starring Isabelle Fuhrman, Rossif Sutherland, Hiro Kanagawa, Julia Stiles
screenplay by David Coggeshall
directed by William Brent Bell
by Angelo Muredda "Esther's terrifying saga continues," promises the confusing promotional copy for William Brent Bell's Orphan: First Kill, a listless prequel to Jaume Collet-Serra's impressively nasty thriller Orphan. It says something about the project's existential inertia that even the pitch is muddled about whether the film's diminutive protagonist, played again with an appropriate mix of madame prudishness and girlish optimism by Isabelle Fuhrman, is coming or going. Arriving a whole 13-year-old's lifespan after the original, which famously culminated in the reveal that Esther was not a helpless urchin from St. Mariana's Home for Girls but a short, thirty-something serial killer from Estonia, Orphan: First Kill dilutes rather than develops the deliberately thin mythos of its predecessor, stretching its punchy 30-second exposition dump about her past into 100 minutes of deadweight.