Case 39 Review

5 out of 10 Skulls
Written by: TerrorCorner   

I only  have really two complaints with this particular movie:  the characters, and the low fun factor.

Renee Zellweger plays Emily Jenkins, a social worker who has just recieved her 39th case, and investigates a potential child abuse case... and winds up taking in the child Lillith (played by Jodelle Ferland).  All is well until people start dying in strange ways.

The story was actually pretty decent at its most basic.  I think every parent has that fear in the back of their heads that their child could potentially become some "monster" and a menace to society.  This movie plays on that fear quite well mixing sweetness with darkness.  The pacing of the story was a little slow at times, and became a little predictable, however.  With some tightening up, and more character development, I think the storyline could've been a fair  bit more effective.

There is some decent camera work in this film that was quite effective.  The scene where Emily is hiding under the bed was quite well done.  The image of the bare feet walking across the floor and then stopping to turn towards the camera is one that sticks with me.  It reminded me of some the old school, low budget horror films that the genre was built upon- relying on simple framing and movement to give you the creeps before giving you the jolt you crave.

In addition to some of the camera work, I was pleased with the musical score.  It was subtle, but added to the scenes.

The biggest negative I have with this movie though is the characters.  I'm usually wary of big budget films to begin with, and when they throw in A-List names... I get antsy.  It's not because I don't think the actors and actresses can't do the job- I just worry that the name of the performer will overshadow the movie itself.

I had a hard time connecting with Zellweger's character, though she did play the emotionally distant social worker well... maybe too well as I found that distance to be off putting.  Of course, it could also be the fact that her charcter smashes a TV and tells the monster to "get out" like she was evicting a bad tenant.  I just didn't care enough about Emily to cheer for her.

Jodelle Ferland, on the other hand was a joy to watch as the child, Lillith.  The way she was able to combine a sweet innocent face with  malicious thought and words shows that she's got talent.  I hope she builds upon her skills with further horror films.  The only other kid that's was able to impress me scare-wise was the little boy from "The Grudge"... creepy and impressive.

The acting for the other characters weren't bad, but not really something to take note of.  This could be because those characterd didn't get much screen time in order to develop our interest, and they were kinda stock characters brought in for a bit of mayhem.

At the start of my review, I mentioned the fun factor was low.  Due to the slow and sometimes choppy pace of the story, little development and empathy with the main character and supporting characters, and few real scares, I just didn't have as much fun as I would've liked, and I'd have to rank this in the middle ground.

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