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You’ll never guess her secret!

Kate Coleman and her husband John are experiencing strains in their marriage after their third child was stillborn. The loss is particularly hard on Kate, who is also recovering from alcoholism. They adopt Esther a 9-year-old Russian girl, from the local orphanage. While Kate and John’s deaf daughter Max embraces Esther almost immediately, their son Daniel is less welcoming. At school, after mocking her old-fashioned dress, Esther’s classmates attempt to take her Bible and strip off the ribbons she always wears on her wrists and neck, causing Esther to scream hysterically.

Kate grows suspicious when Esther expresses far more knowledge of sex than would be expected of a child her age, and later discovers that Esther was deceptive about her piano playing ability. She is further alarmed when Sister Abigail the head of the orphanage, comes to their home to warn her and John that whenever Esther is around, bad things seem to happen, which is overheard by Esther. As Sister Abigail is leaving in her car, Esther pushes Max into its path, forcing her to swerve the car off the road. As Sister Abigail rushes over to see if Max is hurt, Esther kills the nun with a hammer. She convinces Max to help her hide the weapon in their tree house. Esther then sees Daniel at the tree house, and confronts him in bed, threatening to cut his “hairless little prick off, before you even know what its for.” Meanwhile, Kate’s attempts to tell John about Esther’s strange ways fall on deaf ears. Attempting to learn more about Esther, Kate finds the girl’s hidden Bible which came from a mental hospital in Estonia called the Saarne Instituute. She e-mails a picture of Esther to them and asks that a doctor call her back with more information.

John and Esther grow closer, and as they spend time with each other, John suggests that Esther surprises Kate with something nice. Ester agrees, and later that night, she brings Kate a bundle of white roses she picked from the greenhouse, which happened to be the white roses Kate had spread her stillborn daughter’s ashes over, so as long as the roses lived, her daughter would live in them. Kate angrily attacks Ester, and John breaks them up. Esther runs from the room, crying. Later that night, Esther puts her arm in a crank machine, and runs the machine until a bone snaps. John takes Esther to the hospital where he blames Kate for breaking Esther’s arm.

As Daniel learns about the death of Sister Abigail from Max, Esther overhears him detail a plan to retrieve the hammer to prove Esther’s guilt. While Daniel searches the tree house, Esther appears with the hammer and drops it in front of him. Spraying lighter fluid on it and the floor, she sets the tree house ablaze. Daniel falls to the ground trying to escape the fire, and is knocked unconscious. Esther tries to kill him with a rock, but Max stops her. While Daniel is hospitalized from his fall, Esther slips into his room and smothers him with a pillow, stopping his heart, but doctors quickly revive him. Kate, realizing what happened, attacks Esther but orderlies help John restrain her. As John takes Esther and Max home, doctors
sedate Kate.

That night, Esther tries to seduce a drunken John, who finally realizes Kate might have been right about her. He threatens to send her back to the orphanage and she runs crying to her room. Meanwhile, as Kate is coming out of sedation, she receives a call on her cell phone from a doctor at the Saarne Instituute, who reveals that Esther is actually a 33-year-old Estonian woman named Leena Klammer. She has hypopituitarism, a condition that stunted her physical growth, and has spent most of her life posing as a little girl. The doctor tells Kate that Leena is extremely dangerous and has killed a number of people in the past, including an adoptive family whose father refused her romantic advances.

Leena, angry and hurt at being spurned by John, ransacks her room and removes the makeup, false teeth, and body wrappings that enhanced her illusion as youthful Esther. After taking off the wrist and neck bands that hid scars caused by the straitjacket she wore in the mental hospital, Leena attacks and kills John with a knife. Max sees Leena stabbing her father and hides. Kate, unable to get John on the phone, rushes home, only to find John dead on the floor. Leena fetches a gun from their safe and shoots Kate in the arm, then goes to search for Max, finding her in the greenhouse. While Leena shoots at Max, Kate manages to crawl out onto the greenhouse roof, breaks through the glass above Leena, and knocks her out. Kate takes the gun and leaves the greenhouse with Max.

Leena regains consciousness and finds Kate outside near a frozen pond, where she lunges at her, hurling them both onto the ice as Max watches from a hill above. Max picks up the gun that was dropped by Kate during the struggle and tries to shoot Leena, but hits the ice instead, causing Kate and Leena to drop into the water. After a brief struggle, Kate climbs out with Leena desperately clinging to her legs. Leena, calling Kate “Mommy”, begs her not to let her die while holding a knife behind her back. Kate angrily responds that she is not her mother, and kicks Leena in the face, sending her sinking back into the pond. Max and Kate are met by the police moments later.

(Sent in by Emma)

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