The Orphanage is a beautifully filmed production, and Belén Rueda offers an impressive performance as Laura, a woman who purchases the orphanage she lived in as a child and moves in with her husband Carlos and son Simon. Their dream of restoring the seaside establishment as a home for mentally challenged children quickly falls by the wayside as her son’s new imaginary friend assumes an aggressive role in all of their lives.

This film is a body-jolting, goosebump-inducing, scare-a-minute ride in the dark. It’s creepy and surprising, and most folks will have to catch their breath time and again when shock after perfectly placed shock is piled on one after another.

You will be quickly seduced by the classic ghost story premise that is reminiscent of The Others and The Innocents. The film employs many classic horror film tricks like a swelling musical score, ghost hunters, a dark and creaking house and a desperate mother separated from her beloved offspring, but it still works.

Grade: B- The Orphanage releases in select theaters Dec. 28.