“Orphan: First Kill” Leaves Viewers Feeling Unfulfilled



Director William Bell’s “Orphan: First Kill” is available to stream on Paramount+.

13 years after the original movie was released, “Orphan: First Kill” explained Esther’s complicated origin. Set in 2007, the movie follows 31 year old Leena Klammer’s attempts to terrorize another family.

Leena suffers from a condition called hypopituitarism, which causes her to have the physical appearance of a young girl. Throughout the duology, Leena uses her appearance to take advantage of and terrorize those around her. As said best by Paramount+ on Twitter, “There’s always been something wrong with Esther.”

The film opens with Leena, played by Isabelle Furhman, incarcerated in an Estonian psychiatric hospital. After seducing then killing a guard at the hospital, Leena manages to escape. After Leena found freedom from the hospital, she researched missing American girls. Here she finds Esther Albright, a young girl who went missing in 2003. Leena catches the attention of local police, and the facade begins.

Leena, now pretending to be Esther, is brought to America to live with Esther’s family. Throughout the film, Leena tries to keep up the disguise, but Esther’s mother Tricia seems doubtful. Between Leena’s fixation on Esther’s father, Allen, to Tricia’s jealousy over Leena, “Orphan: First Kill” was a moderately entertaining film.

A major fault of the film was the rushing of the beginning. Within a matter of minutes, Leena went from being a dangerous patient at a psychiatric hospital, to following and killing her art therapist, to being found by law enforcement and returned to her “home” in America.

A significant plot hole in the movie is shown in Leena’s transition from a psychiatric patient to an innocent child. Why did the local police not question this apparent missing girl when they, in theory, should have known about Leena’s escape from the hospital? Wouldn’t “Esther’s” reappearance seem a bit off when someone who matches her description exactly has escaped from a psychiatric hospital that same night?

Aside from a few kills in the beginning of the film, the murders in the movie are very predictable. The acting is uninspired, particularly in the case of Esther’s older brother, Gunnar. Played by Matthew Finlan, Gunnar does not entice the audience in any way. Kristen Stewart put on a better show in “Twilight” than Gunnar did in “Orphan: First Kill”.

“Orphan: First Kill” is entertaining, but it does not capture the attention of viewers in the same way the first film did. The movie does answer some questions left unanswered by the first movie, but the biggest twists didn’t have anything to do with Leena herself.

While the movie wasn’t bad, it wasn’t a necessary addition to the storyline. The film delves more into the troubles of Esther’s real family than Leena’s backstory. A more worthy prequel would showcase how Leena came to be the killing-machine she is.