According to The Hollywood Reporter, U.S. distribution rights for the film The Orphanage were acquired this past Monday by Picturehouse, a joint effort between HBO and New Line Cinema. Known in its native tongue as El Orfanato, the Spanish language film is produced by Guillermo del Toro, director of Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, and The Devil's Backboneto name just a few of his high class creep-fests. Also producing are Mar Targarona, Alvaro Augustin and Joaquin Padro. The Orphanage is directed by Juan Antonio Bayona with a screenplay by Sergio G. Sånchez, who also wrote the script for the upcoming 3993 which is to be helmed by del Toro.
The story concerns a woman named Laura who purchases an orphanage and hopes to re-open it as a facility for disabled children. Her young son soon develops an imaginary friend and the relationship quickly turns sinister. "Bayona has captured some very moody and terrifying footage that just blew me away," del Toro said. "After my great experience with Bob and his team on 'Pan's Labyrinth,' I knew that 'The Orphanage' was a perfect film for them to release. I know they will give our film the attention and care it needs to break out." While the supernatural imaginary friend angle has been beaten to death, I suspect if del Toro has enough faith in the project to put his name behind it, chances are there's something worthwhile here.