and move into an enormous mansion-style home that used to be the orphanage where Laura resided as a child until she was adopted.
• Laura and Carlos plan to adopt five or six more children and create a wonderful family just as Laura remembers from her childhood.
• Simón, who has a history of imaginary friends, meets someone new named Tomás in a
• The encounter seems so real to Laura she begins to wonder about Simón's imaginary friends. He draws pictures that are so imaginative as to be cause for concern. Simón claims that Tomás is real.
• The residence is paid a visit by a woman claiming to be a social worker named Benigna (Montserrat Carulla). The mysterious elder woman with thick glasses has Simón's case file and claims she want to check up on him, possibly to mention a new course of treatment for his disease. Her demeanor and nervous habits present Laura with cause for alarm, and she shoos the woman away. She keeps the case file, and locks it in a drawer in the kitchen.
• That evening, she hears noises in the yard and goes to investigate. She finds Benigna grasping a shovel, but the woman runs off into the woods. An all out search of the grounds yields no clues.
• Meanwhile, Simón delves deeper into his fantasy friends. He invites Laura to play a game with him set up by Tomás. It is similar to a treasure hunt with objects hidden that lead to locations of new objects. If he finds his special coins at the end, the children have promised him a wish. Laura plays along, but she cannot imagine how he could have executed this chain of clues without help. The final clue leads them to the kitchen drawer where she has locked in Simón's case file. He opens the drawer before she can stop him and the case file spills out. She's furious as she doesn't want him to learn that he is adopted nor that he has HIV. He's not paying attention to the file, only the treasure inside the drawer, but she still screams at him. He unleashes his wrath back claiming that Tomás told him she's not his real mother.
• A few days later, at the welcoming party for the new children, Simón refuses to come down and join the party. Laura is so angered, she slaps him and tells him he doesn't have to come down. All he wants is for her to come see Tomás' little house he's found. His tantrum does not please her, and she leaves him.
• Later, she sees Tomás down the hall wearing a strange, sack-like mask with an eye-hole cut and a button sewn on where the other eye would be. He frightens her and she runs down the hall to escape. He shuts her hand in the bathroom door, and once inside, he locks her in. Bleeding from the hand, eventually Carlos frees her by prying the door open. She explains what happened, but no one has seen a kid in the mask she describes.
• It then becomes apparent that Simón is missing. They start to look for him everywhere. She hears some rumbling under the stairs and opens the little closet. Some heavy metal poles fall out, and there's no sign of him inside, so she packs them back in and shuts it. She runs as far as the lighthouse and the caves nearby; but, eventually, Carlos has to drag her home. Simón is nowhere to be found.
• The police are brought in including a psychologist, Pilar (Mabel Rivera), to help with the case. They can find no social worker named Benigna fitting the description given by Laura. Laura seems certain that Benigna had something to do with all of this.
• Time goes by and the search continues with missing person posters all over the country. Laura hears things, noises in the walls, etc. but Carlos sees and hears nothing.
• One day, while driving in town, Laura sees Benigna. She leaps from the car to catch her on the street. Just as she calls her name, Benigna looks back to see who's calling her and gets hit by a speeding truck and killed, her lower jaw gruesomely ripped from her face. The gruesome incident allows for the police to delve into the past at the orphanage and discover that Benigna used to be an employee. She was a young woman with a physically disfigured son named Tomás who was hidden away from the other children. Apparently, after Laura was adopted, the other children discovered Tomás and he died playing a game with them. The police presented Laura with films of the orphanage and photos of Benigna and Tomás.
• Laura and Carlos go to support group grief counseling where other parents assure her that they've seen ghosts of their dead children. She exclaims her son is not dead.
• But through the process, they meet a person who they feel can help them find out if there are ghosts in their home. They bring in a medium named Aurora (Geraldine Chaplin) and her team to conduct a scientific experiment on their home. In a trance, she encounters all of the children's spirits in their group bedroom. They children claim they are being poisoned.
• Carlos shuts down the whole operation claiming it to be a hoax, but Laura disagrees. Over Carlos's objections she asks what to do, and she says that Laura must trust herself.
• Laura asks the children for their help, calling to her, and asking them to help her find her son. The window in their old bedroom crashes down suddenly and shatters. She leaps up and opens the window box. Under some slats she finds dolls made to look like each child and a clue. She realizes this is similar to the game she played with Simón. She starts following the clues that end with a strange door knob and eventually she ends up in the shed in the yard, the one where she found Benigna with the shovel. She searches and searches and finds brick ovens filled with sacks of the ashes of the incinerated children. There is no sign that Simón is one of them. The police come in and investigate all the findings, and now Carlos wants to move out.
• Laura, however, refuses to give up. She wants two days to get to the bottom of this. She must find out what has happened to her son.
• He drives off angrily.
• She sets up the kitchen with the dolls and serves them fresh blackberries which she remembers being a favorite from their childhood. She remakes the beds and gets everything ready for them. But they are nowhere to be found. She gets angry and begs them to help her.
• She gets the idea to play the game she played when they were kids where you knock on wood three times with your back turned to the kids, and then you turn and look. Kids can only creep toward you when you are counting and back turned. When you look they must freeze. She tries this a few times, and then, suddenly, there they all are coming up to her. They scatter, and she searches for them. She ends up looking in the little closet under the stairs. She moves the poles and notices a door camouflaged by wall paper and a hole where a knob used to be. She pulls the strange know from her pocket and inserts it into the hole. The door opens and reveals a set of stairs down. She bravely goes down the stairs and discovers the room to be the place where Tomás must have lived. There are drawings and pictures on the walls. Then she realizes this must have been the little house that Simón was talking about the day he disappeared. She looks around and finds his broken and decaying body on the floor. Either he fell off the stairs to his death long ago or died in the room of starvation and dehydration. Could it be the noises she heard, the banging on the walls, could have been him all along trying to get help.
• She picks up the body and hugs him to her. She's so terribly sad. She carries him up to the children's bedroom and holds him to her chest tightly. She takes an overdose of pills and dies there sitting on the window box with Simón's body in her arms. As she fades into death, the ghosts of the children fill in their beds and then they get up to come over to her to ease her grief and welcome her to her new realm.
• Carlos arrives after two days as promised to find her dead with Simón's body in her arms. At the very end, he finds the St. Christopher medal he loaned her to keep her safe.

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