It's the story of a couple - played by Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard - who lose their baby and decide to adopt a 9 year-old girl, only to get more than they bargained for.
This by-the-numbers ‘evil kid’ horror movie is an involving melodrama until a revelation propels it into a clumsy, if entertaining, final act.
Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman), a Russian moppet with an old-fashioned dress sense and perfect manners, is adopted by a caring, if troubled family, and soon flashes a nasty glint to go with her sweet smile. Fuhrmann delivers a majorly creepy performance, but the normal folks in the film are so dim or unpleasant you’ll cheer the little monster as she brutalises bullies, kills a nun, suggests her deaf younger sister play Russian roulette and manipulates her adoptive parents (Farmigia, Sarsgaard) into hysteria.
Farmigia, who went through all this before in the little-seen Joshua, eventually catches on, and Esther resorts to extreme (and extremely silly) measures in a one-damn-thing-after-another climax.
Predictable and been-there, seen-that, but entertaining nevertheless at times.