Orphan: First Kill’s ending explained

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Orphan: First Kill is a belated prequel to 2009 horror hit Orphan. You can read our review of the movie here, while below, we’re detailing how the movie cleverly sets the stage for the original. So beware of Orphan and Orphan: First Kill spoilers ahead…

The original Orphan movie concerned Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman), a woman in her 30s who – thanks to a gland disorder – stopped growing at the age of 10. She also happens to be a con artist who infiltrates families posing as a child, then kills them.

Orphan: First Kill is a prequel that revolves around Esther – back when she was called Leena – being adopted by her previous family.

But First Kill has a great twist concerning that new family. As unbeknownst to father Allen (Rossif Sutherland), the Esther that Leena is posing as was actually killed by brother Gunnar (Matthew Finlay), a murder which was then covered up by mother Tricia (Julia Stiles).

All of which puts Esther on the back-foot for the second half of the film. Until Orphan: First Kill’s bloody finale.

What happens at the end of Orphan: First Kill?

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Brother Gunnar (Matthew Finlan) and mother Tricia (Julia Stiles) get their comeuppance in Orphan: First Kill.

The climax kicks off with Esther shooting Gunnar in the chest with a crossbow, then stabbing him multiple times with a sabre. This enrages Tricia, understandably, and the pair have a brutal battle in the kitchen, which starts a fire.

Esther and Tricia continue their fight on the roof, and find themselves hanging off the top of the house just as Allen locates them. Meaning he has to make a choice. Not unlike the choice the mum has to make while hanging over a cliff at the end of 1993 Macaulay Culkin thriller The Good Son.

“She’s not Esther, she’s a grown woman,” says Tricia. “She’s lying – please Daddy help me,” comes the response from Esther. Dad helps the “child” first, meaning that Tricia falls to her death.

But having pulled Esther up, he sees that her teeth aren’t real, which somewhat confuses him. “I did this for you,” says Esther, “for us. So we could be together. Allen, I love you.” Allen responds by calling her a monster, so Esther shoves him off the roof, the film ending with both Mum and Dad lying dead on the ground.

How does First Kill set up 2009’s Orphan?

2009 Orphan’s alternate ending.

What follows is a scene similar to an alternate ending for the first film, wherein Esther survived. She goes to her room, puts her teeth back in, her ribbons back on, and leaves the house, living to kill another day.

In First Kill, a therapist and police officer then discuss her fate while watching Esther through a pane of glass, the therapist referencing her tragic situation, and the officer questioning what will happen now.

“I’ve reached out to a reputable adoption agency,” says the therapist. “I”m confident we’ll find a home where Esther can get the support and love she deserves. After all, who wouldn’t want to adopt her?”

That would be the orphanage/adoption agency that houses Esther at the start of 2009’s Orphan, where parents played by Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard find her and take her in, with deadly results.

Orphan: First Kill then ends with a close-up of Esther’s face. She looks sad, then stares into the camera and smiles. Before finally that smile drains away, and Esther looks ready to kill, again.

Orphan: First Kill is out now.

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