Orphan: First Kill is a psychological thriller/horror film which acts as a prequel to the 2009 film, Orphan. It chronicles Esther’s AKA Leena’s escape from Saarne Instituute in Estonia and her journey to America.
Orphan: First Kill opens in 2007 (two years before the events of the first film) at the Saarne Instituute in Estonia. The narrative shows an art therapist, Anna (Gwendikyn Collins), checking in for her first day.
The place is immediately put under lockdown as its most dangerous patient Leena Klammer (Isabelle Fuhrman) is missing. Anna is told to wait in a safe room but runs into Leena — who is revealed to be Esther (not having taken on that name yet).
The authorities corner her before things go wrong but only for a while. A senior doctor informs Anna that Leena suffers from hypopituitarism since birth which caused her to stop physically aging at 10-years-old. However, she is a 31 year old woman on the inside.
Initially she used her condition to rob families who adopted her but a recent strings of murders have made her a permanent patient of the institution.
We then watch Leena break out of confinement for good after she seduces a guard and cuts the security feed. Anna sees her escape and alerts her superiors. Leena uses this time to hide herself in her car and invades the art therapist’s home, killing her.
She then searches online for missing girls across the world and comes across one named Esther Albright. Noticing a similarity in their faces, Leena adopts the Esther alias and lets a police officer find her.
Back in America, the Albright family is ecstatic at the news that Esther — who had been allegedly abducted — has been found after four years. The mother, Tricia (Julia Stiles), flies to Moscow and gets the fake Esther home.
She settles well into her new home but the elder son Gunnar (Matthew Finlan) is shown to be slightly suspicious. The most positively affected member of the family is the father Allen (Rossif Sutherland). He bonds with Esther over their mutual love for painting, not knowing that he’s unintentionally wooing a 31 year old woman.
Tricia takes Esther to see her old child therapist and she almost ousts herself as an imposter in the very first session. However, after some impromptu damage control, the situation seems fine.
Things take a bad turn for Esther eventually when Inspector Donnan (Hiro Kanagawa) comes to say hello. He’s a friend of the Albright family and helped look for the girl when she went missing. He too has his suspicions about Esther being who she says she is.
One night when the parents go out for a gala, Donnan comes knocking and asks Gunnar to use the restroom. He uses this opportunity to steal a vinyl with Esther’s finger prints on it and leaves.
The killer sees this and follows him. As Donnan figures out that Esther is an imposter, she sneaks up on him and stabs him to death. Back at the house, Tricia finds Esther’s diary and realises she’s not her daughter.
Orphan: First Kill ending explained in detail:
What is Tricia’s secret?
As Donnan takes his final breaths, Esther asks him how he knew about the truth when even Tricia doesn’t suspect her. The dying inspector responds that she knows.
Before Esther can digest what she’s heard, Tricia shows up and shoots Donnan. In a twist of events, it is revealed that the real Esther wasn’t abducted but accidentally killed by Gunnar who was always rough with her. Tricia cooked up the entire story to protect her son. Allen however is unaware of this.
The fake Esther too comes clean about her real identity and asks to be let go. Tricia declines, stating that Esther cannot disappear twice and the idea of her being back has rejuvenated the family.
She offers her to keep living the lavish lifestyle and work together to keep the facade going. The imposter has no option but to accept as the other choice would be to return to Estonia in handcuffs.
Tricia talks to Gunnar about the development and he is shocked. He wants to kill the fake Esther and be rid of the psychopath but Tricia refuses, stating that it is too soon for something like that to happen.
How does Esther escape?
Initially, everything seems to be going well but Esther is tired of being a pawn to Tricia and Gunnar. She completely loses her patience when she realises that the former tried to poison her.
From then on, a game of tit for tat begins in which both parties try to torment each other. Tricia even notices that Esther is interested in her husband and berates her for it.
The next day, Allen leaves for a meeting and things get out of hand. At the station, Esther tries to push the mother-son duo in front of a train but fails.
She then pepper sprays Gunnar and escapes in their car. Her freedom is short lived when a police officer known to the Albrights stops her for speeding. She brings her home and the final showdown begins.
Who survives in the end?
Once the fake Esther is back, Tricia and Gunnar decide to kill her. Meanwhile, Allen also gets a phone call from the police and decides to come back home.
They plan to make it look like suicide but she again evades them. As Tricia talks to Allen on the phone, Gunnar throws Esther down the stairs but she survives. He then picks up his fencing sword and tries to hunt her down.
However, Esther comes out on top in this situation and shoots him with a crossbow dart. She finishes the job by stabbing Gunnar multiple times with his own sword. Tricia is enraged and both women fight it out in the kitchen which results in a fire.
Esther climbs to the roof and Tricia follows her. Allen arrives and sees the two ladies hanging from the roof as the house gradually burns to the ground.
He goes to save them and both of them try to win his favour by ousting the other. Before he can comprehend what he’s hearing, Tricia falls to her death. Allen is distraught but saves Esther who reveals her real form to him.
Allen is revolted and calls her a freak. In a fit of rage, she pushes him off the ledge too, killing the entire family (the Albrights are the same family mentioned in the first film who Esther killed before being adopted by the Colemans).
The final few scenes show Leena clean herself up and don the Esther avatar again as she gets put up for adoption, kickstarting the events of Orphan.