Review: Case 39


This film was a real let down, not because I expected great things from any horror film starring Renee Zellweger; but because the first few scenes, when watched with the knowledge that this is a horror film, are excellent and set up the film nicely.

Then it gets shit.

I’ll lay out the first few scenes for you: the action is split between Emily (Zellweger), an overworked social worker and a family with a young dark haired daughter. We see Emily struggle with her work, only to be given another case file, the 39th case she’s overseeing in fact. Meanwhile we see the subjects of the case; the aforementioned family, with the parents acting very strangely around the girl.

Emily visits the family, and although there are no visible signs of an abuse, she deems the father a bit creepy (maybe a little) and gets them to visit the office, where her boss also sees no problem and tells Emily to drop it. But being the tenacious bitch that she is; she refuses and gives the little girl (Lily) her home number.

Guess what happens, Lily, scared rings her and Emily zooms over there only to find Lily’s parents trying to kill her by oven roasting. At which point the parents are sent down and Lily moves in with Emily.

Ok, so far so good, the parents obviously see something evil in the child and feel they need to get rid of her. You don’t even need that information in the film, its obvious cuz it’s a horror film about a little girl... That always means the little girl is evil, but you need a setup and as far as it goes, that’s not a bad one.

That’s basically the first 20 mins of the film, but then it takes another 20 mins for anything of interest to happen, I was starting to worry I was watching a drama about child abuse rather than a horror.

But anyway one incident happens, and a tiny amount of circumstantial crap easily explained away by craziness: and suddenly Emily is convinced Lily is evil. I’m not joking, in the space of 5 mins or so, Lily goes from innocent victim to evil incarnate in Emily’s eyes. Normally during these sort of film I’m screaming at the screen asking why the protagonists can’t figure out that the child is evil; in this film it’s the opposite, Emily too quickly accepts the truth.

And that’s the major problem with the film, the pacing is terrible, we get to almost an hour in and very little has happened, and then suddenly it all happens and too quickly.

Pretty much every story point from this point on is so predictable it’s embarrassing, I found myself doing other things and only half watching what was going on, not the best sign while watching a film.

If this film didn’t have a recognizable cast, I can’t imagine it would ever have got a cinema release; this is clearly a case of trading off the fame of the stars involved. The film also stars one of the guys from "The Hangover" and Lily is the little girl in "Silent Hill". It’s not that the acting is bad, everyone does a decent enough job; it’s just that the film-makers obviously weren’t too fussed with little niggling things like originality or pacing.

The film also suffers from what I like to call; 'the one CGI scene problem', it’s the issue that comes up when it’s a film that doesn’t need a lot of special effects, but one or two scenes need some CGI, because that’s the only way to deal with it. So the film-makers just go cheap and get whoever to do it, who cares right? It’s only one scene.

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