Guillermo Del Toro produces and directs some amazing movies. He's a big, geeky kid at heart, and he loves him some horror. El Orfanato is a quiet, creepy, dark little movie dealing once again with Del Toro's ever present theme of childhood tragedy.
It's not so much that Tomas is an evil kid, but with the grain sack and his whole "standing around and staring at you" thing, he was still unsettling. There's not much violence involved, unless you count some broken fingers and a leg, a particularly nasty bus accident, instead it's the atmosphere that provides the terror. And Tomas provides much of the atmosphere.
Like Pan's Labyrith and The Devil's Backbone (Del Toro's work too), The Oprhanage feels more like a sad childhood fairytale to me, rather than pure horror. Make no mistake though, the movie does its fair share of creepy business. Tomas does his too.
The Master Says- If you like horror your movies quiet and subtly scary, then this one is for you. If you like your kids in movies to wear creepy sacks on their heads, creep around and terrorize people, then double bonus. It's worth seeing for the bathroom scene alone.