A family moves in to a house that used to be an orphanage back in the 19th century. This orphanage was owned by a very rich couple who both were highly respected in the area, but what people don't know doesn't hurt them. The couple sold the children to be workers, used for sexual purposes, and some were even killed. In 2005, when this family moves in, strange things start to happen as the teenage girl of the family and her friend stumbles upon a locked door in the basement.
"House Of Orphans" is a Swedish movie in English, much like "Insane" also from this year. However this one is a supernatural flick and that brought my thoughts to one of my personal Swedish favorite movies, "Besökarna" (just because it's the only supernatural film from Sweden I like). "House Of Orphans" uses most clichées you'd expect in a low budget ghost film, but atleast here you get a sense that some of them are done on purpose. But even though this film feels self-aware, it doesn't really hold a candle to "Besökarna" (or "Insane").
What surprised me about this film is that the worst part isn't the storytelling. They actually managed to make an interesting enough story even though there are some holes in it. The film focuses on a teenage girl, who's family (mom and stepfather) just moved in to an old orphanage house, where children were used and abused over hundred years back. The teenage girl, Amanda, and her friend Denise, takes a tour through the new house and stumbles upon the basement where they find a locked door. Obviously, strange shit start to happen once they get it open. Almost the entire movie takes place a day or two after, when her mom and stepfather are driving around the town, and the girls are home alone. It's not too complicated and alot of the things are expected, but we have a few twists here and there to keep us entertained. Surprisingly they managed to get alot of people killed even though the film wouldn't necessary need that many. But they bring people in through old stories being told about the house, and because of a treasure down in the basement. This part didn't bother me, and honestly, anything to give more kills in a film like this is to me a good thing.
The bigger problems in this film lies in acting, effects, dialogue and such. The actors are decent, seriously, but the English really brings the entire movie down. For some movies it works ("Evil Ed" is the best example for Swedish movies in English), but here it just drags down alot of things that wouldn't be too bad if they were done in Swedish. Some actors here aren't good enough at the language to make it a good decision. But the acting itself wasn't too horrible.
There is gore in the movie, and the gore effects aren't bad, we have some pretty cool uses of simple effects. My personal favorite scene is in the old story about the orphanage, where the man of the house chops off a child's head with an axe. This scene could've been really disturbing if the movie was made in Swedish (that would make it easier to take seriously). The effects that did bother me were mostly after-effects such as glowing eyes, explosions, and pretty much every other effect that was made through the editing software they used. Weird thing is, most of these weren't really needed at all.
Anyway, there are worse independent ghost films out there, and since Sweden mostly just produces either dramatic teenage comedies, or cop/detective movies revolving around murder or rape, any films outside of the norm is worth a watch for us Swedish horror fans. I don't know what..let's say, Americans will think. Maybe they don't hate Swedish accents as much as I do. Watch this film only if you're a BIG fan of cheesy low budget horror.