Unnecessary Orphanage Remake Finally Lands New Director
by Ethan Anderton
January 4, 2010
Now that it's 2010, we're going to have to reach way back into November of 2009 to recall when ex-director Larry Fessenden said he was no longer involved in the remake of the Spanish language film El Orfanato (aka The Orphanage). After some unresolved disagreements (presumably with the studio) over casting, the project was left without a director to helm the script which was also written by Larry Fessenden & Guillermo Del Toro (who served as creative supervisor on the original 2007 film). Now Variety reports that director Mark Pellington (whose previous credits include The Mothman Prophecies) will step up to direct.
If you haven't seen the original Juan Antonio Bayona film, it follows a woman who takes over the orphanage where she was raised to open a home for disabled children. However, she's unnerved when her son begins to play with the same imaginary friend who terrorized also her when she was a child. Pellington has previously proven his decent grasp on suspense and thrills in his direction of Arlington Road but it's The Mothman Prophecies that let him shine in its creepy mystery which, although it contained ominous supernatural elements, the film remained quite grounded. And that's exactly what needs to be done with the remake. Although El Orfanato is definitely supernatural, the spooks aren't cheap like much of the recent horror fare.
More recently Pellington has stepped away from that arena to direct two projects on completely different ends of the spectrum: the quirky indie dramedy Henry Poole Is Here that starred Luke Wilson, and the big IMAX concert flick U2 3D. After stepping away from suspenseful thrillers, I still hope that Pellington has the touch of hair-raising suspense and can actually make this unnecessary remake feel fresh. How will he do?