Well, we finally got through an entire movie this past Friday. After holiday movie extravaganza, then turning off Vampires Suck last weekend, Netflix sent us Case 39 this week. J and I love a good scary movie or psychological thriller. Case 39 didn’t seem to get a lot of hype, despite Renee Zellweger carrying the lead. You have to think, “This is the girl from Bridget Jones’ Diary and Chicago! It has to be good.” Well, it wasn’t all that. In fact, you wonder what the heck made her take this movie on? Bradley Cooper from The A-Team was also on board. And Ian McShane from Pillars of Earth. And let’s not forget that spooky little girl with the icey eyes Jodelle Ferland who you’ll recognize from movies like Seed and Silent Hill.
Renee plays Emily, a social worker, who takes in young Lily (Jodelle) after saving her from her parents who were trying to kill her. Renee and Ian, who plays a cop with interest in children’s cases, even bust into the family home to find her parents trying to stuff her into the oven. Crazy parents are locked up and Lily is off to a children’s home, but begs her social worker to take her in instead. When one of Emily’s other cases, a 10 year old boy, kills his parents in their sleep, and its discovered a phone call to their house came from Emily’s house at 2am, things start to get weird.
Cooper plays a counselor named Doug who is also a love interest to Emily, who eventually has a run in with Lily during a session where he feels threatened. This causes Emily to raise suspicion and go to the mental hospital to question Lily’s parents after she views what they said in recorded confessions. By now, the true horror surround little Lily begins to reveal itself as Emily finds herself starting to behave like Lily’s parents did – hiding anything that could be a weapon and barricading herself in her room at night to keep Lily out.
I don’t want to reveal too much about what’s wrong with Lily because it will definitely give the whole premise of the movie away, but it’s never even suggested how she got this way. The movie avoids the religious route with one brief scene of Emily meeting her cop friend outside of a church. Instead, the movie plays on the “bump in the night” factors a bit too much, and they aren’t even new bumps you haven’t see before: A room filling with hornets (Candy man?), demon dogs coming up out of no where (Omen?), creepy telephone calls (The Ring?)…
The film also builds to a bland ending which is totally predictable and leaves you more relieved that the movie is over than satisfied that the world is safe from another little demonic girl. It had it’s moments. Definitely good for a fun scare, but the storyline lacks depth and foundation. I’d give it 3 stars.