Reviews & Counting
# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Case 39(2010)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Christian Alvart

Renée Zellweger/Emily
Jodelle Ferland/Lillith
Bradley Cooper/Douglas
Ian McShane/Mike
6 10
A good hearted social worker (Renée Zellweger) saves a little girl (Jodelle Ferland) from her abusive parents and then takes her in. But when the peeps around her start dying in gruesome ways; she quickly realizes that maybe she should’ve left the brat where she found her — in a turned on oven.
This is an old review of Case 39; when it was released foreign before its North American release.

Poor CASE 39; the flick has been bitched slapped around so much by its papa (Paramount Studios) that I feel pity for it. At first it was gonna come out on February 8, 2008, it was then back-handed to February 22, 2008, then kicked to the August 22, 2008 curb and then kicked again to April 10, 2009. But the whooping wasn’t over cause it got shoved to a January 1, 2010 release slot to finally get its neck snapped by a October 1st 2010 release. Now I managed to get my claws on a foreign copy of the film (it's out in pretty much the rest of the world) and although a decent effort, I’m happy I didn’t see it on the big screen. It's a Sunday afternoon, stay in and watch a flick with a beer and nachos opus if I've ever seen one.

I had fun with CASE 39 for the right and the wrong reasons. On the upside, I dug its initial premise and the way it harshly set us up (oven bit...damn) in terms of its situation and its two main gals. My sympathy went to the right people off the bat that is for sure! And once the nature as to the evil kid was revealed, it made the ride even better. Don’t get me wrong there was nothing really original here. The Omen 2 (which this film owes a lot to), kept ringing in my head throughout this watch but hey who gives a shit, I got some cheap kicks out of it, was never bored, all that truly mattered. Moreover, the camera work was often show-offy in a good way hence stroking my retinas right, I appreciated some of the visual wink-winks to J Horror, the suspense ploys worked me well now and again and some of the kills were fun times at the out house in an almost Final Destination kind of way. They gave me the willies and made me smirk. The wasp bit was one for the books! Fun shit!

With that murdered and then ditched in a dumpster when nobody is looking, none of it would have meant much if the performances weren’t bang on. Although Ian McShane slept walk through his role (the dude has such a cool presence that he got away with it) and that a pre fame Bradley Cooper did what he had to do no more or less, its Renée Zellweger and Jodelle Ferland that made it happen. The former made for a likeable and credible heroine and the latter nailed the creepy kid thang and then some. Both ladies jacked up the stakes via their performances and chemistry together and made the happenings matter. The supporting cast was tight too (the girl's parents...nice) and that's always a big plus.

On the bummer side, I can’t say I was too keen on the look of the flick, the cinematography if you will was way too bright or/and clean for a film of this ilk. If CASE 39 would’ve had the mood and bleakness of say Christian Alvart's own Pandorum for example, it would’ve been a more efficient and scarier flick. It also would’ve MAYBE gave some street cred to some of its silliest moments. I swear the more the flick clocked forward the tacky-er it got (shoddy dialogue and meh CGI didn't help sell the more ludicrous moments) and by the time the last block kicked in I was laughing my ass off, I’m sure that wasn’t the intention. But hey, laughing is a good thing so I can’ t look down on the film too much for it. At least the last frames were dope.

All in all CASE 39 made for a groovy sit down! It had me by the hacky-sack throughout, when it worked, it got the job done in the chills department and when it would stumble on its own feet, hey at least I got a good chuckle out of it. Ideal time waster. So you gonna take this case or throw it in the paper shredder?
In the name of not spoiling the kills, which are one of the film's raison d'etre, I won't spit them out here. I will say this though, graphic enough but often lessened by the obvious CGI.
T & A
None of that sweet schtuff here.
CASE 39 belongs in the slightly above average "evil kiddie" folder. Well paced, creepy and suspenseful, somewhat mean spirited and overall entertaining with its yays and even its nays. Yeah the flick was derivative of countless other horror films (Omen 2 being its main inspiration), a darker mood would've helped, the CGI had to go and silliness popped up to say F-U now and again but overall, I smiled, had an okay time and didn't get hurt. Case 39 = decent horror ride.
Mini Scream Queen Jodelle Ferland broke into horror with Wes Craven Presents: They (2002)

Screenwriter Ray Wright also wrote The Crazies (2010) and Pulse (2006).

german director Christian Alvart became horror popular via his 2005 flick Antikörper aka Antibodies.