Audrey (Diane Foster) and her brother Marcus (David Backhaus) are orphaned as children after their parents were killed during a robbery. In the orphanage, Marcus kills a young boy which prompts the nuns to start treating him like a monster and force him to wear a horrifying mask. Soon, Audrey is adopted while Marcus is left to languish in the orphanage. Years later, Audrey is now working at the orphanage. But Marcus is still hiding in the orphanage. And he's determined to teach Audrey a little something about family...
First off, any film claiming it "defies classification" and "goes far beyond current trends in gore and breaks open a new suffering genre of horror" is full of shit. THE ORPHAN KILLER delivers the same stuff we've seen a thousand times before, but it does so with such aplomb that it's hard not to enjoy it. The film borrows a page from HALLOWEEN as it pits two siblings against each other in a bloody fight to the finish – and substantially ups the blood and body count. Then, swiping a page from films like HOSTEL and SAW, THE ORPHAN KILLER veers into "torture porn" territory as Audrey is strung up and tortured while Marcus babbles on about making her suffer. Like I said, we've seen this all before, though often done with less-deft hands.
The murders are deliciously brutal, delivering the goods as any slasher worth its weight should. Strangulation with barbed wire, hacked-off limbs and crushed heads are just a few of the murders on display. And kudos goes to the whole special effects team for utilizing moist and meaty practical effects.
Of course though, there's always a downside. While most of the effects are top notch, whoever decided to use CGI gunshots should be shot. Not only does it ALWAYS look terrible but it can bring down the integrity of a good production. And the Muscle- Head-Douche-Bag-Bro-Metal soundtrack provided by Bullet Tooth should have been jettisoned. Not only is it rubbish AND destroys any chance of suspense and atmosphere, but it's the kind of soundtrack that belongs in a lesser movie in an attempt to make it seem much better and much cooler.
Also, this may have just been my copy, but the Blu-ray disc is glitchy: quite often, the disc would spaz out and skip a couple seconds of film. I watched about ten minutes of it before switching to the DVD and encountering no problems.
Overall though, THE ORPHAN KILLER is a winner. No masterpiece, and the chances of it becoming an iconic franchise (which is so obviously aspires to) are little more than pipe dreams, but it'll deliver the goods and keep you entertained for a little while.
THE ORPHAN KILLER is available in a DVD/Blu-ray combo pack from Reel Gore Releasing. Special features include a trailer, a music video clip, a featurette, and more. – Evan Romero
Evan Romero is a regular contributor to the pages of ER (including our mammoth 30th anniversary issue available from our website) and spends much of his time reading morally questionable books and watching movies no sane person would touch. He is the vocalist/bassist for the punk band Porno Holocaust (you can find them on Facebook and listen to some demos if you’re inclined). His short story “Touch” was recently published in REJECTED FOR CONTENT 5: SANITARIUM. You can read more of his reviews at ReelAtrocities.com or at PopHorror.com. He last wrote about MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE.
THE ORPHAN KILLER is available from Amazon and Diabolik DVD.