Written by Old Bluffer 11th Aug 2009
Spoiler Alert - as with the previous death in this film, I advise you don't read this review unless you've seen the (rather fine) movie first. Seriously, the movie has a decent twist, and this page reveals it.
Well since Sister Abigail got hammered, a whole lot of stuff has happened and Esther has well and truly sabotaged the previously stable Coleman family unit.
Max, the defenceless deaf toddler has witnessed what she is capable of first hand, and although she is young, she's not stupid - she isn't going to risk Esther's wrath by going against her.
Daniel, the older step-brother was at first terrorised, in effective fashion, for example waking him in the middle of the night with a razor blade against his skin:
"If I find out that you're lying, I'll cut your hairless little prick off before you even figure out what it's for. Do you understand me?"
He was then almost killed by trapping him in his Tree House and dousing it with lighter fluid. He managed to clamber onto the roof but fell and suffered serious neck trauma. Not content with this, Esther hunted him down in the emergency ward and he regained consciousness only to find her looming over him with a pillow. He barely survived this second attack, and is still in critical condition - we have to assume he's been damaged for life. Earlier in the movie we saw him doing pretty well on the "Expert" level of Guitar Hero. After Esther's attentions he'll be lucky to clear a song on "Easy" we reckon.
Kate has been well and truly underminded by Esther's expert psychological manipulations, such that she is now under sedation at the hospital. Both her husband and her psychologist believe she is responsible of neglect, alcoholism and an irrational hated of her innocent foster-daughter. Esther even breaks her own bones to further the deception (in a truly wince inducing scene involving a vice...)
John is the only one who has escaped the sadistic side of Esther's personality, indeed, she has used all of her considerable childish charm on him. This means he is completely ignorant of the psychopath he has living under his roof, and has no inkling that his life is in danger.
All of this is about to change, in climactic fashion. Kate has finally picked up the missed call on her iPhone from the Saarne Institute in Russia, and learns the truth about Esther.
It turns out that this is no nine year old girl, but an escaped homocidal mental patient with a condition known as hypopituitarism. This means she has the permanent appearance of a child - yes, Esther is actually a thirty-something woman, and has been expertly posing as a child all of her life.
Suddenly, everything makes sense. Her refusal to remove her ribbons, or be seen naked (they cover her straitjacket scars), her insistence on wearing bulky, period dresses (they help disguise her womanly figure, and reinforce the illusion of childhood), the fact she can play the piano, and paint expertly. It also explains of course how she so easily tricked Kate's psychologist - Esther has been interrogated by the best, and knows all the tricks to fool a small-town shrink.
Kate discharges herself from the hospital, still groggy from the drugs they sedated her with, and drives at top speed back to her home. She's going to be too late to save John though...
Back at the house, Esther is making her ultimate play for John's affections. It's not nearly enough for her that John loves her as a daughter. She is a grown woman and wants to be treated as such. Now revealed to be almost totally insane, Esther cuts down a black slinky dress so it is disturbingly revealing, and applies huge amounts of makeup. She looks shocking, a pinup for paedophiles, and John rejects her out of hand. This is nice, in so much as that he's not a pervert, but it also seals his fate. Realising she will never have him, Esther totally loses it and goes on a rampage, taking out all power to the house and arming herself with a knife.
John still hasn't realised what he is dealing with, and blunders ineffectually round the darkened rooms, discovering that all of her cutesy paintings reveal scenes of horror when viewed under UV light (I'm not sure why the UV light still works in the power out, but this is a cool scene, so I'm not complaining). Behind all the paintings, Esther allowed the adult side of her creativity to come out, and the walls are filled with erotic sex scenes, presumably of her and John.
He *must* be a little creeped out by now, but it's too late, and Esther sticks him with the knife. It's a deep wound, and he's in a bad way, but hell hath no fury like an insane midget scorned, and Esther follows up with a frenzied display of knifing. Many times in movies there is an element of uncertainty over whether someone is dead or not. Well, let's just say we are in no doubt that John won't be getting revived after this.
Meanwhile, Max is cowering upstairs. Surely this movie won't break a Hollywood Truism, and allow a cute, disable toddler to be killed - will it...?!
Old Bluffer's Note
Awarded the "Sex" category, as this is what dooms him - although in this case it is the refusal of sex that is the cause.