Sara Clements’s review published on Letterboxd:
Esther is one of the horror genre’s best characters. Not even of just the past 13 years, but maybe even of all time. Children can be truly terrifying. Damien (The Omen), Regan (The Exorcist), Samara (The Ring), I could go on. But the twist of Orphan – her secret – that made the film so fascinating added extra layers of shock and awe. If you haven’t seen the 2009 film, I would stop reading here. Its twist, if spoiled, would ruin all the fun of getting to know Esther. Truthfully, William Brent Bell’s Orphan: First Kill didn’t really need to exist, but we were only fed bits and pieces of information about the character the first time around. While this prequel’s viewing experience doesn’t compare, we get to meet Esther before she really became the character we know. It’s a treat for fans, and a film full of surprises.