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Ahh another film review, we've been having a lot of "film nights in" recently hence all the film-related reviews.
So, this time we opted for something a little less action-y and a little more suspense-ful...ish.
Cast: Renee Zellweger, Ian McShane, Jodelle Ferland, Bradley Cooper
Director: Christian Alvart
Genre: Horror, mystery, thriller
Run Time: 109 mins
Release date: 2009
The plot revolves around Emily Jenkins, played by Renee Zellweger, an idealistic social worker dealing with a heavy case load of abusive and neglectful parents. She is given another case to deal with, case 39. This new case involves a young girl named Lily Sullivan with apparent signs of neglect. During a visit the parents are cagey and aggressive and the girl subdued.
Emily manages a quick word with the girl while her parents are in a meeting with another social worker and this conversation reveals sinister intentions. Then during a late night call from the girl, Emily and a local cop Detective Mike Barron, played by Ian McShane race to the house in order to save the girl and take her away from the dangerous parents.
Safe from her parents, the girl is allowed to stay with Emily while a foster home is located. However is now that Emily starts to see that everything she thought about case 39 is not quite what it seems.
I have only ever seen Renee Zellweger in more comedic roles and typical chick flicks, so it was quite refreshing to see her try something darker. I actually found she did a great job, and seemed to fulfil the role of overworked but determined social worker agent in a strong fashion. Her character came across as mature which I sometimes found it lacking in her other more "chick-flick" roles.
The girl Lily, played by Jodelle Ferland was brilliant. I had recently seen her in Silent Hill, so was already aware of her acting ability. She is convincing with both her look and her facial expressions that really help to convey her character.
The rest of the support cast, Ian McShane works well as the grizzled "seen it all" cop and Callum Keith Rennie and Kerry O'Malley as the girl's parents have a real haunting quality at times. Only Bradley Cooper who played Doug the child psychiatrist comes across a little "wrong" for the part.
However while the acting was good, the script was a little placid in places, however the overall mood of the film was driven pretty well by the actors.
I think the music and soundtrack worked well with the movie, I do remember feeling certain tension at points and while none of the music stuck with me, it did help to develop the tense and somewhat creepy scenes. Also they did some great use of silence to get across tense scenes which helped to build some of the suspense.
I found the storyline to be pretty decent, nothing major and it does not really have you guessing -if you didn't get it from the trailers you will soon realise just where the movie is going. There were not any real surprises revealed but there were some tension and shock scenes every now and then - however personally wouldn't categorise this as horror and I should point out I don't like horror or overly creepy films and am easily startled with scenes that any hardened horror fan would not even bat an eye at. So the fact I could watch this without looking away or cringing suggests "horror" is not really the right genre to put this into.
The movie ran at a nice pace, didn't take too long for anything to get started and it kept interesting throughout.
The ending it was a little weak compared to the rest of the movie but overall I did enjoy it, nothing horrifying or overly scary so if you aren't a big fan of being scared then you can probably cope well with this one. Would be happy to watch it again and recommend.
I watched this a little while ago and whilst it wasn't the greatest of thrillers, it was easy enough to watch for a quiet night in snuggled under the duvet.
Case 39 was directed by Christian Alvart, who has worked on a few things but Case 39 seems to be the first direction role title I recognise. We're introduced to Emily Jenkins (Renée Zellweger), a social worker who seems to truly want to help and find the best in people. When she comes across Lillith Sullivan, a stranger than usual case she's been assigned, she may have bitten off more than she can chew. The girl is a mere 10 years old and Jenkins can see she needs saving from her abusive parents, but what can she do?
Due in part to her need to rescue, Jenkins takes the girl on herself. Inviting her in to her own home may not have been the best choice she's ever made as she starts to realise that this little girl isn't all she seems. This is where the film crosses over in to the supernatural thriller realm, and from here on out we see the relationship between Emily Jenkins and Lillith develop, with Lillith gradually seeming more deranged. Can Jenkins come out of this alive and discover what's going on before it's too late?
I won't say any more on the premise, though the storyline concept wasn't too bad. Considering it's a 'supernatural thriller' I had expected far worse in terms of ghostly clichés and priests to rid the girl of evil demons, but luckily there was no Holy Water carrying priest in sight. This helped to keep it somewhat grounded and the sense of realism made it more credible to watch.
The film's overall sense of reasonable quality was mostly thanks to the cast, which included Renée Zellweger (as Emily Jenkins), Jodelle Ferland (Lillith Sullivan), Bradley Cooper (as friend Doug) and Adrian Lester (wayne) amongst others. Zellweger was fantastic as Jenkins, being both genuine in her motives without seeming too soft in an unbelievable fashion. The girl taken in to social care, Lillith, was actually played very well by Ferland, which isn't always the case unfortunately with child actors. She played the role well, coming across as both innocent and abused, and as sinister and deranged at the right times. The acting was a credit to the film and did make up for a few of the downsides.
Unfortunately, there were several downsides that limited this film. I felt the script was quite weak and could have been made tighter to liven up the film and add some pace. The sense of atmosphere was 'so-so' at times, with some relatively decent parts of darkness and creepiness, but it could have been much stronger. I think also the pace in general, which I found to be a tad on the slow side for the most part, diminished the sense of suspense and thrills. There was some element of mystery that made you want to keep watching, but a mixture of a weak script, slower pace and clichéd events kept this at a rather unmemorable standard.
Whilst this was easy enough to watch and probably better than I had expected given the genre, it still wasn't one that particularly stuck in my mind or that I'd give high recommendations for. You could do far worse because it had a strong cast, but overall it just had that 'could-have-been-better' feel to it.
DVD released 2010, rated Certificate 15
Selling on Amazon for £3.69
RELEASED: 2009, Cert. 15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 110 mins
DIRECTOR: Christian Alvart
PRODUCERS: Steve Golin & Kevin Misher
SCREENPLAY: Ray Wright
MUSIC: Michi Britsch
Renée Zellweger as Emily
Jodelle Ferland as Lily
Ian McShane as Det. Mike Barron
Bradley Cooper as Doug
Callum Keith Rennie as Edward Sullivan
Kerry O'Malley as Margaret Sullivan
Adrian Lester as Wayne
FILM ONLY REVIEW
When social worker Emily investigates a family whereby it is suspected that 10-year-old Lily is being maltreated by her parents, she catches the parents in the act of attempting to harm their daughter. Working closely with Det. Mike Baron, Emily removes Lily, temporarily sending her to a children's home, and the parents are arrested and put into top security psychiatric care for assessment.
Lily really wants to live with Emily, and after having much pressure put on her by the child, she (Emily) successfully manages to apply for full custody.
However, before long, it becomes very apparent that Emily has bitten off far more than she can chew when she made the decision to allow Lily to live with her, as there is more to the little girl than initially meets the eye.
That sets the scene....watch it yourself to see what happens!
Case 39 starts off very well. We are introduced to Emily, a caring social worker who is under a lot of pressure with several cases to deal with. When she investigates the Sullivan family, she is appalled by the domestic situation in which Lily is being raised.
After the very good initial beginning which is quite a slick and well-presented affair, once the film gets underway, it gradually crumbles down into something which although I still found it interesting and entertaining, the storyline wanders into avenues that lack credibility.
I have to confess that I did sort of guess the direction the story takes, but wasn't quite prepared for the way in which things would happen, and it was those suspense levels which kept me watching until the rather silly end.
All of the acting by the main cast is satisfactory, bordering upon very good, but I'd not place anybody up on a stage giving a speech whilst clutching some kind of shiny award. Because of the direction the storyline of Case 39 takes, some over-acting occurs....but such really is inevitable, given what happens in the film. I did quite like the musical score, which is a mixture of dramatic, fairly chilling orchestrated pieces, mixed with what sound like random electronic and percussive sounds....no doubt for effect.
As far as Case 39 as a whole film is concerned, it is gripping and very watchable, but goes way over the top, turning out to be quite ludicrous in parts as it chunters towards the somewhat daft ending. There are a few rather neat camera angles, and I did jump a couple of times, so as far as the production/direction is concerned, this is rather a sleek and polished film.....but, the storyline turns into something different to what most viewers (after having watched the first twenty or so minutes) probably would expect. For me, that is a shame because I felt the initial set scene could have evolved into something extremely harrowing and moving (in an intelligent way), but it obviously had to stick to the screenplay which does partially fall on its face after a while.
Whilst watching the first part of Case 39, I was inventing all sorts of storylines in my head...some of them I feel were quite good, so maybe I'm in the wrong job?... and that resulted in me being a little disappointed with what came next.
What could have been presented as a deep, serious and highly thought-provoking film, turned into a bit of a psycho-thriller farce that ended up relying far too much on special effects....plus, the storyline as it stands is unthinkable, because if it were possible for something like this to happen in real life, I'm sure it wouldn't be handled in the way that it is.
However, despite its faults, Case 39 is high on entertainment value and does contain a couple of medium-degree scary-ish moments, but it also has to be said that it's just another film in a long line, spanning four decades, where a child turns out to be something different to what people anticipate....and, as far as the handling of this subject is concerned, it has been done better.
Case 39, although I quite enjoyed it in a borderline trashy sort of way, isn't a film that I'd actively seek out to watch again, as it's one of those that once you've seen it and know what happens, there isn't enough substance to warrant a second or repeated viewings. The entertainment factor is quite high and worthwhile, but anybody choosing to watch this film would have to be prepared for it beginning very well, but ultimately turning out to be rather silly. I'm not sorry that I watched it, but won't be in a hurry to repeat the experience.
At the time of writing, Case 39 can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £3.36 to £14.99
Uised: from £2.98 to £15.00
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
'What are you doing, you silly pumpkin head?'
The line that on the outset isn't all that special, but when you hear those words uttered on your television set as you watch Case 39 you will feel an almost other worldly shiver crawl down your spine. Case 39 is directed by Christian Alvart who most recently helped create the world of Pandorum. Now comes a film about a young child traversing the line between good and evil and the results are a little surprising.
The film features the much loved Renee Zellweger who everyone remembers from Bridget Jones, sadly this film plays her as the damsel in distress and the results aren't that great. Emily Jenkins (Renee Zellweger) is an overworked, under paid social worker with 38 open cases and as the film begins her boss Wayne kindly throws her Case number 39. Case 39 is a little girl called Lillith Sullivan, from the outset things don't look good for the young girl, she seems neglected, not cared for and as she is brought in Emily realises that there is much more than meets the eye with Lillith.
Emily takes a trip to Mr and Mrs Sullivan's house and finds herself shocked by little Lilith's parents who seem to have little time and little care for the young girl. Her fears are realised as she receives a phone call from Lillith in the middle of the night and as she bursts through the parents front door, is left aghast as she see's Mr and Mrs Sullivan locking their little girl in their oven. After a brief, all be it violent outburst from her best friend John, the parents are sub-dued and the child is set free.
Sadly for Emily things have only just begun for her and as the movie progresses she realises that maybe it wasn't such a bad idea burning, this supposedly 'cute' child, alive.
The whole atmosphere of the film is pretty chilling, from the get go you feel that something is wrong and as the story progresses the general atmosphere becomes darker. It never gets far enough to make you jump through your skin or leap for the nearest pillow to cover your face, but it still leaves you wondering what's going to happen next. Alvart does a pretty good job of making the film look dank, dark and spine chilling with little help from special effects or even the soundtrack.
The film itself does move along quite nicely, not slow enough to bore you and not quick enough to confuse you and leave you lost. Starting out with the visit to the Parents house and the weirdness ensues you'll find that before too long the child is happily hugging Emily and then just as you start to think how 'cute' a family they are you find yourself wishing for the same outcome to the film as Emily.
The films biggest downfall is Renee who is completely out of her depth in Case 39. She can play a role in a Rom-Com to perfection, but her attempts of being angry beyond belief or scared are quite frankly dire. Her part is unbelievable and although she does just about enough to make you connect with her character and root for her when the shit hits the proverbial fan, your still left thinking that if she does end up the victim then it's no real loss to the movie. She tries to be a caring mother to the young child, yet in the scenes when she is all happy in a family environment she conveys no loving emotion and it makes a lot of the film almost feel awkward.
Bradley Cooper seems to serve little more purpose than being the eye candy in the movie who like so many others is slain before their character has a chance to develop. Granted he does a sterling job when he does show up on screen, especially as he is interviewed by Lillith, even the audience will feel a little uneasy as the two of them finish with poor Doug looking like he's just seen the Devil incarnate. Emily's best friend John, played by Ian McShane, is a nice breath of fresh air in the movie, acting as the cop who'll happily bend the rules for a friend. Instantly upon meeting John you will have a nice little bond with him as let's face it, most every cop will happily bend a few rules for a friend. Ultimately as you watch John you soon realise he, like Doug, is nothing more than a dead body who's only being kept alive to keep the audience interested and have someone that they connect with up on screen.
Now for the true gem in Case 39, Lillith Sullivan, played by the unbelievably talented Jodelle Ferland. Case 39 is by no means a special film, and far from perfect, needless to say despite that it still is a must buy just to witness this young girl playing one of the most chilling child roles seen since The Omen. Jodelle does an amazing job of flicking between her innocent and evil personas and acts both roles out with absolute perfection. When she's innocent you will feel for her, her past and what her parents have 'done' to her, but as quick as you feel for her she forces you to despise her. When the plot evolves and you figure out what Lillith truly is you start to realise just how good Jodelle is. Every smirk has a lashing of distinct horror, her eyes pierce through your skull every time you happen to glance upon her and even the way she walks and goes about her day to day rituals reeks of pure evil and it is amazing for such a hard gift to be pulled of by someone so young. Her entire part is summed up when she almost hisses the line 'What are you doing, you silly pumpkin head?' to her adopted mother under a bed, the sinister smile she has painted on her face is by far the most memorable moment of Case 39 and shows just how much talent young Jodelle has.
End Credits The plot itself is nothing special and it doesn't exactly stand out from the very cramped horror crowd. Saying that it is becoming increasingly harder to create a truly original horror film in the modern world of special effects and green screens. Alvart takes a mighty fine whack at Case 39, a film which both raises the hairs on the back of your neck and has you clawing for your favourite teddy. It is riddled with horror clichés, screaming women, evil little girls and family members who appear evil, but actually on closer look aren't. Despite all this it is still a very good film. Jodelle carries the rest of the cast and despite some nice performances from both Bradley Cooper and Ian McShane, Jodelle is the shining light who's presence on screen is unmatched by any child in a very long time. Renee was a let down, but again her flaws are wiped away as soon as Lillith enters a room.
Case 39 is going to win no Oscars, but that's not to say it's a film that should be simply neglected and left in the Blockbuster bargain bin. It will have you thinking about where the line between wrong and right is, you'll be talking about what 'you would do' for hours after and you get to see one of the best performances by a youngster this decade let alone this year. Despite being a standard run of the mill good and evil child movie, it still flows well enough to keep the audience interested from start to finish. If you haven't watched this yet get yourself on Play and lookout for this diamond in the rough. If you liked this why not try: 'The Omen' or 'The Orphan'.
To say I was just a little sceptical when seeing that Renee Zellweger was starring in a crime thriller would be an understatement. Although I had been told this was an excellent film, there was a lot of arm twisting from my partner to get me to watch it. However, it was made to eat my words.
The premise of Case 39 is based around an idealistic social worker played by Zellweger who takes a young girl (Lillith) into custody so as to save her from her abusive parents. However, as the story goes on and the plot thickens we learn that the young girl is not as innocent as Emily (Zellweger's character) thinks. By opening her home to Lillith, she has begun a deadly nightmare and faces a fight to survive
Bradley Cooper who was also in The Hangover co-stars and without giving too much away, meets a quite gruesome end along with some other quite graphic and startling surprises throughout.
In general, parts of the film are quite slow but it builds the plot quite well. The star of the show is the young girl playing Lillith and I don't think I've ever seen a scarier young lady (she also starred in Silent Hill). Renee Zellweger plays the role well to my great surprise, having not been a huge fan of her previous work.
Case 39 is a clever crime thriller that I would definitely recommend for a Sunday night in. My personal disappointment was the ending which could have been made far better in my opinion with the number of options that the plot manages to develop. However, all in all it's a good watch
I was sceptical when I first heard about this movie. Renee Zellweger in a thriller? I wasn't too keen on the trailer, it seemed like it wouldn't end well with the demonic paranormality that somehow manages to procure bugs from within Bradley Cooper. But anyhow, I like thrillers and thought I'd give this one a go.
~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
Emily (Renee Zellweger) is a social worker who stumbles on a mysterious case surrounding a young girl Lily (Jodelle Ferland), whose parents tried to kill her, believing she was a demon. Emily applies for custody of Lily and takes her into her own home, like her own daughter. All is well until the people close to Emily mysteriously die after receiving a phone call from Emily's phone. If she didn't call them, who did?
Lily's parents tell Emily that the past ten years they've lived with her, their family have all died off one by one and they have been plotting to kill her- it is the only way. With that advice at hand, Emily fights with her conscience and sanity to put an end to this once and for all.
Admittedly, the intrigue is there from the beginning. Why are the parents trying to kill her? But this question is soon answered with the rather too hasty death of one of Emily's "friends". The plot is therefore set- A demonic girl causes mysterious deaths to the people close to the one from whom she seeks love. Isn't that a contradiction in itself? If you want someone to love you, you DON'T kill off their favourite people!
Despite this big flaw, the movie does keep you on your toes for the most part, but almost all the "scares" and "jumps" are predictable. In a movie, when anyone walks into a dark closet, you expect something to jump out. When anyone looks under a bed or into a dark area, something is going to happen. I love it when Emily goes into Lily's old house looking for stuff and picks up an alarm clock- Yup you know it. It's going to go off. Though I have to admit, that did make me jump (just a bit)!
So with this demonic girl who seems to know you every move and escapes unscathed, what are you to do? Lily's parents shoved her in an oven which was rather new I thought. Though, if you watch right to the end, you'd question why her inner demonic powers didn't allow her to break free given everything you've witnessed happen- if she can break down doors and cause walls to crack, surely an oven is no match for her!
Therefore, I think a more religious balance needed to be introduced into the film. What the film makers don't realise is that they are suggesting that a mere human being can kill a powerful demon. Thus the ending I thought was slightly anti-climatic. The way they make do with the characters are a bit too "easy". There was also a lack of catharsis with which they could've brought a twist into it. Cliche as it may be, a phone ringing at the end with the muffled noise would hint that all is not over for poor -Bridget Jones- I mean Renee Zellweger.
Renee Zellweger- Emily Jenkins
Bradley Cooper- Doug
Jodelle Ferland- Lily
As I mentioned, this is definitely not a movie made for Renee Zellweger. As believable as Zellweger is as a social worker, bring her Bridget Jones' charm to the role, she should NEVER EVER star in a horror thriller. She looked scared and I believed her, but grabbing a screwdriver and trying to make us believe she is going to stab a 10 year old girl is completely infallible.
I have to give it to Jodelle Ferland for making her role as demon girl quite horrifying. She is definitely a sweet girl and when her demonic rages are over, that smile may win some over, but her eyes are definitely scary. It will be hard for me to watch any movies in the future that stars her without thinking she is demonic.
Also stars Ian McShane, Adrian Lester and Alexander Conti.
The film has its obvious flaws but even still, it manages to feature some classic jumps and follows a typical formula in the genre. The film was enjoyable to some degree if we throw out our sense of logic and common sense. Zellweger is obviously miscast though Ferland does an excellent job. I can't help but think this film too closely resembles Orphan (I haven't seen it, but thought it might be similar). In that respect, I would not recommend this film if you are wanting a genuine scare/thrill. If you want to see Renee Zellweger running around screaming like crazy, go for it.
We actually got this on blue ray as we had some vouchers for Block Buster, however I'm sure it's the same film as a standard dvd. Looking at everyones ratings I'm surprised it's only 3 stars as both me and my dad thought this was an amazing film; and I think even my dad was shocked he liked it.
So Renee Zellweger plays the leading role in the form of Emily, a social worker (who of course get's too involved in a case). A young Jodelle Ferland who personally plays the role of Lilith brilliantly and has that whole era about her. Two british actors who play parts of Zellwegers' team within the social work centre are Ian McShane and Adrian Lester (Who has done a graet job to make it from 'Hustle' to a top US film with a leading lady such as herself). And then we have the popualr Bradley Cooper who plays Doug another team member, but also very good friends to Emily. Along with a whole list of other cast members, these are the main ones I would say.
Ok so without giving too much away like I said Zellweger is a social worker on her 39th case and get's too involved in it. What appears to be a child who is being abused by her parents, is in actual fact a very twisted turn of the truth. When Lilith is taken away from her parents after they tried to cook her in the oven (and yes you heard me right, that is what happened) Zellweger ends up tempoary fostering the child in her home...major mistake!! The plot thickens throughout with the twist unearthing to quite a good and unexpected climax; although were you think it is going to be over and the film about to finish, it's not and you still have another 30 minutes left.
*** Overally Thoughts
I apologise if I haven't provided enough of the plot but too much and it really will spoil the film. As I said the film was a pure random rental as we had a voucher, I looked at the case and packaging and thought it looked good; like the genre of film I enjoy. I enjoy pyschological thrillers, which I thought this was, however when I have just checked it actually comes under: horror, mystery and thriller; going off some of the scenes, particuarly at the beggining I can understand why it comes under horror in particular. I mentioned in the plot about an 'oven baking' scene we shall call it for now, and well that is quite a over whelming and power scene which takes place right at the beggining of the film around 15 minutes. You can understand with a scene such as this one displayed at such an early stage within the film, it does make you wonder what on earth is yet to come during the main section.
During some fo these scenes I did check the box and it is only rated a 15, which to be I think is quite young, as even me and my dad thought it was quite much and the story was quite powerful. On the box it stated that the guardian rated the film 4 stars and yet online it appears to only get around half way on the star review front, which I disagree with as it was definitely a great film in my eyes; and like I said even my dad got into it and thoguht it was good.
It was on for 109 minutes and it did feel like a good heavty film (basically in my opinion not just what minor build up and then an instant final stage) It was constant suspense throughout. It was out in 2009 which I can't remember it being showed at the pictures, although if it was out again I would go and watch it and would definitely reccomend it friends and family, just possibly warn them it's not for the faint hearted, in my opinion.
Hope this helps
A friend of mine advised me to watch this movie so when my husband went to play tennis two days ago, and my little girl was a sleep, I finally got some time for myself and watched this Renee Zellweger thriller.
Publication year; 2009
Director; Christian Alvart
Genre; Crime and thriller
Duration; 109 minutes
The movie is about a social worker named Emily (Renee Zellweger) who lives for her job. She is case manager of children who are in abusive homesituations and this job isn't the easiest one. She gets a 39th case, about a girl named Lillith who has had a lot of trouble keeping up her grades and one of her teachers thought something might be wrong at home.
Lillith's parents are weird and scary, so the first time Emily visits them, she senses something is really wrong, but because she doesn't have any evidence about any abuse, she can't do much about it. She asks help from her friend Mike, a policeman. When Emily gives Lillith her phonenumber, the real trouble starts. Lillith calls Emily because her parents want to do something to her. After a dramatic happening she gets taken away from her parents and Emily takes her in as a foster child. Shortly after Lillith arrives at Emily's home, weird things start to happen. What is wrong with this girl and is anything wrong with her or is it all just Emily?
I like the storyline, which made me think of the sixth sense. The entire story is mysterious, sometimes horrific, easy to follow and has a great young actress that really gives you chills (15 year old Jodelle Ferland, who plays 10 year old Lillith). I unfortunately think Renee Zellweger should really stick to Bridget Jones type of movies, as she has an annoying voice which irritated me all the way through the movie. She isn't convincing as an adoptive mum and she isn't convincing when she is scared. So overall, a movie with enough scary moments, but a leading actress that isn't made for these type of thriller movies.
Case 39 stars Renee Zellweger (Bridget Jones) as a social worker Emily Jenkins who is enlisted on a new case (no 39) of a child abuse case. The parents are in fact trying to kill their 10 year old daughter Lilith (Jodelle Ferland). After interviewing them and being drawn in to see how awful these parents are Emily tells the child to ring her should anything else happen. She then gets a frightened call and when she gets to the house she hears screams and without going into too much detail I was quite shocked at what they were doing to her!
Emily takes the child away and the parents go to a mental hospital. Lilith then becomes attached to Emily and asks if she can come live with her which is then arranged. (only in the movies eh?)
The little angel girl plays the sugar and spice character and you are pulled along with it until things start to go wrong and people start dying around Emily. Perhaps the parents weren't mad after all.
I was a bit sceptical about watching this film after reading a few bad reviews but I liked the look of it so decided to watch it anyway. My first thought was what was Renee Zellweger doing in a thriller? There is something about her accent that always seems false to me. Saying all that she wasn't too bad to watch but I much prefer her in comedies.
The young girl Lilith was superb as the scary evil child. She even made me seem a bit scared. The way she could switch from sweet little innocent girl to the devil child with slight changes in her actions was incredible for a girl of her age. She played the role perfectly of the innocent victim.
Ian McShane (Lovejoy) was another strange casting role as the police officer helping Emily. At first I was a bit concerned but after I got used to it.
Bradley Cooper plays the child psychologist well and is also Emily's best friend, when he interviews Lilith the scene between the two is very creepy.
If you like creepy films then you will like this one, there is a part that goes on through the film where you are shouting at the film 'don't do it', and you know what is going to happen next. There was also a part in the film where I watched it through peeping fingers. Although this is only a few minutes of the film this wouldn't be enough for hardcore horror enthusiasts. There are also only slight demon glances (the odd strange arm and split second demonic face)
Overall this is not a 'jump out of your seat' scary film (apart from the odd barking dog) and it's a story that has been done ten times over in different ways so it's not original but it is entertaining and I did enjoy it. It could have been done so much better though with a better script and more gripping tension.
Emily Jenkins is dedicated to her job as a social worker and spends her time doing nothing but making sure the children in her cases are safe and happy. When she receives her 39th case she finds out that the parents are trying to kill their 10 year old daughter, Lilith. After a troubling call from Lilith, Emily arrives at her house just in time to stop her crazy parents from killing their daughter and Emily decides to take Lilith in and look after her herself.
But soon bad things begin to happen to people around Emily and people she cares about are found dead in the most terrifying ways. Speaking to Lilith's parents who are locked up in a mental hospital, Emily realises that Lilith isn't as sweet and innocent as she makes out to be and case 39 is about to become a whole lot worse.
~ Cast ~
Emily Jenkins - Renée Zellweger
Lilith Sullivan - Jodelle Ferland
Douglas Ames - Bradley Cooper
Detective Mike Barron - Ian McShane
Wayne - Adrian Lester
Jodelle Ferland, who plays Lilly, the young and very troubled girl, I thought was an excellent actress. She was the perfect person to play the part of Lilith as she looks completely sweet, innocent and angelic but she managed to make herself look evil and malicious just by a simple change in her facial expressions. Her very sweet and high-pitched voice and big sad eyes draw you in and make you think that she's such a lovely little girl. But when she turns into the demon child her sweet voice starts to sound like it's mocking you and the whole innocent persona seems completely fake. She also managed to act and sound like a child one minute and then like an adult the next.
I thought that both Renée Zellweger and Bradley Cooper were slightly strange casts for a thriller movie as they're usually only in rom-coms but they both surprised me and were actually pretty good in this genre of film. You can't help but like Renée Zellweger's character, Emily, as she's caring and kind by taking in a little girl she barely knows. But we don't actually find out that much about Emily so I felt like I couldn't totally warm to her as I didn't know much about her character outside from work.
Being a scary film, it did make me jump in quite a few places but this was often when you thought something was about to happen because the music and suspense builds up, but then it turns out to be nothing at all. I didn't feel the usual terror and panic that I often do when watching scary movies and it didn't have me cowering in my seat or grabbing the arm of the person sitting next to me. I kind of knew when the actual scary parts were about to happen as the demon child is constantly around, so it didn't really give the film much suspense.
This is an average thriller movie for me - I like something a bit more scary that gets the adrenaline pumping and the heart racing and this wasn't really quite scary enough. For Alex though, who's a complete wimp and hates watching scary films, this was OK for him as it wasn't too scary! I think the storyline is a good one and the acting is all good enough so I would recommend it if you enjoy these types of films, but just don't expect too much from it.
Certificate rating: 15
Running time: 110 minutes
Director: Christian Alvart
Although I am the biggest wimp alive, I do love going to see a good scary at the cinema. So last Saturday night, my friend and I bravely went to see the latest scary out, Case 39 starring Renee Zellwegger. Its not often you get a big name Hollywood star in horror films so I thought it must be pretty good. It also had Bradley Cooper in it as well as Ian McShane (aka Lovejoy for all those that remember that!) and a whole host of smaller name actors that I recognised from other things but don't know the name of.
Renee Zellweger plays a social worker, Emily ,with a busy worklife and not much time for anything else, despite her friend Dougs attempts to persuade her (played by Bradley Cooper, who on earth would turn him down?!). At work she is struggling to cope with a caseload of 38 children but is given one more case to add to the pile. Case 39 is of a little girl called Lileth who has become very withdrawn and quiet at school prompting concern. When Emily first goes to see the family the parents are quite obviously odd and the father seems to have real anger issues. Concerned about the child Renee tries to get her boss (who used to be in the BBC drama Hustle) to remove the child but he is not convinced. One night Renee gets a phone call from the little girl saying she is scared and when she rushes round to the house she discovers the parents trying to trap her in the oven. Lileth is then allowed to live with Emily and the pair seem really happy together. Until strange things start happening and one by one Emilys friends keep dying in mysterious circumstances...its seems the innocent little girl is not so innocent after all!
This film was pretty good with an enjoyable storyline, although predictable as most horror films are. It had some really good jumpy moments, although most of these actually involved some non scary things such as when people pop up from round the corner in a decoy jumpy moment. The idea of a creepy little girl doing horrible things has always been a scary concept and this was done very well. I think the actual action and 'scary' moments could have been better, as much as I jumped like mad there were no really gorey bits or really terrifying special effects. The worst special effects moment for me involved some hornets which was mostly just gross, but I wont go into more detail as I don't want to ruin the story.
Renee Zellweger was good in it although it wasn't her best performance, I think she is more suited to comedy than horror as I kept expecting her to do say something stupid. I thought Bradley Cooper was really good in it, it helps that he is hot but also it was nice to see him in a softer role rather than his usual loud, ladies man type roles.
I think I would recommend this as a good , jumpy dvd to watch but not necessarily to see at the cinema. I think that if you are a real horror fan you might be disappointed but otherwise it was a decent film.
Oh dear, where do I begin?.............
This story is about a social worker, she lives by herself and has a close male friend. She becomes involved in "case 39", a 10 year old girl who is seemingly being abused by her parents. The social worker gives this little girl her phone number and tells her to ring if ever she needs to. Low and behold later that night the girl rings and says she is scared, the social worker darts to the house to rescue the child who is being put through quite an ordeal..... her parents have put her in the oven (Hansel and Gretel anyone?)
Anyway, the kid soon winds up living with the social worker, as the plot develops it soon becomes clear that sugar and spice is not what this little girl is made of, shes made of something quite dark and unnatural.
The social worker then spends her time keeping the demon kid happy, whilst secretly trying to uncover the secrets about her and discover who (or what) she is, including by questioning the parents - who of course had been trying to kill the girl on account of her being evil.
The girls 'evil' is nothing too spectacular or intriguing either, basically she can sense whats going and she can make bad things happen/realise a victims worst fear. But I wouldn't get to excited as there is only 1 scene like this, one little scene that lasts about 2 minutes, the movie could have used more scenes where the kid is using her evil powers, because if your going down the supernatural evil child route, you can't really get away with just 1 scene.
The movie desperately tries to make the main character like able, so the viewers can easily place themselves in her position as she searches for answers about this devil child (which is no bad thing for a movie), but by doing so the character feels bland and boring, with no real substance to her, it's like watching a talking prop. A boring main character is a no-no.
After the kid movies in with the social worker, the film plays tennis with itself, it bats back and forth 2 variations of the same scene........ Scenes where the social worker tries to uncover secrets whilst being made to feel awkward by the girl, and scenes where she is just playing along with the girl to keep her calm.
By the end of the movie absolutely NO secrets have been uncovered, it ends in a slightly dramatic but predictable way and the viewer is given absolutely no explanation ,therefore we are left with many questions like what was the child? who was the child?where did she come from? and WHY was she there? It's just stupid.
The movie was pointless, dull characters, a plot that lingers around the exact same themes throughout, and no explanation or "wrap up". And just to confuse us even more there was a pointless, unrelated, and confusing flashback scene towards the end.
So, if you like an unsatisfying plot line, forgettable characters and a confusing end...... watch it. If you like your movies to be at least half decent, then don't.
However..... after all that the acting was really good, the social worker was played by Renee Zellweger and the little girl is played by Jodelle Ferland. It's not Renee's fault her character stank and she's worth a lot more that his film, and Jodelle Ferland was really good. The acting isn't at fault at all.
If you want to see a good supernatural evil kid film then buy Stephen Kings "Pet Sematary" instead.
Creepy little kids are always a good stepping stone when making a horror film. Children in general are unpredictable and you can never expect them to think rationally. So imagine the amount of trouble the parents will be in when the children are either possessed by the devil or are deeply, psychologically twisted. Whatever expression they put on their faces can be interpreted as something malicious and pure evil. Whether they're smiling, laughing, screaming, crying, or remaining completely emotionless, (possibly the most terrifying one out of the lot) they're spooky. This is probably why it's been such a popular concept used so widely in films and for an infinitely long period of time that it's not showing any signs of disappearing.
"Case 39" was actually completed around 2 years ago - long enough for the director, Christian Alvart, to complete another disappointing science-fiction horror flick "Pandorum." But possibly due to the studio's lack of faith in the film the release date kept getting pushed back. This was supposed to be released on 11th December 2009 in the U.K, but the film was finally released in March: a luckier fate for sure, since a film this disappointing and unoriginal would most likely have been released straight to DVD.
Renée Zellweger is Emily Jenkins, a social worker who's relatively new to her job, about to face her most challenging case yet. Lilith (Jodelle Ferland), a sweet, innocent-looking girl, is being abused by her parents. On one occasion, they actually try to kill her (an incident involving some duck-tape, an oven and a kitchen knife - possibly the best part of the whole film). The seemingly lunatic parents are arrested and Emily thinks it's a good idea for Lilith to come stay at her place. However the sweetness and warmth between the two only last a very short period of time (thank god), and before you know it, terrible, gothic events are starting to occur around them. Lilith is not as innocent as she seems. It takes a while for Emily to put all the pieces in the puzzle together but eventually she gets there and ends up finding herself in mortal danger.
There are some old-fashioned jump-scares that try to reel you in as much as possible but the whole film is a cliché, full of ideas we have already seen a million times. Rather than improving on them with a tiny bit of originality, the director chooses to bombard the screen with predictable, repetitive junk. Bees used for a moment of terror? Already seen a grittier, more stylish version in "Candyman." Creaky floors and flimsy doors? Jack Nicholson dealt with them like a real man in "The Shining." A pale, long dark-haired girl? Linda Blair set the high standard with her head-spinning, green gunk vomiting, husky-voiced character in "The Exorcist." Emily Jenkins is without a doubt one of the most pathetic leading female characters in a horror film, failing to do a single productive thing to help herself.
Zellweger tries to conquer the horror genre, having completed romantic-comedy, musical and drama. But she fails miserably. She was cute and loveable as the chubby Bridget, she impressed us all with her dancing and singing skills as Roxie in "Chicago," and her true acting potential showed in "Cold Mountain." But what happened here? The most obvious problem is the fact that she can't scream. When she's delivering the all-too-many variations of "Get away from me!" or "Leave me/her/us alone!" for the one thousandth time, it becomes harder and harder to believe that she actually means it. We're not sensing fear, nor are we sensing even the tiniest bit of desperation. It's just as bad if not worse, when her character decides to go through a major change and turns into a vengeful, tough woman.
Something that has such a limp script and cast to start with generally does not have a reasonable, logical ending. "Case 39" does exactly that, which is why this is so instantly forgettable. Perhaps the only redeeming factor is Ferland who gives a steady performance as the scary child but again, we've seen much scarier versions and there's nothing special about her. A complete waste of time and film, this is a serious misstep for Zellweger's career, something that could possibly mirror the impact that "Mommie Dearest" had on Faye Dunaway.
Horror is my favourite film genre and I have been watching horror movies since I was a little girl which has caused me to become somewhat desensitised. There isn't much that scares me anymore but there were some really freaky parts in this film that had me peering through the gaps in my fingers.
Christian Alvart certainly did a better job with this film than he did with Pandorum.
Social worker Emily Jenkins (Renee Zellweger) embarks on her 39th case centering around the welfare and wellbeing of a little girl, Lilleth Sullivan (Jodelle Ferland).
Early in the story, it is believed that the parents of Lilleth are mistreating her and so the services decide to place Lilleth into care.
After some investigating, Emily's findings suggest that Lilleth has been subjected to some horrific torture, the worst being when she finds the little girls parents have shut her in the oven.
After Lilleth is removed from her family home she manages to convince Emily to let her stay with her. This is when things start getting a little weird. Odd things start happening and people around her start dropping like flies.
Upon further investigation, it becomes apparent that things aren't quite what they seem and this is no ordinary 10yr old girl. Finally Emily starts to take notice of the girls parents, who's lives have been a living hell ever since Lilleth was born.
Further into the movie it is uncovered that Lilleth is actually a demon, sounds a bit corny and has been done so many times before I know!
The only way that she can be stopped is to be killed. Emily's first attempt at this fails miserably when she sets fire to her house, thinking that Lilleth will burn to death inside, but as Emily stands outside watching the flames consume her home, Lilleth appears by her side. Emily then finds herself back to square one when killing Lilleth proves to be far more difficult than she thought.
I am quite surprised with all the negative reviews I have read about this film. I think there were far worse horror films to come out of 2009/10.
I was a little skeptical before watching this as the thought of Zellweger playing a role in a horror movie didn't really seem appropriate but in my opinion she did a good job and played the role well.
Jodelle Ferland did a wonderful job of playing the role of Lilleth. The acting was ourstanding, making her character very believable. On the surface she was as sweet as syrup, but there was a malevolance underneath that really shone through. Such a disturbing, creep little girl.
I would have liked to have seen the main detectives role played by someone other than Ian McShane, unfortuneately all those years of Lovejoy prevented me from being able to take his character seriously.
If you like horror I would recommend watching this. There are some truly terrifying parts!
Social work ranks as one of the most under-appreciated jobs in the civilised world. Even at a time when 16% of children suffer serious maltreatment at the hands of their parents (NSPCC figures), social work continues to be seriously under-resourced, and when the system fails, the tabloid lynch mob scapegoating drowns out any critical appraisal of whether funding might be an issue. When social workers intervene too soon, they're looking at a lawsuit; too late, and they're looking at a tragedy.
So if you're a young 'un and a film like Precious had set you thinking that maybe social work could be in your future, will a film like this put you off? Renee Zellwegger plays Emily Jenkins, who already has 38 files, and her 39th (hence the title) is that of Lilith Sullivan (played by Jodelle Ferland). On visiting the family home, Lilith seems withdrawn and afraid, mom (Kerry O'Malley) presents as resentful of any intrusion while dad (Callum Keith Rennie) refuses to participate in any direct verbal interaction, preferring instead to relay whispered answers via his wife.
Emily senses all is not well in the Sullivan household, and voices her concern to both her boyfriend, child psychologist Doug (Bradley Cooper) and police detective Mike (Ian "Lovejoy" MacShane). While initially skeptical, Emily's concerns seem well placed, as the Sullivan parents are prevented from roasting their daughter alive in a gas oven. After intervention, Lilith needs a new home and Emily reaches out and offers hers - but she soon discovers Lilith is not all she seems.
This borrows much from last year's hit horror "Orphan", even in its finale, but is a much poorer offering. While the initial intrigue lasts, the film does rather well. But when we figure out early on which way the film is going, it loses its impact. It's the sheer lack of originality that's most disappointing. Zellwegger does her usual constipated face to show concern, and her scary on-the-verge-of-tears look also works, and you get the feeling that if the script and plot were better, she would have carried this off. As it is, the lack of imagination and the overall predictability lets her down, as does Jodelle Ferland, who just isn't scary like Isabelle Fuhrmann was. Ian Macshane's American accent is quite impressive, and reminiscent of those 70's detective series Naked Gun parodies so well.
But these positives aside, the film's a right turkey. I'm all for accepting what's scary is highly subjective, but if you were disturbed by this, then you probably run and hide in the cellar every time the doorbell rings. The build-up and tension miss the mark, as do a few planned "boo!" moments, and while my sense of disbelief can be suspended to quite an extent in the right circumstances, I just didn't bear enough goodwill towards what they were trying to do here to suspend it as far as they wanted.
In fact, I suspect that you'll hear more disturbing stories from the case files of real life social workers, which indicates how far short this film has fallen of any real credibility. So if you do think your future lies in social work, go ahead and watch it. If it gives you nightmares, perhaps a career re-think is in oreder.