Case 39 - Blu-ray Review
By Jeff Swindoll Jan 4, 2011, 15:34 GMT
Academy Award® winner Renee Zellweger stars in this terrifying, supernatural thriller about a social worker who has been assigned the unusual and disturbing case of Lillith Sullivan…a girl with a strange and mysterious past. When Emily (Renee Zellweger) opens her home in an attempt to help Lillith, it turns into a deadly nightmare she may not survive. Co–starring Bradley Cooper (The Hangover), Case 39 is a heart-stopping chiller with startling ...more
Taking a page from the Omen, Renee Zellweger is a social worker who adopts an evil tot. The problem is that she’s not a great heroine for such a horrific proposition. That must be why the film has been on the shelf for a long time and is finally being unleashed… with a whimper.
Emily Jenkins (Renee Zellweger) is a social worker who has 38 cases under her belt. Her boss Wayne (Adrian Lester) puts case 39 on her desk. It involves Lilith Sullivan (Jodelle Ferland) who appears to be showing signs of abuse at the hands of her parents (Callum Keith Rennie and Kerry O’Malley).
Emily’s home visit finds the parents behaving sinisterly and Lilith appearing to live her life in fear of them. A visit to Wayne’s office though finds the couple appearing loving and not the monsters they seemed at home so nothing can be done to remove the child from the home. Emily privately gives Lilith her card and number and says to call if they try and hurt her.
Sure enough, that call comes one evening and Emily and her friend Detective Mike Barron (Ian McShane) bust down the door to find the parents trying to burn Lilith in their oven. The parents are put in a mental hospital and Lilith to an orphanage, but Emily thinks that a home environment is the best place for the troubled child.
Emily lobbies to bring Lilith into her own home and succeeds in bringing the girl to her house and getting her into her psychiatrist pal Douglas Ames’ (Bradley Cooper) care. However, soon very strange things begin to happen to Emily and she starts to wonder if Lilith’s parents may have been on the right course.
Case 39 is a project that has a scent of failure about it. It was shot in 2006 (sadly, it recovered as your vaudevillian might counter) and sat on the shelf. It was pushed back again and again until finally surfacing in theaters in October 2010. It landed with a thud.
Perhaps the Orphan beat the film to the sinister kid punch, but the delays and air of failure surely didn’t help. Actually, the problem really lies in the casting.
Zellweger really isn’t cut out to play the horror heroine. Her voice kept making me having flashbacks to Sally Struthers and she just seemed to be flailing in the role. She’s definitely neither Jamie Lee Curtis nor even Gregory Peck.
Obviously a social worker with 38 cases under their belt would be a bit less naïve than Renee comes across. There are some interesting deaths and I have to give a begrudging respect to the film being rating R and not PG-13, but the results are still not noteworthy.
The film may have worked better if they had held their cards a little closer to the vest since we’ve seen all of the horror tropes in better movies. Even Renee looks sorta stunned by the whole thing on the film’s cover.
Case 39 is presented in a 1080p high definition transfer (2.35:1). Special features are presented in standard definition. The 8 minute “File under “Evil” is cast and crew interviews, the 4 minute “Turning up the Heat on the Chill Factor” (unsuccessfully I would add) is more interviews, the 3 minute “Inside the Hornet’s Nest” is about that attack, the 4 minute “Playing with Fire” details the burn makeup, and there are 30 minutes of deleted scenes.
Case 39 is cased closed on being a good movie. It seems the makers knew that too since it took a long time to actually escape into theaters where it was met with indifference. Renee should stick with musicals or romantic comedies because she has no career being a scream queen.
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FROM THE WEB
Further Reading on M&CBradley Cooper Biography -
Bradley Cooper Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesIan McShane Biography -
Ian McShane Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesRenee Zellweger Biography -
Renee Zellweger Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sites
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