Case 39 Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ May 19, 2013
While a Zellweger fan (and she does well here) this story about innocent looking and acting DEMON CHILD! has been done before and better, and hoping and wishing for a new wrinkle here won't make it real. Ahh, well ... better luck next time.
Super Reviewer
January 23, 2011
three stars
Super Reviewer
June 14, 2012
Edward Sullivan: They say when you're born you're given your eternal soul. The part of you that lives on, lives again. Whatever evil she is,didn't come from us. It was already there. From the moment she came into being, she brought something with her. Something older, destructive. Soul of a demon. 

"Some cases should never be opened."

Not as terrible as I expected, but I expected the worst. Case 39 is still just recycled parts from better evil kid horror movies, like The Bad Seed and Orphan. It ends up playing like a more entertaining form of The Good Son. It also has a lot of things that just don't add up when examined closely, but that is the least of its problems. The biggest problem the film has is that its target audience is going to hate it and find it repetitive in the least. The target audience for this film are the people who enjoy the evil kid horror genre. And guess what; we've seen them all. So this isn't going to cut it. When you try to make a movie like this, you have to come up with something new, strange, and terrifying to add to the formula. If you can't, the result will be a failure, like Case 39.

The sweetness of the little girl is played off terribly. I don't know if that is a result of her acting skills or bad writing. It may just be a combination of the two. To be honest though, the movie does have a decent start. It all goes downhill quickly though, because the writing is terrible and stuff just doesn't add up. Why would the little girl be afraid of telling the social workers about her situation because the father gives her a nasty look? She's the evil one. I know we aren't supposed to know that then, but damn have some foresight in your fucking script. 

There is some entertainment value in the movies awfulness. I can say I was never bored by the movie. I can also say that a lot of the entertainment I got from it came from me laughing at the ridiculousness of some of the scenes. I could talk about everything I hated in the movie, but that would take all day. Let's just leave it by saying it's bad. Maybe if you have never seen another movie in the sub genre, you will find it intriguing; but if you have, I would suggest skipping it.
Super Reviewer
½ September 28, 2010
It actually wasn't as awful as I thought it would be. Despite a fair amount of cheese and predictability, I stayed interested enough to watch the whole thing. Do not mistake this bone for high praise, however.
Super Reviewer
½ April 12, 2010
12/01/2012 (Netflix PS3)
Super Reviewer
August 26, 2011
Case 39 had a promising start, bur once you realize how the events play out; the film is just recycled ideas from many other possessed child films. The film doesn't do anything refreshing and it's a shame because it started off well. But about forty five minutes in, you realize how ill conceived the film really is. I was very disappointed with this film, and I thought they could've done something very good with the direction of the plot, but unfortunately, it practically had to copy "The Exorcist" and "The Omen" in many respects. Case 39 is a wasted opportunity to create something truly scary, and it misses the mark on so many levels. One of the films weakest links is actress Renee Zellwegger, I find her to be a terrible actress and she brings this film down. The film is very predictable, and though it got off on a good start, as the film unwinds you realize how silly it is. Case 39 is a terrible film that uses too many clichés to try and developed its plot. While doing so, the film fails and it makes the viewer want to turn it off. Case 39 is a film that has nothing new, it recycles old ideas that we have previously seen in other films and the predictability of this is what makes this a bad film to watch. Not only with that, but with Zellwegger's bad acting as well. Case 39 could have been a good horror film, if it didn't go down the "demon child" path as a few films have done in the past. But like I said, this is a film that uses recycled ideas, and it just ends being a bore. Case 39 is an unimpressive film that lacks substance, a good cast and above all, a good story. This film is a very bad one that if you're a horror fan, should avoid.
Super Reviewer
½ December 12, 2010
I think this is the first role of Rene Zellwegger's where she has impressed me, an enjoyable but predictable storyline, however it was acted fairly well and came across more Supernatural Thriller than Horror.

It has to be said that after the build up of the story, the ending was a little disappointing.
Super Reviewer
September 8, 2010
A fun premise that never quite hits its intended marks. The potential is there to be really creepy...but it just falls flat.
The cast is good (particularly Jodelle Ferland), its the writing that is just horrible.
It is truly mindblowing just how many holes there are in throughout the plot.
I wouldn't go out of my way to see it...but if it came on some Saturday night while flippiing through the tv...
Super Reviewer
September 7, 2010
Great trailers. Not so great movie. Average at best.
Super Reviewer
June 24, 2011
Not as good as I thought it would be but some of the scenes were horrible and really had you scared.
Super Reviewer
½ May 12, 2011
Another Mad Child Movie. Renee Zellweger has come a long way from 8 seconds. Any movie she stars in now she's at the top of her game. In this movie she plays case worker who becomes very involved with a child who appears to be abused by her parents, when her parents are caught putting her in a gas stove to burn her to death. Renee adopts her only to find out what the parents knew. Its worth 4 1/2 stars
Super Reviewer
March 27, 2011
Got a couple good horror moments,but for the most part it's you standard evil kid movie. Zellweger and Cooper are both ok,but not great. Not really their faults though,just a movie below both of their talents. The twists are seen a mile away,and some of the cgi is pretty bad. If you wanna watch demented kids watch" good son", "orphan", or" omen" all 3 much better and original compared to this.
Super Reviewer
March 14, 2011
Another demon child movie with an overused plot.
Super Reviewer
½ January 21, 2011
Dissapointing and predictable, this movie bore a stricking resemblance to "Orphan" which was released in the UK in 2009, but Orphan had one main difference - it was tolerable. This movie used recycled concepts and was poorly casted, aside from Jodelle Ferland who was acceptionally good at acting derranged but sometimes seemed to be overacting if a child can do so. Renee Zellweger is a bad actress at the best of times and this role certainly did not suit her. The actual horror elements of the movie were not poorly executed but were substandard to say the least. Not one I will be watching again.
Super Reviewer
½ September 18, 2010
Very good horror flick. Renee Zellweger was excellent and Jodelle Ferland was a horrific little girl as Lilith. Very good movie :)
Super Reviewer
January 11, 2011
Christian Alvart's Case 39 has its moments, and it also doesn't.There is enough story to occupy the entire 1 hour 40 minute run time; however the finer details of the plot are left in the shadows, which is somewhat of a disappointment. The first half serves as the calm build up with only hints of tension and suspense without much in the way of excitement. The second half is where things pick up as it makes its way to the finale.For a horror, Case 39 isn't scary and it doesn't try to be. It lives off of the tense and suspenseful atmosphere, which it does create in the second half. The violence isn't all that gruesome either and that leaves the language as one of the bigger players in the R rating.Despite some faulty line delivery, Renee Zellweger does an adequate enough job with her role. Jodelle Ferland is both adorable, yet creepy at the same time and that makes her performance an enjoyable one. Bradley Cooper, Callum Keith Rennie, and Ian McShane are a bit of waste, but they are good when they are there.Case 39 isn't a showpiece of a thriller; however it does have enough to make it a worthwhile watch, if only once.
Super Reviewer
½ January 8, 2011
Honestly, I loved the film, up until the ending, which was the point where it was supposed to explain everything, and it gave you literally nothing. You don't really know what happens and the film ends with an outstanding amount of wonder, which really left me unsatisfied. Actually, out of the 110 minutes, about 90 minutes is very, very good, what happened? The screenwriter got lazy. I was hoping to be able to recommend this as finally a great horror/mystery film of this decade, but perhaps that genre is dead.
Super Reviewer
½ November 7, 2008
"They say when you're born you're given your eternal soul. The part of you that lives on, lives again. Whatever evil she is, didn't come from us. It was already there. From the moment she came into being, she brought something with her. Something older, destructive. Soul of a demon."

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

Case 39 would have been a bit predictable even if the trailer had not revealed the mystery behind its story. For better or for worse, the story is an homogeneous combination of the well known elements we have seen on many movies which show kids involved on paranormal events. However, despite its lack of innovation, I had a good time watching Case 39, thanks to Christian Alvart's concise and dynamic direction and the competent performances from Renée Zellweger, Jodelle Ferland and Callum Keith Rennie. There are various elements in the screenplay we have seen in other movies. However, even though the story lacks of originality, Case 39 is entertaining, because Alvart created a good rhythm and some solid moments of tension. What is more, the story is well structured.

Zellweger made her return to horror with Case 39 after 15 years (since her unworthy appearance on the atrocious The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre). In recent years, she has created a very different image, but her performance in Case 39 feels realistic and effective.Ferland creates a good aura of threaten with her role; I liked not to see her trying to apparent evilness, because that is the point where almost all the child actors I have seen in the past in similar movies fall. And even though he has short screen-time, Rennie brings a good level of intensity to his character.
Super Reviewer
½ October 20, 2010
I don't know why it took until October 1st, 2010 for "Case 39" to be released in America as it was made in 2006. The UK had it theatrically and on DVD back in 2008. I remember the same thing happened with "The Descent" from 2005 as well. I suppose it makes a change for Britain to get to see films before America but I'm not going to dwell on it. I really don't care that much about release dates or corporate decisions and I'm pretty fed up with reading other reviewers that have spent half their time working out of the intricate details of how "Case 39" was shelved for so long when it clearly wasn't.
The most important thing that you need to know about "Case 39" is that it's nothing more than a polished turd. It's not unwatchable by any stretch of the imagination unless, like me, you find Renée Zellweger quite horrific to look at but it isn't a very good film at all. Some people have compared it to last year's "Orphan" and I can see where they are coming from. Jodelle Ferland (who plays Lillith) is good but she's no Isabelle Fuhrman.
The best comparison you can make is to the "Twilight Zone" episode called "It's a Good Life" (which was also redone to some extent in "Twilight Zone: The Movie") and I'm surprised that nobody has picked up on it rather than going down the "it's just another evil kid movie" route. I actually read the short story of "It's a Good Life" back when books still held any interest for me and it was far more chilling than the TV episode. For those of you who don't know, the story was about a little boy who controlled a whole town because they were scared of what he could do with his telekinetic powers. "Case 39" just swaps the gender of the "bad kid" and turns her into a demon for some inexplicable reason. It's not original and it's quite disappointing to have a non-twist like that.
Anyway, not only was Renée Zellweger horrible to look at in "Case 39" but I hated her performance in it almost as much as I've hated her in everything else she's ever done including "The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre". Yes, she's no stranger to the horror genre but nor are any of the other big players in this film. Ian "Lovejoy" McShane, who plays some kind of cop in "Case 39", has been in quite a few weird things including episodes of the "Twilight Zone" and "Chiller". Bradley Cooper, who doesn't get nearly long enough on screen and dies by CGI bees, was in "The Midnight Meat Train" (2008) of course, and even Callum Keith Rennie and Kerry O'Malley who play Lillith's parents have been around the horror TV genre for a while too. It therefore comes as no surprise that they all know what they are doing as actors and do the best they can even if every single one of them apart from Bradley Cooper was horribly miscast. Honestly, who in their right mind would try to pass off Renée Zellweger with her little girly voice and great big face as a social worker? I didn't buy into it at all. All I could think of was those horrible "Bridget Jones" films and how she's managed to slim down everything but her enormous head since. I'm sure she's a lovely person in real life but, as an actress, she just doesn't do anything for me. It troubles me greatly that I can't ever work out if she's supposed to be pretty or not and the amount of extreme close-ups of her fizzog didn't help.
I wish I had something more profound to say about "Case 39" rather than some superficial ramblings but it was a very superficial film and doesn't really deserve it. I suppose I should congratulate whoever wrote the script for a good first half and an atrocious second. Once Bradley Cooper's character dies, everything goes downhill. It's not like I have a man-crush on the guy or anything but that's just the point where you can feel the film change for the worse. Even Kerry O'Malley, who is actually very pretty without the haggard looking make-up, can't save the story with her pathos inducing performance. I think hers was the only character I even cared about in the whole thing.
"Case 39" could have been a really scary tale of the supernatural but it wasn't. If you really have to watch a humans versus a demon film then "Fallen" (1998) should still be your first choice. Perhaps if "Case 39" had gone for a similar downbeat ending rather than the one it has then it would have worked better but then I would have sat here moaning about that too.
I'm not even going to mention the gore since it was so sparse that if you blink you'll miss it. Horror doesn't need to be all about the gore anyway but it certainly does need to have a good story. Just throwing the occasional grisly moment in is just lazy and, unfortunately, getting too predictable. All "Case 39" needed was a cat jumping out of a closet and a lot more loud noises and I could have written it off yet another complete piece of formulaic crap. Actually, even without those elements, it still is.
Super Reviewer
September 26, 2010
Although it may not be a great movie, "Case 39" is a pretty thrilling horror story. It's first half, at least. The second half opens up a cheesy twist that really brings the movie to it's lowest point and as the filn progresses it becomes more and more like "Orphan". But, I think the average horror fan will find some enjoyment out of this on a boring Saturday night. Rent it...if your into a good cheesy "ghost story".
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