Sunday, April 10, 2011

Horror Movie Review: Case 39

Case 39

Starring: Renee Zellweger, Ian McShane, and Jodelle Ferland

Directed by: Christian Alvart

Written by: Ray Wright

Production Companies: Misher Films, Anonymous Content, Case 39 Productions, and Paramount Vantage

Release Date: August 13, 2009

Wide-eyed, idealistic social worker Emily tries her best to help children not being properly cared for by their parents, but it's hard, stressful work. Then she receives her 39th case. Case 39 is Lillith Sullivan, a little girl whose grades have dropped dramatically at school.

After some coaxing, Emily gets Lillith to confide that her parents are trying to kill her. Only Emily's tenacity finally leads to the Sullivans being caught in the act of trying to kill their daughter and getting Lillith away from them. Emily soon finds herself bringing Emily into her home as a foster child, but it's not long before she realizes something ominous is going on.

Case 39 is a pretty decent suspense-thriller with kudos going to Jodelle Ferland for her creeptastic performance as Lillith.

However, there's not much on the way of horror and I'm not sure why it was given an R rating. There are some blood splatters, some twitchy shots of a creepy girl, a barely seen fork-in-the-eye. I guess it's enough for a Restricted rating, but I suspect it wouldn't have taken much editing to get it to PG-13.

A potentially creepy scene with hornets coming out of a guy's ear, nose, eye, and mouth was ruined by Bradley Cooper's failure to react to the hornets coming from his body and instead reacting to their presence flying around him. Zellweger was fine, but her character was annoying until she stopped cowering in her bedroom and finally decided to do something with Lillith.

Interestingly enough, no explanation is given to why Lillith is an evil demon-child or whatever she's supposed to be. The idea that it was a recent occurrence gets dismissed when Lillith's father yells about living with her for ten years and trying to control her evil. Speaking of Lillith, he theorizes, "From the moment she came into being, she brought something with her. Something older, destructive. Soul of a demon." There is no confirmation of that theory, though and we're left deciding for ourselves what Lillith is.

Case 39 had a lot of potential with Jodelle Ferland as Lillith outshining even Academy Award winner Zellweger, but chose to mute the horror. There's room for a sequel and I'd be willing to check it out. Though I recommend uping the horror ante.

Related Trailers

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - The Next Generation - Renee Zellweger also stars in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - The Next Generation, also known as The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Everyone's favorite chainsaw-wielding psychopath, Leatherface (Robert Jacks), is back for more prom-night gore, and this time he's joined by his bloodthirsty family. Four stranded yet carefree teens are taken in by a backwoods family, clueless of their host family's grisly habits. The terrified youths, including sweet Jenny (Renee Zellweger), try to escape from Leatherface and his crazed clan, including the bionic Vilmer (Matthew McConaughey).

They - Jodelle Feyland also starred in They. Julia Lund (Laura Regan), a graduate student in psychology, has always harbored a nagging fear of the dark and is forced to confront her worst nightmare head on. When a scary real-life event triggers old memories, she begins to suspect that the things she feared were lurking in the dark when she was a child were -- and still are -- real. And what's worse, they might be coming back to get her.

The Midnight Meat Train - Bradley Cooper does a better job in The Midnight Meat Train. as Leon Kauffman, an ambitious New York photographer whose reckless search for a serial killer known as "the Subway Butcher" (Vinnie Jones) leads him down a dark and dangerous path that puts his own life at risk. Leslie Bibb, Dan Callahan, Brooke Shields and Tony Curran also star in this spine-tingling thriller from Japanese director Ryuhei Kitamura, a chilling tale based on a short story by horror giant Clive Barker.

Pandorum - Christian Alvart also directed Pandorum. Upon rousing themselves from hyper-sleep, Payton (Dennis Quaid) and Bower (Ben Foster), a pair of crewmen assigned to work on a spacecraft, discover startling gaps in their collective memory -- including who they are and what, exactly, their mission was in the first place. The plot thickens when they realize they're not the only ones on board the ship. Cam Gigandet co-stars in this gripping sci-fi thriller.

The Crazies - Ray Wright also helped with writing the screenplay for The Crazies. When a plane crashes in a small town, a secret biological weapon is released. As the toxic substance infiltrates the local water system, some residents become gravely ill, while others descend into homicidal madness. Sheriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) attempts to set things straight, but soon the military becomes involved in containing the killer virus. Breck Eisner directs this chilling remake of George A. Romero's 1973 horror classic.

No comments: