Thursday, November 22, 2012

Movie Review: Case 39

Runtime: 109 minutes
Rating: R
Release Date: October 1, 2010
Director: Christian Alvart

Emily (Renee Zellweger, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation) is a social worker who often handles the toughest cases. She feels a connection with a young girl named Lilith (Jodelle Ferland, Silent Hill) who has problems with her family. During her investigation, Emily finds that the father wants nothing to do with the child and the mother denies any problems. Though the parents meet with the boss and deny any problems, they later try to kill Lilith by roasting her alive in the oven.

For some reason that defies logic and laws, Emily gains temporary custody of Lilith after her parents wind up in a mental institution. Lilith immediately begins acting weird, being way too clingy with her temporary mom and acting like she is her real mother. Emily discovers that one of her charges killed his parents, and the boy received a call from her house right before doing it.

Emily asks her friend and lover Doug (Bradley Cooper, My Little Eye) to meet with Lilith because he’s a psychologist. The little girl acts like an adult, making condescending comments and treating him like trash. When he admits his greatest fear is hornets, she smiles. Later that night, he gets an unusual phone call that leads to hornets attacking and he dies in the aftermath. Once she realizes there is something off about the little girl, Emily discovers that she might be too close to see the real problem.

I actually bought Case 39 back when we still had Blockbuster stores around us because I needed one more movie for the big sale and a friend who has similar taste told me he really liked it. I did like it the first time I saw it, but I just saw it a second time and I didn’t find it nearly as entertaining. Part of the problem is Zellweger who I absolutely cannot stand. I have a hard time buying her as a concerned social worker. She seems like she’s acting a little too hard through most of the film. And Cooper, who I absolutely adore, shares little chemistry with her onscreen.

Ferland is really the standout in the movie. This chick is so creepy that she should just spend the rest of her life devoting herself to horror movies because I can’t wait to see what she does as an adult.

What it really boils down to is that Case 39 asks you to suspend belief while setting the movie in a realistic world. Would any court actually give custody to Emily when she has no mothering skills or abilities whatsoever? Why does no one do anything when Emily clearly acts like she lost her mind? She keeps running around talking about how the little girl is a demon or possessed, and they don’t take away custody? It’s all just a little too much.

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