Looking to the far from conventional Slipstream, it appears that writer/director/star/composer Sir Anthony Hopkins lacks that avant-garde gift. I suspect most viewers will find that the only enduring outcome of Hopkins’s admittedly bold but nonsensical film is an acute headache.
Like many horror films, The Orphanage operates between two poles. One is that condition of fervency—of both delight and terror—that comprises so much of childhood, the other that implacable, unmistakably adult state of banal pathos and dull dread that results when magic fades but our memories don’t
Films fail for all kinds of reasons—they’re shot poorly, the CG looks shoddy, the romantic leads can’t generate chemistry. Self-sabotage, however, isn’t commonly blamed. But to the extent that Robin Swicord’s The Jane Austen Book Club falls short, it’s hard not to wonder whether that could be the culprit.