Leena Klammer who used the alias of Esther Coleman in the United States was a 33 year old woman who was the main antagonist of the movie. She murdered several people including the families who adopted her. She was highly intelligent, highly manipulative and superficially charming when she was needed, but she lacked either remorse or a conscience. She could easily induce fear, empathy and even admiration (As we saw during her first interaction with the Colemans) when it suited her ambitions. She had extreme talent in music and art and was apparently able to learn how to use languages very quickly. Leena's choice for her American alias of the name "Esther" which alluded to the Biblical figure who was once an orphan and became the Queen of Persia, multiple mentions of Heaven and carrying her male victim's pictures around inside an old Bible suggested that she was somewhat influenced by Judeo-Christian concepts, but clearly not on moral levels.
Leena suffered from a pituitary disorder that caused her to be a proportional dwarf. Because she was physically not quite a grown woman and chronologically not a child, it was difficult for her to have an adult relationship with a "normal" man which was one of the things that she yearned for.
Leena was born in Estonia and at infancy was diagnosed with hypopituitarism, a disease that blocked her physical growth and made her appear like a child even when she was an adult. Leena was sexually abused by her father from infancy which rendered her permanently and reproductively sterile. But, because this unnatural relationship was all of what she knew, it caused further difficulties in her search for a healthy relationship with a normal man. When her father took on a new sexual partner, he informed Leena that it was because she would "never be a real woman." This pushed the broken-hearted Leena into insanity and she killed both her father and his girlfriend. She was subsequently caught and eventually placed in the Saarne Institute, an Estonian mental hospital.
Leena was one of the Saarne's most violent patients, forcing the staff to keep her in a straightjacket which she was constantly fighting to escape. As she was struggling against her restraints, it caused the scarring on her wrists and neck. To cover these, she wore the ribbons on the affected areas. She escaped from the hospital and continued to allow herself to be abused by becoming a prostitute for the wealthy pedophiles. When she was arrested by the police in her prostitution, she kept her child facade up and was sent to an orphanage where she tricked a family into adopting her. Eventually, she tried to seduce the adoptive father and when that failed, she killed him and his family and set fire to the house. She escaped from Estonia and headed to the United States where she used the falsified documents to pose as a 9 year old Russian girl named Esther. Leena ended up in the St. Cabrini's Home for Girls where she would eventually be adopted.
In an earlier draft of the script, the Colemans are in the process of adopting another child from the orphanage named Yolanda when they got to meet Esther. However, on the day that Yolanda was supposed to come home with them, she was found dead in a closet, apparently from a game gone wrong. It was implied that Esther killed her.
The Colemans decided to adopt her as she appeared as a charming, well-mannered girl, despite her difficulties to social inclusion and conformation with being different. At first, the Colemans are adoring about her, accepted her as one of the family and gave her affection. But, when things went haywire in school, the socially awkward Leena intentionally harmed a bully. Soon after, Leena began to reveal her true dark, mean-spirited nature. The mother, Kate quickly caught onto Leena's manipulative behavior and violent actions while her husband remained oblivious and ignorant about them. It became a battle for Kate who was doing anything that she could to protect her family from Leena Klammer.
Confrontation with the ColemansEdit
That night, Leena tried to seduce a drunken John who finally realized that Kate was right and angrily told her that he would be calling Sister Judith on the next day to send her back to the orphanage. This had the effect of upsetting Esther that her plan failed and she was rejected once again. Meanwhile, as Kate was coming out of sedation, she received a call from a doctor at the Saarne Institute who revealed Leena's true identity. She had hypopituitarism, a condition that stunted her physical growth and spent most of her life posing as a little girl. The doctor told Kate that Leena was extremely violent and murdered seven people that the institute knew and she had the scars on her wrists and neck which Leena always kept covered and she received while trying to escape from her straightjacket. Among her victims are a family that adopted her in Estonia who she killed because the father rejected her sexual advances and set the house on fire.
Leena flew into a rage after being spurned by John and ransacked her room. Then, after removing the makeup, false teeth and body wrappings that enhanced her illusion as a child, Leena stabbed John to death with a knife and left him there. Max witnessed this and hid. Kate, unable to get John on the phone rushed home and found him dead. Leena got a gun from John's safe and shot Kate in the arm and went searching for Max, finding her in the greenhouse. While Leena shot at Max, Kate crawled onto the greenhouse roof, broke through the glass above Leena and landed on her, knocking her out. Kate took the gun and left the greenhouse with Max.
Leena regained consciousness and found Kate and Max outside near a frozen pond. Leena lunged at Kate, knocking the gun out of Kate's hand and hurling them both onto the ice. As Max watched from a hill above, she picked the gun up and tried to shoot Leena, but hit and shattered the ice instead, causing Kate and Leena to drop into the water. After a brief struggle, Kate climbed partially out of the pond with Leena desperately clinging to her leg. Leena, hiding a knife behind her back and reverting to her little-girl persona begged Kate not to let her die. Kate angrily responded that she was not her mother and kicked Leena in the face. This broke Leena's neck, killing her instantly and sent her sinking back into the pond. Max and Kate are met by the police moments later.
In the film's alternate ending, Leena went back inside the house as the police searched for her. She calmly applied her makeup to her heavily wounded face and tried to recreate herself as a young girl. As the police barged in, she happily greeted them at the stairs with her face still bleeding and worn out and curtsied in front of them, introducing herself as Esther once again.