When the children's home where she grew up goes up for sale, Laura (Rueda) buys the old seaside manse with her husband, Carlos (Cayo), with the intent of turning it into a home for special-needs kids. But almost as soon as they move in, their young son Simon (Princep) begins to act out, speaking eerily of imaginary friends. One day, he vanishes into thin air, and Laura, distraught and convinced she hears her child crying, seeks the help of a medium, Aurora (Chaplin), to find him.
Produced by Guillermo del Toro ("Pan's Labyrinth"), Spanish director Bayona's maiden feature is a chilling and often shocking horror tale about a woman who uncovers dark secrets about her own past in the spooky manor where she spent her youth. Bayona handles the jumps and starts like an old hand, drawing us toward the truth with one heart-arresting set piece after another. Did someone abduct Simon? Has he been murdered? And who's the creepy kid in the sackcloth mask? Visit "The Orphanage" for smart thrills, fine acting, and a grave finish that could leave you close to tears.