Case 39 (Review)

(10/01/10; Horror, Thriller)
Renée Zellweger, Jodelle Ferland, Ian McShane, Bradley Cooper
SCR: Ray Wright / DIR: Christian Alvart
MPAA: R for violence and terror including disturbing images.
1 hour 49 mins
BOX: $13,261,851

Zellweger plays a social worker who takes in a troubled young girl in this preposterous horror flick that somehow combines elements of a domestic foster parent thriller with a big dumb monster movie. Something about 10-year-old Lillith Sullivan (Ferland) drives people to do crazy things, and when Zellweger shows up unannounced to find her foster parents trying to shove her into an oven, that’s a red flag.

LOGIC ALERT: In what universe would a social worker be allowed to invite the girl to live with her until a suitable foster family comes along? Bad things happen and cast members begin dropping like flies. But once we learn that Lillith is a demon feeding off people’s fears (huh?), it becomes clear what must happen. Zellweger, the righteous protector of innocent victims, must now kill this little girl and the last act becomes entirely about that.

MORE LOGIC: Now assume she’s successful and the movie ends with her finally snuffing this girl out (I’m not saying), it’s not like Zellweger can just walk away without being accused of killing the kid.

If you decide to ignore all common sense and watch it anyway, you might find yourself thinking about how fresh-faced everyone looks. That’s because this mess was shot in 2006 and sat on the shelf for four years. Cooper made this before The Hangover. Check out McShane’s detached expression, like when all this is done, he’s gonna have a talk with his agent. (Paramount Vantage)


Author: Dennis Willis

Dennis Willis is an award-winning producer, TV host, producer, director, editor (he preferred Avid until a torrid affair with Adobe Premiere, and the rest is history), author and film critic (print and radio). Dennis produced and hosted the TV programs Reel Life, FilmTrip, Soundwaves (1983-2008) and produces the annual Soundwaves Xmas program. He is currently the film critic on KGO Radio in San Francisco, and a member of both the San Francisco Film Critics Circle and the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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