All signs point to bad times when it comes to this movie. The film is the billionth “demon child” film to get the green light, and it actually casts Vera Farmiga as the troubled mother who must deal with the evil kid. Farmiga just starred in Joshua, the 2007 demon child film that co-starred Sam Rockwell. Déjà vu. Intentional or not, all of the tired clichés wear down expectations, resulting in a major moment of surprise in the film’s final act. It doesn’t make the film a classic by any means, but it does turn the proceedings into a semi-respectable horror film. It’s a big, sometimes darkly funny fake-out that works. Much of the reason for the film’s relative success is due to young actress Isabelle Fuhrman, who is genuinely creepy as Esther, the orphan touted in the film’s title.

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