Oscar winner Renee Zellweger is expectedly “blah” as the heroine. When Zellweger first came on the scene in JERRY MAGUIRE, she had a certain unassuming quality and likable innocence about her, something that she’s definitely lost after years of stardom. Here she’s just plain not interesting to watch and her character is such a cardboard cutout you don’t care if she gets her life ruined by an 8 year old hellspawn. “Deadwood” star Ian McShane does what he can in a thankless role, as does Bradley Cooper, who is only in a handful of scenes and not given much to do until his final moments. (That’s not a spoiler if you saw the previews and have ever seen a horror movie before.) Jodelle Ferland, who you might recognize from SILENT HILL, is probably the only one actually trying as the decidedly evil Lilith and she pulls off the dark stuff pretty well.
Like many horror movies, CASE 39 can’t sustain what little goodwill it has for the entire runtime and runs out of steam before by the final act. As soon as things finally start getting explained, the movie transitions in to dumb territory. Lilith’s origins and powers are never explained very well and seem to waver back and forth between whatever is more convenient to the plot and/or current action beat. And the final sequence will leave your eyes rolling with the credits.
Deleted Scenes (30:06): With over half an hour’s worth of material, there’s quite a bit more to this story apparently. There’s more character development between pretty much everyone; Emily, Doug, and even Lilith and her parents. And there’s even an alternate, darker ending. I’m not saying this was a great movie destroyed in the editing process, as none of this really fixes the tired story and execution, but it does show that everyone tried a little harder than it seemed.
Inside CASE 39 (8:07): A standard Making Of featurette with interviews and plenty of self-serving praise by everyone.
Turning Up the Heat on the Chill Factor (4:24): A look at the actress who played Lilith’s mom and the long make up process to turn her in to a burn victim.
Inside the Hornet's Nest (3:02): Want to know how to make CG insects come out of Bradley Cooper’s orifices? You’re in luck!
Playing with Fire (4:26): A look at the controlled manner in which the burning house sequence was pulled off, with Zellweger doing a lot of the stunts herself.
Extra Tidbit: Hit Girl herself Chloe Moretz was almost cast as Lilith.