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Nightmare Fuel / Orphan

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THAT'S what's wrong with Esther!
WARNING: Spoilers Off applies to Nightmare Fuel pages.

  • Esther herself is every parent's worst nightmare come true. A sweet, polite, intelligent 9-year-old little girl, very mature for her age and looking for a nice family to take her in... who’s really a violent, Ax-Crazy 33-year-old woman with a growth hormone disorder willing to murder that same family just to sleep with the dad. She will manipulate, murder, backstab, and even hurt herself to get what she wants, all while looking perfectly innocent the entire time and silencing anyone who gets in her way. Before the events of the movie even start, she has already killed at least seven people, including two separate families who adopted her and were perfectly willing to give her a loving home. Her reign of terror is finally ended when Kate kills her, but she has already killed John and left the Coleman family with permanent scars.
    • The worst part? Unlike supernatural horror movie villains such as Annabelle, Krampus, or Chucky, who are terrifying in their own ways but can't possibly exist in real life, there really are people like her out there. Maybe they're not adults with growth disorders pretending to be children, but they are very real: people who don't have a drop of empathy in their bodies — no matter how much kindness you show them, they will callously destroy your life, systematically rob you of everything you have, and walk away without feeling a hint of remorse.
      • Even worse than the worst part? To go into detail on the above comment; there are several recorded cases of adults who just look young through being of a small frame or blessed with unlined skin, who have pretended to be teenagers, presented themselves as homeless orphans, have entered the foster system, been taken in by caring families, enrolled at schools and then after graduating and 'ageing' out, have gone on to repeat the scam elsewhere, sometimes into their 30's, as Esther managed. Slightly similar but far more tragic was the case of a French conman who had spent years in Europe pulling just such a con; pretending to be a teen, living off the foster system for a few years, then disappearing and doing it again somewhere else. One day when forced to present an ID or be removed from a foster home to adult prison, he managed to get time alone in an office and contacted a missing persons database, found a name and claimed to be a Texan boy named Nicolas Barclay. At this time, he was well into his twenties and Nicolas would have been 15, but the conman shaved, bleached his hair, copied some tattoos and for reasons as yet unclear the Barclays accepted him into their home for several months before the FBI had to FORCE THEM to undergo DNA tests to prove that this French accented ADULT was not their skinny teenaged Texan 15-year-old.
  • Not since Damien Thorn have we had a child whose stare alone genuinely sent shivers down your spine, much less her actions... Just try looking into her eyes in the poster on the main page for more than 3 seconds... no sleep for you tonight.
    • That is spectacular work by the arts department - the image of Esther in the poster isn't just young Ms. Fuhrman's face. They've mirrored one half and then copied it over, giving her face absolutely perfect and incredibly disquieting symmetry.
  • The Nightmare Sequence at the beginning of the movie, starting off as Kate going to deliver her baby, only to be told her baby is dead. Cue painful removal of the dead baby out of her... until a creepy nurse delivers a bleeding, alive carcass of the baby!
    Nurse: Congratulations, it's a girl! (holding the bleeding, misshapen body of the baby at Kate)
  • "Do you want to play?" Explanation 
  • Esther breaking her own arm, just to frame Kate for doing it.
  • Esther's lifeless-like expression upon overhearing Daniel and Max discussing Esther's murder on Sister Abigail. This is a big clue to explain what really happens with Esther: she's mentally unstable, and moreover, she's not really a child.
  • Esther's Death Glare while staring at her 'paintings' and switching the lights of her room on and off, without any explanation at all why she's doing that. Nothing Is Scarier at this point because Esther hasn't done many bad deeds yet, so it's pretty disturbing because it makes us wonder if there's really something wrong with her. Later, you know what kind of painting she's actually staring at.
    • This is also a really clever, subversive clue to Esther's true nature revealed later on - it's a nod to the scene in Fatal Attraction where Glenn Close, an obsessive, violent woman who has been stalking her former lover, sits in a room flicking her light on and off, over and over. It's meant to indicate her declining mental state and was such a popular scene it's been repeated in one way or another in subsequent similar films. Of course, the film cleverly buries it with the black light paint and the fact it's a 9-year-old in the scene, but on second viewings it's a brilliant nod to what's really going on.
    • After Sister Abigail's death, the detective meets with John and Kate downstairs. A blue light is seen flicking on and off in Esther's room, and we see what she's really looking at. The seemingly innocent painting of a house is covered by a layer of invisible glow paint that can only be seen under UV light, revealing that it's really a painting of a house on fire with several people dying horrible deaths inside. One person's corpse has been impaled by knives and scissors, a naked woman is holding two impaled infants out the window and screaming, another person's severed legs are falling out the window, two partially dismembered corpses are hanging from the ceiling, and another window displays a burning skeleton and three severed heads on stakes. Just... yikes. The fact that it's done in a childish stick-figure style makes it all worse.
    • The lead-up to The Reveal really sets the atmosphere. The blue light under the door, Esther with a Face Framed in Shadow and a chilling expression of pure hatred, the repeating Scare Chords as the full painting is revealed to the audience and the little close-ups on all the gory details of the dying stick figures... brrrr.
    • Even worse than that? The nun at the orphanage stated that Esther's previous foster family died in a house fire (which was almost certainly set by her). That painting is not the product of a troubled little girl's demented imagination. It's a serial killer reliving her previous murders.
  • The scene pictured above in which Esther takes off all the things that help her pass as a 9-year-old; the ribbons and laces which hide her scars, her fake teeth, the strap which help hide her breasts, while the doctor from the Saarne Institute explains that she's a dwarf with a hormone disorder and a violent, mentally unstable murderer. It's extremely chilling, to say the least.
  • Esther burning down the treehouse while Daniel was still inside and locking him in. He climbs on top of the treehouse, desperately crying out to his parents for help. Meanwhile Esther watches the event from below, smiling. It is probably the only time in the entire film where she smiles a genuine smile. She truly is a sadist who loves inflicting pain on others.