There's something about Foreign films. They seem so much more sophisticated than American ones. I have passed many times on American horror because I believe they focus more on who's in the movie than what they can do more to scare the living bejeezus out of you. Tonight I saw The Orphanage. And that theory was most handsomely confirmed.
I must admit that most of the plot was predictable, but it's so impossibly eerie that none of that matters. Never have I actually been shaken by fear. This also confirms a notion that nothing is scarier than children.
I think this film succeeded on a few levels: There was a mystery aspect, so it wasn't just a horror film, it was a pure thriller too. There's plenty of tension, emotion and even a tiny bit of comedy. I think the shock value is what is most important. Especially for a horror film.
Plus, it's Spanish, so that automatically makes it stand out.
If you like to be scared, please see this movie. It is excellent.