Movie Details


"Case 39" is a horror film starring Renée Zellweger as social worker Emily Jenkins. Emily thinks she has seen it all until she meets her newest, most mysterious case - a troubled 10-year-old Lillith Sullivan (Jodelle Ferland). Emily's worst fears are confirmed when the parents try to kill Lillith, their only daughter. Emily saves her and decides to take her herself until the right foster family comes along. However, the situation soon escalates into danger.

Language: English
Subtitle: Na
Classification: 18SG
General Release Date: 14 Jan 2010
Genre: Thriller / Horror
Running Time: 1 Hour 50 Minutes
Cast: Renee Zellweger, Jodelle Ferland, Ian McShane
Director: Christian Alvart
Format: 2D

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Writer: Nur Safina Othman

Writer Ratings:
Overall: 2.5 Out of 5
Cast: 3.0 Out of 5
Plot: 2.5 Out of 5
Effects: 2.0 Out of 5
Cinematography: 3.0 Out of 5

Watch this if you liked: "The Omen", "Orphan", "Drag Me To Hell"

In the United States, "Case 39" was supposed to be screened in August of 2008. However, for reasons unknown, the release date for this film was postponed until January 1 2010. Due to its late release, this film has always been compared to Jaume Collet-Serra's "Orphan" (2009) that also featured a child actress as the lead. However, the writer must add, to anyone who has watched the trailer for this film, do not be fooled.

In "Case 39", we see social worker Emily Jenkins (Renee Zellweger) trying to save Lilith Sullivan (Jodelle Ferland) from her abusive parents without realising that it might not be the best decision of her life.

"Case 39" is no different from other horror films because there are some scenes that would make the audience jump. However, this film directed by Germany's Christian Alvart, lacks originality in the story. While watching, the writer was constantly reminded of a combination of films such as "Orphan" and "Drag Me To Hell". However, there is a memorable scene that the writer recalls clearly and that is the scene when Lilith's parents try to kill her by putting her in the oven.

Renee Zellweger makes a return to the horror genre after starring in many romantic comedies. Having starred in "The Return Of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (1994) before, Zellweger fails to deliver in this film. It's too bad really considering that Zellweger is a capable actress. Other than that, heartthrob Bradley Cooper as Douglas who loves Emily is also disappointing. Their romance is not convincing. Zellwager looks awkward acting oppsite Cooper. Who would have thought that the two would really date in real life! Jodelle Ferland who was ten at the time does not disappoint and outshines her co-stars! She managed to portray a troubled child and her eyes staring at you can be a bit creepy. For those who don't know, Isabelle Fuhrman who plays Esther in "Orphan" was once considered for the role of Lilith. Thank goodness Fehrland was chosen, otherwise it would have been boring watching Fuhrman rehashing her role.

A good horror film would not be complete without the use of good computer generated images (CGI). Unfortunately, not a of lot CGI was used and this makes the film quite dull. Even the special effects used during the scene when Douglas was in the bathroom looked ordinary and was not exciting. However, not all was dull like the scene when Emily burnt the house down, which looked real and convincing. For your information, in the scene that involved fire, the fire special effects for this film went out of control and burnt the whole set down including the stage studio and almost the entire crew's equipment. It was worth it though as the scene looked more realistic.

Though flawed, "Case 39" a must-watch for horror fans!

Cinema Online, 10 January 2010

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