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    Esther/Leena Klammer 

Played by: Isabelle Fuhrman

  • Abusive Parents: Forms part of her backstory in the original script, explaining why she is so screwed up. After her birth mother died of AIDS, she was sexually molested by her father from a very early age, which left her unable to have children of her own. When her father eventually took a lover, he told Leena that it was because of her condition and the fact that she could never be a real woman. Leena murdered them both and was sent to the Saarne Institute as a result. Because of that, upon tricking a family into adopting her, she would constantly try to find love where she thought she had it as a child - with the father.
  • Age-Inappropriate Dress: At one point, she attempts to seduce John wearing a cocktail dress and a face full of heavy makeup, only for John to be horrified and disgusted because no matter what she wears, she's still his adoptive daughter. Ultimately subverted upon the reveal of her true age.
  • Ax-Crazy: As stated by Dr. Värava, Leena was the most violent patient in the mental hospital, always trying to hurt the other patients and staff, resulting in the majority of her time being spent in a straitjacket. Her signature scars came from trying to break out of it.
  • Big Bad: Her psychopathy towards the family is the driving conflict of the film. This is subverted in the prequel - despite seeming this way at first, about halfway through Tricia and Gunnar Albright are revealed to have been Evil All Along, and Esther becomes closer to a Villain Protagonist.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She can be polite and charming, but it's all just an act. She starts dropping the act more and more as the film goes on.
  • Blood Is the New Black: Her face is covered in blood when she kills Sister Abigail and when fighting Kate over the frozen pond.
  • Brainy Brunette: While her Wise Beyond Their Years tendencies are justified by the fact she is not an actual child, even as an adult, her Renaissance Man and Evil Genius skills are pretty impressive.
  • Child Prodigy: At first, she appears to be an incredibly gifted, talented, and mature young girl, if a bit weird. As it turns out though, she isn't isn't really a young girl at all.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Towards her adoptive father John, to the point where she resorts to attempted murder and manipulation to have him all to herself.
  • Cool Big Sis: Deconstructed. She at first appears to be a loving big sister figure to Max, but she gradually shows she isn't above including Max in her messed-up schemes or even harming her. But when you realize Leena can't have children due to her dwarfism rending her sterile, it makes sense at her acting like a "big sister" due to the fact she'll never have children, something she always wanted to have. Even as Max is aware of her true colors, Esther acts like a mother would, hugging her and kissing her forehead. The "big sister" face officially goes out the window once Esther hits her Villainous Breakdown and tries to kill Max when she witnessed her killing John.
  • Creepy Child: Subverted, since she's really thirty-three years old. She's still way creepy, though.
  • Cute and Psycho: Appears to be a charming and polite little girl... but she's really a dangerous adult sociopath.
  • Daddy's Girl: A very dark example. She plans to be this to the patriarchs by tearing their families apart so she can have them all to herself for lustful reasons and murdering them if they reject her.
  • Dark Action Girl: Perfectly able to fight and kill people who get in her way. She even manages to defeat the equally dark Tricia Albright.
  • Dark Is Evil: Aside from her dark hair, her clothes tend to be dark-colored in later scenes of the movie, especially after her dark nature is revealed.
  • Depraved Dwarf: Her true identity is a 33-year-old woman who, due to a rare hormone disorder, is stuck in the body of a young girl. She desperately wishes to "grow up" and become a wife, mother, and lover - by any means necessary.
  • Death Glare: Isabelle Fuhrman is an absolute champion at those.
  • Determinator: Put it this way: if this girl wants something in her favor, she will do all she can to ensure it. Up to and including breaking her own arm as a Wounded Gazelle Gambit.
  • Deuteragonist: To Kate's Protagonist and Max's Tritagonist. Kate is the point of view character, Esther is her main foil/antagonist, and surprisingly Cute Mute little child Max ends up outshining both her father and brother throughout the movie.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: She broke a little girl's leg just because she made fun of her clothes.
  • The Dog Bites Back: In the original script where she kills her incestuous father.
  • Drop the Hammer: Uses a claw hammer to murder Sister Abigail.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: She has dark brown hair, pale skin, and an overall creepy demeanor.
  • Enfant Terrible: The "enfant" part is subverted, however, after the reveal.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even she finds the Albrights despicable - given that she is absolutely disgusted when Tricia tells her the truth behind the real Esther's disappearance so much so that she's willing to just initially ditch them and run off rather than seek revenge until they drag her back.
  • Evil Genius: Vicious, but extremely intelligent. Her talents include piano playing, painting, and manipulation.
  • Evil Is Petty: Esther might be scarily intelligent for a nine-year-old, but that doesn't at all make her a competent criminal. Her crimes are impulsive and myopic, with Esther taking heinous, sometimes homicidal measures to give her immediate relief from problems any sane adult knows could solved in more mundane ways. Made all the more disturbing after The Reveal.
  • Evil Orphan: What she really is. Even after The Reveal, she may still qualify, considering she murdered her adoptive father.
  • The Fake Cutie: Could be the poster girl for this trope. She acts sweet and innocent on the outside, but is dangerous and violent on the inside.
  • Fatal Flaw: Lust. She will not settle for just Happily Adopted nor accept that the patriarchs have very good reasons for not giving to her seductions.
  • Faux Affably Evil: She can be nice when she wants to be, but it's all just an act.
  • Fille Fatale: Or so you think, since you know, she's not a child after all.
  • Freak Out: After her appointment with Dr. Browning, Esther locks herself in a toilet stall and proceeds to kick and the walls of the stall while screaming hysterically. It makes sense that at that moment, she fears Dr. Browning and her adoptive parents discovering her secret.
  • Foreshadowing: Esther's fixation on her adoptive father is noticeable very early on in the film but doesn't take a sinister turn until much later.
  • For the Evulz: She spends the final shootout trying to kill the harmless Max, ignoring the more looming threat of Kate above her. By the time she tries to amend this, it's too late.
  • Freudian Excuse: In the original script, her past was explained more in depth. Leena's mother died when she was young, and her father sexually abused her her whole childhood, rending her infertile. She was diagnosed with hypopituitarism, a rare hormonal disorder that caused proportional dwarfism, making her stuck in the body of a child. Once her father found a new lover, he told her she'd never be a real woman, which caused her to go insane and killed her father and his girlfriend in rage. She was then sent to the Saarne Institute, where she was kept in a straitjacket that gave her scars due to being too violent. She escaped and turned to a prostitution trade to find love through wealthy pedophiles. Once she was arrested, she pretended to be a child and was sent to an orphanage. Ever since, Leena tries to find love through her adoptive fathers, since it's all she's ever known, but is always rejected due to looking like a child.
  • Freudian Threat: Also doubles as Foreshadowing: Being an adult woman with sexual abuse in her past, of course Esther knows what a man's genitals are for.
    Esther: (holding a box cutter between Danny's legs) If I find out that you're lying, I'll cut your hairless little prick off before you even figure out what it's for.
  • Girlish Pigtails: She's seen wearing pigtails several times (most notably during the hospital scene) to add to her innocent little girl facade.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: She has a terrifying temper that she hides from the Coleman family at first.
  • Harmful to Minors: Oh boy, where to start. After murdering Sister Abigail, Esther forces Max to help her move the body and hide the evidence, threatens Daniel into keeping quiet about what he saw, later sets his treehouse on fire with him inside in an attempt to kill him. As if that isn't enough, she also attempts to smother Daniel in the hospital and tries to kill Max after her identity as Leena is revealed.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Exploited by Esther to have the Colemans adopt her, as it couldn't be far away from the truth.
  • If I Can't Have You…: When John refuses to give into her advances, she decides to kill him and the rest of the Coleman family. The doctor that informs Kate of Esther's true identity tells her that she did a similar thing with another adoptive family.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: Her ultimate objective, who unfortunately always fails due to Leena being a 33-year-old dwarf stuck in a 9-year-old body, causing her to be always rejected by men due to her child appearance and never being able to find a loving and stable relationship with a man.
  • Karmic Death: She destroyed at least two families for her own selfish lust over the patriarchs and dies at the hands of her latest matriarch victim. After everything she's done to the emotionally unstable Kate, she really should've known better than to try and manipulate her again.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Esther cutting the flowers that Kate and John's stillborn child's ashes were scattered over and presenting them to the former in a bouquet.
    • Esther reading excerpts from Kate's diary (regarding her miscarriage and stillbirth of her last biological child) out loud.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: On Esther's first day of school, a girl named Brenda makes fun of her. Later, Esther comes up behind Brenda and shoves her off the slide, breaking her ankle.
  • Light Is Not Good:
    • Esther happens to be a good example of this, being that she seems to be a sweet and innocent girl on the outside, but is a psychotic, sociopathic, 33-year-old serial killer on the inside. This is reflected in her style of dress as she starts off the film wearing light-colored clothing, but as her darker nature is revealed, her dresses reflect that. This is most notable in the scene where she tries to seduce John wearing a black cocktail dress, and then after her reveal as Leena, a dark shirt and pants for the rest of the film.
    • Her paintings add to this as well. At first glance, they're the work of a talented young prodigy. But when viewed under black lighting, they reveal dark and disturbing characteristics.
  • Little Black Dress: See Age-Inappropriate Dress.
  • Love Hungry: Esther/Leena wants to be loved so badly that she is willing to lie, manipulate, and kill to get what she wants.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Justified once you realize she can't get a real relationship with a man due to being an adult stuck in a child's body. Of course that it'd get frustrating. Unfortunately, she's an Ax-Crazy sociopath...
  • Mad Artist: She is very skilled in painting, which is how the Colemans first notice her at the orphanage. However, she uses a black light to represent her true nature.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Was very successful in manipulating the entire family into thinking that she is a sweet and innocent little girl, to the point where she causes a rift in John and Kate's marriage. Danny is the only one who doesn't buy it.
  • Meaningful Name: Her real name, Leena, means "she that allures". Which fits her to a T considering she only wants to be loved and tries seducing her adoptive father to get to that goal.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: All of Esther's actions in this film have in mind the ultimate death of Kate, Danny and Max so that she can have John all to herself.
  • The Napoleon: Leena Klammer is a grown woman trapped in the body of a child, and it disgusts her. Her ultimate goal is to "grow up" and become what she views as a "real woman."
  • Neck Snap: How she dies at the end of the film when Kate kicks her into the icy water.
  • Not Good with Rejection: She killed her adoptive fathers when they refused her advances, along with the other family members, before burning down their houses. She succeeds in doing the same with John but is killed by Kate before she can harm the rest of the Colemans.
  • Nothing Nice About Sugar and Spice: She is a Deliberately Cute Child in little Victorian dresses and pigtails - and she's also a grown woman who's plotting to massacre her new family so she can have the father all to herself.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: In early scenes, she pretends to be unable to play piano and accepts Kate's lessons.
  • Older Than They Look: She may appear to be nine years old, but she is really a psychotic thirty-three-year-old serial killer suffering from a hormonal disorder that keeps her stuck in the body of a young girl.
  • Parental Incest: Her main goal is to have a romantic relationship with John and her previous adoptive fathers. In the original script, this is because she was sexually abused by her birth father and made to believe this was normal.
  • Pet the Dog: For all her many, many, many faults, she is kind to the mouse in the second film - treating it as a beloved pet.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: She has a body of a 9-year-old girl and the strength of a 33-year-old woman.
  • Precision F-Strike: "I know, they fuck."
  • Pyromaniac: Before Daniel can tell Kate and John about Esther killing Sister Abigail, she sets fire to his treehouse with him inside. After murdering her prior adoptive families, she also burned down their houses to hide the evidence.
  • Psychopathic Womanchild: Has a touch of this in her Villainous Breakdown near the climax of the movie, and it helps that she looks like a child on top of that. She also expresses her desires much like a young child would through her paintings, including ones of the Colemans dying in ways that vary from the horrific to the cartoonish.
  • Rape as Backstory: Look at Abusive Parents and Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Red Right Hand: Even though she's only in her thirties, Leena has a set of rotten teeth hidden by a pair of dentures. Of course, in the prequel, she is seen smoking cigarettes.
  • Renaissance Man: A twisted example. She is talented at painting, a piano virtuoso, presumably trilingual and immediately able to learn sign language to communicate with a deaf girl, and also able to use manipulation and violence to hurt and kill people who cross her. She is good at almost everything except seducing men.
  • Replacement Goldfish: The Coleman family really should have just gotten a puppy to replace their stillborn.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Done rather creatively. Look at all those pretty paintings she made! Wait... Oh, dear God...
  • Scars are Forever: Those ribbons around her neck and wrists aren't just for show. They hide the scars she received while struggling against her straitjacket in the mental hospital.
  • The Scream: Esther lets out a bloodcurdling one when Brenda touches her ribbons.
  • Seemingly-Wholesome '50s Girl: A very polite girl who likes to wear old-fashioned dresses, even at school. She drops them by the end of the movie when she tries to seduce John wearing a slinky black cocktail dress and heavy makeup.
  • Self-Made Orphan: In the original script, Leena killed her incestuous father and her stepmother.
  • Sensual Slavs: Horribly deconstructed. Thanks to a combination of deformity and sexual frustration, the only reason Esther/Leena goes in and out of foster homes is because she wants to seduce the father of the family adopting her. When it invariably fails, she has a nervous breakdown and kills everyone. Rinse and repeat. Oh, and she is actually Estonian, not Russian, so she is not Slavic anyway.
  • Serial Killer: She kills her adoptive families after the father always refuses her advances. According to Dr. Värava, she killed at least 7 people that they know of, including a foster family (presumably the ones before the Albrights).
  • She Knows Too Much: The reason Esther tries to kill Max, who's the only one she hasn't directly hurt before, is when she witnessed John's death at Esther's hands.
  • Significant Birth Date: According to her records at the mental hospital, she was born on April 20th, thus sharing a birthday with another murderous nutcase.
  • Slasher Smile: She smiles with great delight watching the treehouse burn with Daniel still inside. It's very disturbing.
  • The Sociopath: Definitely. She is very manipulative, able to use makeup, bindings, and false teeth to trick people into thinking she is a normal nine-year-old girl instead of an adult with a hormone disorder. She also causes a rift in John and Kate's marriage by playing on the latter's insecurities, with the ultimate goal of getting rid of the rest of the Colemans so she can have John to herself. This is also not the first time she has done or attempted to do this, just ask the Albrights.
  • Stepford Smiler: Unstable, and how.
  • Stronger Than They Look: Despite having the body of an adolescent girl, she's strong enough to kill a full-grown man by bashing his head into a wall and is able to survive being thrown down the stairs. Since Leena only looks like a small child and is surprisingly durable for someone with dwarfism, she manages to evade the Albrights when they're too distracted.
  • Tempting Fate: At one point, she tauntingly asks Kate "What are you going to do, hit me?". Later in the hospital scene, Kate actually does slap Esther so hard, the girl is knocked off her feet.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In the prequel, she was a highly rational and pragmatic Con Woman who only kills people standing in her way. She was also significantly nicer towards a pet mouse and was willing to leave the Albrights alone and start over with another family when it's clear she couldn't have Allen with Tricia and Gunnar's blackmail. In the original film proper, she has become more ruthless and pettier presumably as a result of her adopted fathers continuing to reject her advances, directly antagonizing the Colemans without reason.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour:
    • Casually using the word "fuck" in everyday conversation is the least worrying thing about this young lady.
    • A graver example: She dons a revealing cocktail dress and an insane amount of makeup in order to try and seduce her drunken adoptive father.
      • Later averted through her reveal as the 33-year-old Leena Klammer.
  • Villain Has a Point: Esther calling Kate out on how she doesn't appreciate her family does have merit, considering Max almost died because Kate was too drunk to see her fall into the pond.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After failing to seduce John, Esther runs to her room and removes everything she has been using to pass herself off as a nine-year-old, all while throwing a screaming fit and wrecking the entire room.
  • Walking Spoiler: There REALLY IS something wrong with Esther...
  • Wicked Cultured: Esther is a piano virtuoso, is presumably trilingual and is a talented and prolific painter.
  • Villain Protagonist: The protagonist of the prequel film Orphan First Kill and still ruthless.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Esther knows far more about sex than a seemingly nine-year-old should ever healthily know. Averted once she is revealed to be an adult woman who, in the original script, was subject to sexual abuse by her birth father.
  • Woman Scorned: After her failed attempt to seduce John, she goes through a Villainous Breakdown and kills him in retaliation. According to Dr. Värava, she killed her previous foster family after the father also turned down her advances.
  • Would Hurt a Child: She's thirty-three years old and has no problem with hurting children at all. Just ask Brenda, Max, and especially Danny.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Breaks her own arm in a freaking vise and frames her adoptive mother for it.
  • Yandere: Let's just say that Esther loves her new daddy very much. Since she really is a 33-year-old in a child's body, she seeks romantic relationships out of her adoptive fathers, and is ready to do everything to keep him to herself.

Coleman Family

    Kate Coleman 

Played by: Vera Farmiga

  • The Alcoholic: Formerly. Esther exploits this by showing John the bottle of wine she bought the previous day and making it look like Kate relapsed, making it harder for him to believe her when she says Esther is dangerous.
  • Broken Bird: Following her baby's stillbirth and Max's accident due to her alcoholism, Kate becomes emotionally unstable and made worse by Esther's manipulations.
  • Heroine With Bad Publicity: Due to her known miscarriage-induced emotional instability, Kate is painted as a bad parent towards Esther by others, despite Kate noticing something is not right with the latter.
  • Mama Bear: She might have problems, but she really loves her children. After Esther attempts to smother Daniel with a pillow, she knows it's her doing and proceeds to slap the shit out of her and has to be held back by orderlies so she doesn't keep attacking her. Later during the climax of the movie, Kate yells at Esther not to hurt Max and throws her away when Esther is about to attack them in the woods. Then she brutally disowns her long after learning about her true colors as a 33-year-old madwoman.
  • Women Are Wiser: Compared to John, she seems to be more aware and able to realize what is happening, especially toward the end.

    John Coleman 

Played by: Peter Sarsgaard

  • Adults Are Useless: He's the only one in the family who doesn't do anything useful against Esther in the film.
  • Asshole Victim: After continually siding with Esther over his wife's word, he is stabbed to death by Esther after he finally realizes that his wife was right about her.
  • Everyone Has Standards: As much of a dick John can be, he's absolutely horrified and disgusted when Esther tries to seduce him, which finally convinces him that Kate was right about her.
    Esther: (losing her patience) Stop talking to me like I'm a child!
    John: (disgusted) I'm calling Sister Judith tomorrow and we're going to have a long conversation about your future in this house because I can't do it, I can't do it anymore!
  • Horrible Judge of Character: He realizes too late that Kate is right and that there's something wrong with Esther.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He has cheated on Kate ten years ago but now he clearly loves her, despite their arguments. While he refuses to believe his wife during the Esther situation, it's more out of obliviousness than maliciousness (and the fact the Kate used to be The Alcoholic). He also tries his best to be a good father to an orphan girl.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: He's a well-meaning guy who loves his family, but also clueless and weak-willed, which makes him unreliable during hard times.
  • Never My Fault: Had committed adultery in the past when Kate was at a mental low point, but he never seemed to accept responsibility for it.
  • Smug Snake: He thinks his judgment is superior to his wife's.
  • Too Dumb to Live: His blind trusting of the Obviously Evil Esther gets him killed.

    Daniel Coleman 

Played by: Jimmy Bennett

  • Bad People Abuse Animals: Subverted. Danny shoots a pigeon with his paintball gun but is absolutely horrified when he sees that it's seriously hurt and even more when Esther smashes the bird with a rock, killing it instantly.
  • Big Brother Bully: Is this towards Esther at first, even before realizing something isn't right with her. This later turns out to be a case of Mugging the Monster and Kick the Son of a Bitch once her true nature is revealed.
  • Big Brother Instinct: He may not like Esther, but he cares enough about his little sister, Max, to go to her room and ask if Esther has hurt her, promising that they'll talk to their parents about it. Unfortunately, Esther is standing outside the door and listening the entire time...
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He may be a brat, but he cares about his sister Max and is horrified at Esther's Creepy Child acts.
  • Mugging the Monster: His Big Brother Bully behavior towards Esther before he knew her true nature is this trope in retrospect.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Downplayed. He throws ableist slurs at Esther several times but doesn't project any towards his deaf younger sister, Max.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Isn't seen from the rest of the movie after being nearly killed by Esther. Though he survives since doctors state he has a pulse. note 

    Maxine Coleman 

Played by: Aryana Engineer

  • Badass Adorable: She's only 5 years old, but saves her brother from Esther in one scene, and at the end she also tries to protect her mother with a revolver.
  • Break the Cutie: She suffers a harsh Trauma Conga Line throughout the movie, after watching Esther killing a nun, trying to kill her brother, and going through several Near-Death Experience. She's only 5.
  • Children Are Innocent: Due to her childlike innocence, she adores Esther in the beginning... until she starts to see her killing people in front of her eyes.
  • Cute Mute: She's a deaf little girl, and so adorable that you'll just want to hug her.
  • Took a Level in Badass: She's Badass Adorable at the end where she takes the revolver and was going to shoot Esther in order to protect her mother.


Albright Family

    Tricia Albright 
Played by: Julia Stiles
  • Mama Bear: A dark example, as she is possessive of her family to the point of preventing Gunnar from going to prison for his sister's death.
    Tricia: A mother protects her family, no matter what.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Tells Esther that most men, including Allen, would be repulsed by a "mutant grifter" when she sees Esther growing affectionate towards him.

    Allen Albright 
Played by: Rossif Sutherland

    Gunnar Albright 
Played by: Matthew Finlan
  • Bullying a Dragon: While his mother acts rationally, doing her best to avoid giving Esther a reason to betray her, Gunnar, however, assumes he has more power over Esther than he actually does, and treats her badly and with contempt.
  • Cain and Abel: The real Esther Albright was Dead All Along due to Gunnar having something to do with it. It's not elaborated, but it's implied Esther was pushed down the stairs and died during a sibling squabble, and Gunnar looks genuinely scared when he ends up doing the same to Leena.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Gender-Inverted. The fact that Tricia doesn't seem to blame him for the real Esther's murder implies she favors him over her dead daughter.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: After shooting him with a crossbow, Leena stabs him to death with his own fencing sword.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Calls Leena a "freak", saying no one would listen to what an "illegal immigrant fugitive mental patient" says when she threatens to reveal he killed his sister, and that "this is America, people like me matter".
  • Teens Are Monsters: He's the eldest son responsible for the death of his little sister and only concerned with covering his own act.

    Esther Albright 
Played by: Kennedy Irwin
  • Daddy's Girl: She's this to Allen, as he is the most affected by her disappearance and is very happy to have "her" back.
  • Walking Spoiler: Where else did Esther get her alias from? And the Awful Truth behind her disappearance reveals the Dark Secrets of her family.

Alternative Title(s): Orphan First Kill