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It's like The Good Son. Only sicker.
One of the few things on which pianist Kate Coleman (Vera Farmiga) agrees with her apathetic architect husband, John Coleman (Peter Saarsgard), is that a drastic change is needed to save their rocky marriage. With the burden of John's past infidelity, the emotional distance of their rebellious adolescent son, Daniel (Jimmy Bennett), and the helplessness of their deaf younger daughter, Max (Aryana Engineer), Kate's loss of her third baby in childbirth broke her sanity and drowned her in a sea of alcoholism.
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In an attempt to find an alternative outlet of love meant for their stillborn child, the Colemans take in a mysterious 9-year-old Russian orphan called Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) into their family. Max, in her innocence, was ecstatic to finally have a big sister; Daniel was less than enthusiastic due to the bullying he receives at school due to her eccentricities.

Polite and creative, Esther initially had a sensitivity and charm that began to thaw the frozen hearts of the Coleman couple... and that's when people around them started getting hurt.

Beware of spoilers.


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     General Tropes 
  • Adult Fear: Discovering that your child (adopted or otherwise) is not only a violent sociopath willing to hurt others without remorse, including your other children, but so skilled at manipulating and charming the people around them that nobody believes you when you voice your concerns about them. In fact, they think you're crazy.
  • Adults Are Useless: John. Definitely.
  • The Alcoholic: Kate, 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.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: At the hospital, after Esther attempts to kill Daniel, Kate knows it's her doing and confronts her, slapping her so hard Esther falls. Even if Kate gets restrained and sedated afterwards, Esther does genuinely looks scared of her for a second.
  • Artistic License – Biology: During the final battle against Esther, Kate is suddenly plunged into the cold waters of a frozen pond, spends the majority of the following struggle submerged in it, and is left soaking wet in the middle of a snowy field once all is said and done. Still, she shows no signs of hypothermia (or even fatigue, for that matter), and is able to easily escape with Max.
  • Asshole Victim: Two non-fatal examples; one fatal example.
    • Brenda, the girl who bullies Esther on her first day of school, gets her ankle broken after Esther pushes her off the slide.
    • Danny is a brat and a bully, which presumably provokes Esther's wrath on him more than anything. As far as he knows, Esther is just a sensitive, if strange, girl his family has adopted, and misses no chance to insult her or make her life more difficult. This eventually gets subverted when he finds out about Esther's true nature and tries to warn his sister, Max, about her to keep her safe.
    • John. In addition to cheating on Kate several years ago and hiding it from her, he insists on believing Esther's word over hers, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Both of the above cause him to lose a lot of sympathy, even when Esther/Leena murders him during the climax of the film.
  • 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 then instantly played straight when Esther smashes the bird with a rock, killing it instantly.
  • Big Brother Bully: Danny is this towards Esther at first, even before realizing something isn't right with her. This later turns out to be a case of Bullying a Dragon once her true nature is revealed.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Danny may not like Esther, but he cares enough about his little sister, Max, to go to her room and 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...
  • Black Dude Dies First: The girl with the broken ankle happens first, but C.C.H. Pounder plays the first fatality.
  • Blood from the Mouth: John while Esther/Leena kills him.
  • Break the Cutie: Max by the end of the film. Poor thing.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Danny, when Esther threatens to cut off his penis with a box cutter if he tells anyone what he saw in the treehouse.
    "You pissed yourself."
  • Broken Bird: Following her baby's stillbirth and Max's accident due to her alcoholism, Kate becomes emotionally unstable.
  • Cassandra Truth: In spades. Kate and Danny know something is wrong with Esther, but have no evidence to back it up.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Several. The revolver, Max's hearing aids, the treehouse key, the second bottle of wine, and of course, Esther's paintings.
  • Children Are Innocent: Max, so much that you'll want to hug her from her very first scene. The same cannot be said for anyone else.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The credits roll over paint-splattered shots of Esther putting on her makeup, close-ups of her medical records from the Saarne Institute, white rose petals falling, and various paint-covered photographs being destroyed or burned, with the text switching back and forth from a standard serif font to a sinister purple "scratchy handwriting" font. Notably, John's name in the cast list has a heart painted next to it.
  • Cute Mute: Max. She's so adorable that you'll just want to hug her.
  • The Cutie: Again, Max.
  • Death Glare: Despite being The Cutie, Max is able to give good ones that rivals Esther herself, like when she refrains her from killing Danny. See for yourself.
  • Description Cut: The therapist's description of Esther as a sweet, sensitive, reserved young girl is intercut with shots of Esther screaming and throwing a violent tantrum in the bathroom stall.
  • Dream Intro: The film begins with Kate having a terrifying nightmare about her stillbirth.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: After Danny is taken to the hospital in critical condition following the "accident" with the treehouse fire, John goes home alone and pours himself a bottle of wine. Esther takes advantage of him in this state by putting on a cocktail dress and makeup and trying to seduce him while he's drunk.
  • Dysfunction Junction: On both the villainous and heroic sides. Esther is really a dangerous and violent thirty-three-year-old serial killer with a hormone disorder, while John and Kate's marriage is on the brink of divorce due to his past cheating, her past alcoholism, and the stillbirth of their infant daughter.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Has much of a dick John can be, he's absolutely horrified and disgusted when Esther tries to seduce him.
  • Extreme Mêlée Revenge: Esther attempts to seduce John. When he turns her down, she stabs him with a kitchen knife and does not stop until well after he's dead.
  • Failed a Spot Check: John doesn't notice Esther swiping Max's hearing aide.
  • Freak Out: Kate when she finds John's dead body.
  • Groin Attack: Esther threatens Daniel to do one on him with a box cutter at one point.
  • Hero 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.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: The entire family except Danny, but special mention goes to John.
  • Idiot Ball: Having sex in a part of the house that's meant to be used by the entire family. As a result, they get caught by Esther.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Subverted when Max picks up the revolver that Kate had dropped earlier and aims it at Esther, but ends up shooting the ice they're standing on instead.
  • Infant Immortality: No children die in this movie, though it could've been averted in the original script:
    • Esther would have killed a 7-year-old girl the Colemans had been planning to adopt, and she is found hung in a closet. This plot point is scrapped and instead Esther is the Colemans' first choice as adopted child.
    • Danny was also supposed to die in the original script. In the movie, he nearly gets killed twice, but ultimately survives.
    • In the final product itself, Brenda is among Esther's victims not to be outright murdered (although she suffers a leg injury).
  • Irony: Esther's initial plan was to kill Kate, Danny and Max so that she can have John all to herself. Kate and the kids survive to the end of the film, while John gets an incredibly messy death for refusing Esther's advances.
  • Jerkass: The boys that Danny hangs out with, but Danny himself is a Jerkass Woobie.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Danny's inability to get along with Esther is justified likely due to something is not right with her that he senses, especially after witnessing her remorselessly killing a wounded bird with a rock.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Danny is maybe a brat, but he cares about his sister Max.
  • Kids Are Cruel:
    • The girls who bully Esther at school, and Danny and his friends.
    • Esther herself is a subversion, as while unimaginably cruel, she is actually a 33-year-old woman.
  • Logo Joke: The Warner Bros. shield and the Dark Castle, uhhh, castle are covered in glow paint to foreshadow Esther's secret layer of her paintings showing her sadistic side. Dark Castle is also missing the roaring gargoyle head from which the logo usually zooms out of; here, it zooms out of a castle wall.
  • Mama Bear: Kate 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.
  • Mirror Scare: Both subverted and played straight. The first time Kate goes to the medicine cabinet, she closes the door to find nothing, the second time it's John standing behind her in a fake scare.
  • Mr. Exposition: Dr. Värava, who reveals to Kate and the audience Esther's real identity and past.
  • Mugging the Monster: Esther's big brother Danny coldly rejects her and the girls at school relentlessly make fun of her. They have no idea that they are messing with a psychopathic 33-year-old serial killer posing as a young girl.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between: Out of the children (or are they?), Max is sweet and innocent (nice), Esther is violent and sadistic (mean), and Danny is a bratty Jerk with a Heart of Gold (in-between).
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: Esther paints a seemingly innocuous picture of a large house. When she views it under a blacklight, a hidden layer of glow paint is revealed, showing that it's actually a painting of a house going up in flames, with several people dying gruesome deaths inside. She would know, because it was her fault.
  • Porn Stash: In Danny's treehouse. "Page 43 will change your life." "Hey, that looks like your mom!!"
  • Precision F-Strike:
  • Primal Scene: John and Kate have the brilliant idea to have sex in the middle of their kitchen. They are interrupted when they realize they have been walked on by Esther.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "I'm not! Your fucking! MOMMY!!"
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The movie was supposed to take place in the fall, but a record snow fall hitting the filming location during filming changed this to the winter, in turn eliminating a scene in the script at a Halloween carnival at Danny and Esther's school. Some might say the winter atmosphere helped make the movie more creepy.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Esther doesn't want to go to the dentist. Because a dentist's appointment would expose the fact that she wears false teeth, and an examination of her real teeth would prove that she's not really a little girl.
  • Russian Roulette: "Want to play?"
  • Shout-Out: Kate's "I'm not your fucking mommy!" has been used in a horror film before.
  • Sickbed Slaying: Esther tries to smother Danny with a pillow while he's in the hospital, after he fell out of the burning treehouse. He survives, though.
  • Slasher Movie: The film is about an Enfante Terrible who is really a serial killer who kills anyone that gets in her way.
  • Snow Means Death: Esther's killings of a pigeon and Sister Abigail both happen outside in the snow.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: A cheery rendition of "The Glory of Love" plays over a disturbing, UV paint-splattered credits reel.
  • Tagline: There's something wrong with Esther.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!:
    Kate: WHAT DID YOU DO TO HIM, YOU BITCH?! [slaps Esther]
  • Took a Level in Badass: Max at the end where she takes the revolver and was gonna shoot Esther in order to protect her mother. Oh, and did we mention she's only 5 years old?
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Sure, the first few results of Esther's psychopathy could be chalked up to coincidence. But John still refuses to believe Kate after Danny's treehouse mysteriously burns down, putting him in the hospital. When Esther just HAPPENED to be near it at the time. Must've been spontaneous combustion, right?
    • Despite being one of the first to realize the problem, Kate also has a few.
      • She doesn't think to call the cops sooner, despite the fact as she is fairly quick to realize that there is something wrong with Esther. Why on earth would she even let her come to the hospital?
      • She also doesn't handle her paranoia against Esther rationally and comes off whiny and demanding. Possibly justified a little due to her emotional instability.
  • Wham Line:
    • "The Saarne Institute is not an orphanage. It is a mental hospital."
    • "The little girl in that picture is not really a little girl. She's a grown woman."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Danny isn't seen from the rest of the movie after being nearly killed by Esther. Though he survives since the doctors state he has a pulse.
  • Widow Woman: Kate ends up at this at the end following John's death.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Ten years before the film's events, John cheated on Kate, although he didn't tell her until many years later.
    John: Let me get this straight: We can talk about my mistakes, but not yours?
    Kate: I was sick! You're an asshole who wanted to fuck somebody else!
  • Your Makeup Is Running: After John rejects Esther's attempt at seducing him, she goes to her room and breaks down crying, ruining her makeup.
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    Tropes that concern Esther 
  • 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 abused 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 to be rejected. 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 straightjacket. Her signature scars came from trying to break out of it.
  • 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.
  • Chronic Villainy: 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.
  • 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.
  • Dark Action Girl: Perfectly able to fight and kill people who get in her way.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: 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 straightjacket that gave her scars due to being too violent. She escaped, and turned to prostitution to find love through 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 averted, however, after the reveal.
  • Evil Genius: Vicious, but extremely intelligent. Her talents include piano playing, painting, and manipulation.
  • Evil Orphan: What she really is. Even after The Reveal, she may still qualify, considering she murdered her own 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.
  • Famous Last Words: (spoken while hiding a knife behind her back) "Please...don't let me die, Mommy."
  • 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 her 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 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 findt 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 fails 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.
  • 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) 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.
  • Knife Nut: She stabs John to death with a knife and later tries to do the same with Kate and Max.
  • 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 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 it 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.
  • 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.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Despite her short stature, she is frighteningly violent.
  • 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.
  • Reality Ensues: When John is drunk, she tries to seduce him by wearing a cocktail dress and heavy makeup, hoping that he will be more attracted to her when she is dressed as an adult. However, instead of being aroused, he's horrified because no matter what she wears, she's still his adoptive daughter.
  • Red Right Hand: Even though she's only in her thirties, Leena has a set of rotten teeth hidden by a pair of dentures.
  • 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.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Done rather creatively. Look at all those pretty paintings she made! Wait... Oh dear God...
  • 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 step mother.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Stepford Smiler: Unstable, and how.
  • 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.
  • 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 of her feet.
  • 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.
  • Wicked Cultured: Esther is a piano virtuoso, is presumably trilingual and is a talented and prolific painter.
  • 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 everything to keep him to herself.

That's the story of, that's the glory of love.
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