In her many years as a social worker, Emily Jenkins believes she has seen it all, until she meets 10-year-old Lilith and the girl's cruel parents. Emily's worst fears are confirmed when the parents try to harm the child, and so Emily assumes custody of Lilith while she looks for a foster family. However, Emily soon finds that dark forces surround the seemingly innocent girl, and the more she tries to protect Lilith, the more horrors she encounters.
Keep Away From Children.
Case 39 is directed by Christian Alvart and written by Ray Wright. It stars Renee Zellwegger, Jodelle Ferland, Ian McShane and Bradley Cooper. Music is by Michl Britsch and cinematography by Hagen Bodanski.
Another in the long line of demonic/psycho children films, Case 39 sat on the shelf for a few years before finally seeing the light of day around 2009. Met with a whole bunch of negative reviews it is somewhat pleasing to find that while it’s not a misunderstood classic or anything, it actually works well within this sub-genre of horror.
Story in short order form has Zellwegger as Emily Jenkins, a social worker who after rescuing young Lilly Sullivan from crazed parents, takes her in on a temporary foster basis and soon comes to regret it.
Offering up a more supernatural slant than many other films of a similar ilk, German director Alvart does still follow the familiar formula for crazed child movies. Lillith (unsubtle name or what?!) serenely ingratiates herself into Emily’s world and that of the people around her, then of course things start happening, bad things. Having taken his time to build it up during the first half, Alvart then revels in unleashing demonic chaos, with young Ferland giving an unnervingly superb performance as Lilly. The shocks and psychological torments are tidily crafted, and it all builds to a suitably daft and frenetic finale.
It’s too long at nearly two hours in length, it’s sometimes silly and it’s cliché heavy. However, some striking scenes, a mightily strong child performance and the decent chiller thriller fun factor, lifts this just above average status. 6/10
Paramount Vantage, Anonymous Content, Misher Films, Case 39 Productions by Christian Alvart, Ray Wright.
Stars: Renée Zellweger, Ian McShane, Jodelle Ferland.
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Keywords: child abuse detective office social worker supernatural murder mental institution cityscape drawn falling elevator pier super power deadly mind and soul
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