Case 39

Film, Thrillers
1 out of 5 stars
2 out of 5 stars
(6user reviews)
case 39.jpg
Filmed in 2006, German director Christian Alvart’s first Hollywood feature – a dumb, glossy ‘demon child’ movie with none of the subtlety of his debut, ‘Antikörper’ – has languished on the shelf ever since. One can see why. A miscast Renée Zellweger plays social worker Emily Jenkins who, after saving ten-year-old Lilith (Jodelle Ferland) from being roasted alive in her mad parents’ oven, offers her a home.

At first, Emily thinks that Lilith is a classic damaged child, but then people start dying: one of Lilith’s classmates bludgeons his parents to death; Emily’s boyfriend is killed by a swarm of hornets. Sceptical sheriff Mike Barron (a somnambulant Ian McShane) insists that ‘a damaged, deceitful, manipulative child is not a demon’, but by now Emily’s do-gooder has pitched over into wild-eyed hysteria, raving about how Lilith is a malevolent catalyst who causes her victims to hallucinate their deepest, darkest fears. This is horror hokum of the cheesiest kind. Rent ‘Orphan’ instead.


Release details

Release date:
Friday March 5 2010
109 mins

Cast and crew

Christian Alvart
Ray Wright
Renée Zellweger
Jodelle Ferland
Ian McShane
Kerry O'Malley
Adrian Lester

Average User Rating

3.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening

Thought Renee was very good in this. The film did have some chilling moments.Predictable perhaps but l found it quite engrossing. Would recommend. The little girls performance was one of veiled menace.

I don't agree the ending was predictable as most films like this end up where the kid is being adopted by the next set of foster parents and ends with an evil smile! Poor film all the same, not entertaining at all! After 5 mins I knew what was going on!

Don't believe all the dreadful reviews its acceptable hokum with some really jumpy moments. Admittedly there are holes in the plot that you could ride through on a horse and the casting is a little odd, apart from the little girl who is perfect for the role.. the symbolism is a little laboured too, but forget all of that and you can just switch off and watch some dumb old fashioned jumpy movie.

I must confess that I only went to see this film because Renee Zellweger was in it. My wife thinks that Adrian Lester is a bit of a hunk. Sadly, they're both at sea in this overlong, unpersuasive hokum which begins to unravel - not that it made any sense in the first place - around the halfway mark. After four years lying on the shelf, it makes you wonder why the film wasn't just released directly to DVD.