Sunday, March 6, 2011


CASE 39 (2009)
Directed by Christian Alvart

Renee Zellweger - Emily Jenkins
Jodelle Ferland- Lillith Sullivan
Ian McShane - Det. Mike Barron

     A social worker fights to save a girl from her abusive parents, only to discover that the situation is more dangerous than she ever expected.

      I usually give horror movies a wide berth to let them get going and try to hit their stride. Some of them just hit it right off the bat and never stop, while some fizzle after the first fifteen minutes. And then there's the ones that wait till the end to get going which by that time you had enough yet you stick with it just to say you did see the whole movie even though you just wanted it to end.  Even when a movie is completely bad, I can usually find something in it to laugh at. It's when a bad movie tries to be more than it is that I get flustered with it. This is one of those movies.

     I must give credit to Jodelle Ferland for doing a decent job as the demon child Lillith Sullivan. It's the little things she does in this that helps sell her character. One scene that stands out is when Bradley Cooper is interviewing her alone and she just ticks her head to the side and just belittles him outright.  It's here that you actually get to see how evil she is. I will say that I could have done without the super-brat routine as she is supposed to be ultimate evil with powers of a demon. Speaking of Bradley Cooper, he did a great job with what he was given. After his interview with Lillith, he comes out haunted and lost. You know he just got his mind screwed with in more ways than one. Too bad they kill him off since he was the best actor in this movie considering what he had to work with. Now we come to Renee Zellweger's "I have no idea what I'm doing here" role. I've never been a fan of Zellweger as I've always seen her as a half rate Joey Lauren Adams who just got a more of a lucky break than she deserved. Here, her "bored get me out this, because it's just a paycheck" attitude in this movie just goes to prove that point even more.

     As for director Christian Alvart, since this was his first true big studio picture, he did fairly well considering the script he had to work with and the bigger name actors. He did have some interesting shots and angles he used but all of that is overshadowed and buried by the script from Ray Wright. It feels as if it was written by a 12 year old emo kid who watched the remake of The Omen and  The Exorcist back to back and had an idea that should have stayed in his head instead on paper. Yes, the first fifteen or so minutes are decent then it goes down hill after Lillith is saved from being a crispy critter in a oven. First thing that hits wrong is that Zellweger's Emily Jenkins asks for custody of un-crispy Lillith and child welfare service grants her temporary custody. I call bullshit on this movie right then and there. I'm a firm believer in suspension of dis-belief, more so in genre films, but this just went too far with that one. Also if this girl is so powerful, as is shown toward the end of this exercise in patience, how is she able to be shoved into a trunk of a sinking car. Then it gets better by showing a gigantic hulk like arm shooting through metal of said trunk to grab at an escaping Zellweger, but yet the demon child cannot rip the trunk to shreds to get out. Yep, that's right. Shitty writing!

     There was a reason why this movie took so long to see the light of day. The movie is just not scary (and no, pumping the sound mix doesn't equal scary). The scares that were there are just "boo" type scares, which are okay, if they were backed up with real scares. But alas, this movie has none, even when it had so many times where it could have been. The studio kept on trying to push this movie back and bury it and for good reason. JeNee said it best when she said she wanted the hour and a half back she lost thanks to this movie and I agree. If you want to see a movie by Alvart go and watch the so much superior Pandorum.

     Ian McShane's expertly placed dog deterrent that goes wrong.

     To know what your idea of hell is... and make you live there.

      The movie actually went into production in 2006, but wasn't released in the US until October of 2010.

     Case 39 was released in New Zealand in August of 2009 and opened up at # 12 at the box office there.

     While shooting one of the fire scenes for the movie, a special effect fire got out of control and burned the whole set down, including the studio stage it was built into and almost all of the crew's equipment. Nobody was seriously injured and filming resumed the very next day with equipment being hauled in from all over the world.
To bad the actual film didn't go up in flame as well!


  1. You hated this film almost as much as I did. :)

  2. Yeah, pretty bad movie this was. Paramount should have deep sixxed it in the Pacific