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Case 39 (2009)

Director:
Christian Alvart
COUNTRY
USA/Canada
GENRE
Horror
NORWEGIAN TITLE
Case 39
RUNNING TIME
109 minutes
Producer:
Lisa Bruce
Steve Golin
Alix Madigan
Kevin Misher
Screenwriter:
Ray Wright


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Emily Jenkins Renée Zellweger
Lily Sullivan Jodelle Ferland ½
Detective Mike Barron Ian Mc Shane
Douglas J. Ames Bradley Cooper
Edward Sullivan Callum Keith Rennie
Margaret Sullivan Kerry O'Malley
Nancy Cynthia Stevenson

 

Review

For anyone even mildly interested in horror films, the concept of a demon child terrorizing its family and surroundings is old news. It has been done both well (The Exorcist, The Omen) and poorly (The Godsend, Mikey) so many times before that for a new entry to become even slightly interesting, it would have to offer a whole new angle or thematic approach. Case 39, directed by the talented German director who demonstrated more than a hint of creativity with the existential sci-fi chiller Pandorum, moves the point of view from the forlorn parents to an over-compassionate child welfare worker (Zellweger), and hopes this little shift does the trick. Unfortunately, the film is a shameless and horribly uninventive rehash in every other aspect. This not only makes it completely suspenseless and predictable from start to finish, but Case 39 doesn't even try to conceal its cliched plot. It simply goes through the motions in a somnambulistic manner, half awakens with a handful of cheap, unmotivated boos, and continues on towards an unavoidable ending which comes along at least half an hour too late.

This is disappointing work from Alvart, who seems to have nothing to offer here. He allows Ray Wright's boring script to drag the film down into insignificance, with little help from Renée Zellweger's simple-minded lead, or little Jodelle Ferland's overly instructed antagonist. In my opinion, the demon child genre had done its job by the end of the 1970s. So if Case 39 had been made in the 1960s, it might have been interesting. But it would still have been a badly told film without nerve.

 

Copyright © 22.5.2011 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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