Starring: Renee Zellweger, Bradley Cooper, Ian McShane, Jodelle Ferland
Directed By: Christian Alvart
Rating: 3.5 out of 10
A social worker takes on a case where the parents are abusing their child. As she gets more involved it is clear there is more than meets the eye to this story and her life starts to unravel.
To really make a decent horror you must have scenes that stick with the viewer long after the film is over. It could be a scene with a violent or bloody death. It could be disturbing imagery that makes you shiver just thinking about it. It could also be something as simple as a creature jumping out of the darkness. Bottom line is you need something to make your film stand out. This film will basically be forgotten by the time the credits start to role. Case 39 is the story of a social worker named Emily. She fights to save a girl from her abusive parents only to discover there is something more sinister to the situation.
When the most frightening thing is seeing Renee Zellwegers botched Botox on Blu-Ray you know the film is in trouble. Or that makes this the scariest movie in recent memory depending on how much of an ass you want to be. Anyways I knew very little about this film going in so I was pleasantly surprised with how this film started out. You are introduced to Emily as she struggles to balance her hectic workload as a social worker. The films darker cinematography allows you to get into the slower storyline a little easier as you know something violent is just around the corner. The film captured my attention as Emily’s battle to get a little girl named Lily away from her parents is a great watch. A scene where she interviews the accused abusive parents will give you the willies. After the solid opening, this film degenerates into random scenes of violence and destruction. It is asking the viewer to go on this strange journey with no real resolution to it. Throughout this whole ordeal with Lily and her parents Emily is plagued by bad luck and personal tragedy. This will hardly register with the viewer as it just isn’t interesting or frightful to watch.
The casting is not off in this film and that is why it doesn’t make sense this film was so awful. Emily played by Rene Zellweger is pretty good with the role as a social worker. She was believable during the more frantic moments and was a good lead in a genre she is not normally known for. Her costars Bradley Cooper playing a child psychologist Doug, and Ian McShane playing a detective Mike both allow the story to flourish where it needs to. The only thing off casting wise was the girl Lily played by Jodelle Ferland. She is obnoxious to look at and it detracts from the film. She is okay as the abused child but there is something about her delivery that is akin to hearing fingernails on a chalkboard. She is cringe worthy for most of the film and should have been recast.
As the film progresses you will quickly realize that this will be a movie no one will ever talk about. The strange occurrences happening to Emily are laughable instead of scary. The people dying in this film are murdered either off camera or in such stupid ways that it doesn’t work. There is no excuse for a film to have such pitiful kill sequences when it is Rated R. The slightly religious undertone of this film is just an excuse to throw big insects, large dogs, body possession, and hallucinations at the viewers with no affect. Sure a scene where child psychologist Doug interviews Lily about her living situation is bone chilling but that is the only scene I really remember standing out. You are supposed to feel the plight of Emily as this case unravels her world but all you really feel is contempt for the lame visuals and predictable story. The film slowly makes its way to a rather pitiful ending and you will be left wondering who this movie was even supposed to be targeting.
Director Christian Alvart clearly needs to brush up on his horror films. This film gets the slower dialogue scenes down but when it comes to the big payoff kills it falls way short. Also this film plays out more like a PG-13 rated film and there is no excuse for that. Blood should flow freely and the bodies should pile up but this movie never satisfies in that department. The camera work is decent and the casting was on par but this film never stood out in a positive way though. This is a disappointing performance from Alvart on a decent premised script (Ray Wright).
I cannot recommend this film as not only is it not thrilling, people will already be saying Renee Zellweger was in a movie called Case 39?
T Factor + If you like exorcism styled movies this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you like your horror bloody and gory this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: The Unborn, The Uninvited.