For a laughably preposterous thriller, this film is slickly made and much longer than expected. But it's an entertaining addition to the evil child genre, simply for its over-the-top chills and nutty plot.

Kate and John (Farmiga and Sarsgaard) live in a spectacular designer home in the snowy countryside with their bright children Danny and Maxine (Bennett and Engineer), who happens to be deaf. But they have a tormented past, peppered with infidelity, addiction and a tragic miscarriage. They decide to adopt a child to get back on course, and settle for the perky Esther (Fuhrman), a 9-year-old Russian who learns very quickly indeed. She's also up to no good, as the ominous underscore keeps reminding us.

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