Studio: Reel Gore Releasing
Theatrical Release: October 2, 2011 (Shriekfest Horror Film Festival)
Blu Ray Release: October 13, 2016
Director: Matt Farnsworth
Review by Vidal Granandos
The Orphan Killer is a slasher film done right. Though there are horror tropes you have seen plenty of times before, the way director Matt Farnsworth combines all of them while adding details to the killer’s motive make the clichés refreshing.
The Orphan Killer begins with Aubrey (Diane Foster) being dropped off by her cop husband (director Matt Farnsworth) at a Catholic school. She is the dance choreographer for some of the girl students dance team which has a talent show taking place later that evening. The church itself is presentable, but other parts of the school are rundown. So rundown it should be a building violation. Somewhere in the ruins lurks a returning Marcus Miller (David Backhaus), the Orphan Killer. He’s Aubrey’s psychotic older brother. And he wants to teach his sister the meaning of loyalty.
While Marcus is setting up traps around the school, we learn through a series of flashbacks that Marcus and Aubrey’s parents were murdered when they were very young. The children were then taken to an orphanage where Marcus becomes a troubled child. He smashes a kid’s head into a bloody pulp just for tickling his sister. From there things only gets worse as the nuns violently punish him, secluding him from others. To top it off, the nuns force him to wear a hideous mask. Marcus is an outcast. The police officer whose investigating their parents’ murder only adopts Aubrey. The detective even witnesses how the nuns treat Marcus before adopting Aubrey and doesn’t do anything to stop the abuse. What a shitty cop! He sees a crime taking place and doesn’t do anything about it. Before leaving to her new home the innocent Aubrey promises she’ll never forget about Marcus. Heartbroken, the young Marcus swears revenge against his sister. That’s some hardcore shit for a child.
The Orphan Killer is Michael Myers mixed in with some religion. The Orphan Killer has a motive even if it’s not always clear. Marcus wants to torture his sister for “abandoning” him years ago. Yet sometimes his brotherly love stops him from doing harm to her. He loves his sister too much as he eventually ties her up in barbwire, ripping off most of her clothes. So you’re not entire sure if he wants to have sex with Aubrey or just kill her. Marcus also prays a lot throughout the film when he’s alone. Through all the years of abuse he learned to beg God for forgiveness so he still feels sympathy and fears God.
I enjoyed Marcus Miller, the Orphan Killer as a character. You understand why he became the monster he is. Witnessing tragedy and being abused at such an early age would have traumatic effects on anyone. That kind of development makes for a perfect psycho. He’s intelligent when he speaks and absolutely brutal when committing his murders. He’s strategic while setting up traps, yet he throws tantrums like a child when things don’t go according to plan. David Backhaus’s deep voice adds a chilling layer while speaking his poetic dialogue. Diane Foster does a great job as protagonist Aubrey. She is kind, caring, sexy and tough as hell. Foster does a great job conveying the emotions going from vulnerable to determine to stay alive. She wrestles with the same past that haunts her brother so she sympathizes with him. However, the brother she used to care for is no more and she must do what is necessary to survive.
The picture quality is quite good. However, in the beginning the camera filter changes a few times. It can be a little distracting as you may be unsure if you are watching the same movie, as this is the only time these changes happen. Luckily by the second half of the movie, the picture quality stays on one setting making for a more enjoyable viewing for the rest of the movie.
The makeup and props for the movie is very well done. There are life-like dummies used when someone becomes a helpless victim, resulting in some grotesque mayhem. Each death is brutal and the visuals of each death engulf audiences into believing these murders are taking place. The sound quality is fantastic. The sound of bones cracking, blood splatting and painful groans really add to the atmosphere of the movie. For example there’s a scene where Aubrey is trying to free herself after being tied up in barbwire. As she cries in agony, you see barbwire tear her skin making blood-splattering noises. The longer it takes Aubrey to set herself free and her painful screams continues, the viewer becomes uneasy and start to believe she’s really in pain. The Orphan Killer brought intense, restless emotions several times and the sound quality had a big part in that.
- Head Against The Wall (Music Video)
- Behind the Murder
The Orphan Killer was very enjoyable. Aubrey is a woman who has moved on from her past and is trying to live a normal life. Unfortunately her past has come to kill her. The motives of Marcus aren’t always clear but you understand why he is the way he is. He was “betrayed” by the only family he had. Now he’s going to get his revenge. Everyone else is just in his way. The beginning can get a little confusing, but once you learn the back story it all make sense making for a good film for anyone who enjoys slasher films to watch.