Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Case 39 Film Review

I was sceptical when I first heard about this movie. Renee Zellweger in a thriller? I wasn't too keen on the trailer, it seemed like it wouldn't end well with the demonic paranormality that somehow manages to procure bugs from within Bradley Cooper. But anyhow, I like thrillers and thought I'd give this one a go.

Emily (Renee Zellweger) is a social worker who stumbles on a mysterious case surrounding a young girl Lily (Jodelle Ferland), whose parents tried to kill her, believing she was a demon. Emily applies for custody of Lily and takes her into her own home, like her own daughter. All is well until the people close to Emily mysteriously die after receiving a phone call from Emily's phone. If she didn't call them, who did?

Lily's parents tell Emily that the past ten years they've lived with her, their family have all died off one by one and they have been plotting to kill her- it is the only way. With that advice at hand, Emily fights with her conscience and sanity to put an end to this once and for all.

Admittedly, the intrigue is there from the beginning. Why are the parents trying to kill her? But this question is soon answered with the rather too hasty death of one of Emily's "friends". The plot is therefore set- A demonic girl causes mysterious deaths to the people close to the one from whom she seeks love. Isn't that a contradiction in itself? If you want someone to love you, you DON'T kill off their favourite people! 

Despite this big flaw, the movie does keep you on your toes for the most part, but almost all the "scares" and "jumps" are predictable. In a movie, when anyone walks into a dark closet, you expect something to jump out. When anyone looks under a bed or into a dark area, something is going to happen. I love it when Emily goes into Lily's old house looking for stuff and picks up an alarm clock- Yup you know it. It's going to go off. Though I have to admit, that did make me jump (just a bit)!

So with this demonic girl who seems to know you every move and escapes unscathed, what are you to do? Lily's parents shoved her in an oven which was rather new I thought. Though, if you watch right to the end, you'd question why her inner demonic powers didn't allow her to break free given everything you've witnessed happen- if she can break down doors and cause walls to crack, surely an oven is no match for her! 

Therefore, I think a more religious balance needed to be introduced into the film. What the film makers don't realise is that they are suggesting that a mere human being can kill a powerful demon. Thus the ending I thought was slightly anti-climatic. The way they make do with the characters are a bit too "easy". There was also a lack of catharsis with which they could've brought a twist into it. Cliche as it may be, a phone ringing at the end with the muffled noise would hint that all is not over for poor -Bridget Jones- I mean Renee Zellweger.

Renee Zellweger- Emily Jenkins
Bradley Cooper- Doug
Jodelle Ferland- Lily

As I mentioned, this is definitely not a movie made for Renee Zellweger. As believable as Zellweger is as a social worker, bring her Bridget Jones' charm to the role, she should NEVER EVER star in a horror thriller. She looked scared and I believed her, but grabbing a screwdriver and trying to make us believe she is going to stab a 10 year old girl is completely infallible. 

I have to give it to Jodelle Ferland for making her role as demon girl quite horrifying. She is definitely a sweet girl and when her demonic rages are over, that smile may win some over, but her eyes are definitely scary. It will be hard for me to watch any movies in the future that stars her without thinking she is demonic.

Also stars Ian McShane, Adrian Lester and Alexander Conti.

The film has its obvious flaws but even still, it manages to feature some classic jumps and follows a typical formula in the genre. The film was enjoyable to some degree but they really needed to explain how this demonic girl came to be.

Zellweger is obviously miscast though Ferland does an excellent job. I can't help but think this film too closely resembles Orphan (I haven't seen it, but thought it might be similar). In that respect, I would not recommend this film if you are wanting a genuine scare/thrill. If you want to see Renee Zellweger running around screaming like crazy, go for it.

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