Case 39 (2009)

January 3, 2010 - 11:18pm | FrighT MasteR
  Tags: adoption, Bradley Cooper, case 39, Christian Alvart, demonic, evil child, evil kid, Ian McShane, Renée Zellweger

Your rating: None Average: 6.7 (12 votes)
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Christian Alvart
Renée Zellweger, Ian McShane, Bradley Cooper, Jodelle Ferland, Kerry O’Malley, Callum Keith Rennie

Case 39 is one of those movies that is just plagued with US distribution troubles. Production was completed in 2007 and the pic was originally given a February theatrical release that year, but it was pushed until 2008, then again in 2009. Recently it was given a January 2010 theatrical release, but (no surprise) it never came out. Despite that, it has already been released in several other countries, with Mexico being the most recent. Having seen the movie I can't say that US viewers are really missing out on much, but it's still an above average horror fair.

The story follows a social worker (Renée Zellweger) who receives her 39th case that she investigates and determines that the young girl named "Lillith" (Jodelle Ferland) may be in an unfit and abusive family. After saving the girl from being burnt to death in the oven by her parents (you heard right!) the social worker decides to take the young girl under her care until a proper family is found for her. As standard with evil-kid flicks, it doesn't take long before the seemingly sweet and innocent child reveals her more devious side, leading the social worker to question whether she should have let the girl's parents finish what they had started.

The movie is your pretty standard take from the evil/killer-kid sub-genre, with bits of supernatural elements thrown in. I'm personally a fan of the sub-genre, so I wasn't entirely let down with the pic. I was entertained from the start, but found the young girl more annoying than menacing, although she did deliver a couple somewhat creepy scenes. Much like similar-themed flicks, manipulation plays a big part in the movie, as no one but the social worker realizes just how evil the girl is. An interesting aspect in the story is how the girl is also able to manipulate other kids to kill their parents.

The deaths in the movie were interesting and sometimes bloody (always good) and the supernatural elements are kicked up heavily in the second half of the flick, especially towards the end, which also serves to give easy answers regarding the young girl. Speaking of which, I wasn't too fond of Jodelle Ferland as the evil kid this time 'round (fans may remember her as the evil girl in Silent Hill), as her "evil" performance didn't seem very believable to me, but then again I may just be biased towards her since I found her constant head bobbing as she spoke quite annoying, but I digress. The ending wasn't entirely a letdown, but it seemed a little too rushed, in my opinion.

A decent and slightly above-average addition to the evil-kid sub-genre. Although we're given a couple creepy and cool supernatural scenes, the film's cliches, predictability, and rushed climax prove to be its downfall. However, if you're just looking for another flick involving an evil kid then give this a check.

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FrighT MasteR's picture
FrighT MasteR is an avid horror fan / monster hunter extraordinaire, who created and has been running UHM since its inception, way back in 1999.




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