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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

CASE 39 REVIEW


  When I was thinking of the best way to describe this movie, I couldn’t come up with anything better than the way one of my friends on Twitter (Sarah G.) described it. She compared it to trying to start a car that just won’t start. You get it to jump a few times, but it just doesn’t start. It is really dead at the beginning, then gives you a little hope, but it is all for not. Someone call the tow truck!
  This story follows Emily Jenkins (Renee Zellweger), who is a social worker. Already with her hands full, her boss gives her case 39, which involves a young girl named Lilith Sullivan (Jodelle Ferland). She hesitates at taking on another case, but can’t help but be drawn to this case. Emily has an odd meeting with Lilith and her parents, where Emily becomes convinced there is something not right with her parents. From here on out, she makes it her business to rescue Lilith, and take the responsibility of raising her. Unknown to Emily, Lilith becomes more than a handful to handle.
  While this movie has a few good things going for it, the bad outweighs the good. It does not take long for the bad to show itself either. Usually in the first few minutes of a horror movie, you want a little taste of things to come. Maybe something that scares you, a death scene, or something that makes you wonder what is coming. This movie doesn’t give you any of that. The only thing that happens before the opening credits start rolling is a quick shot of the parents looking to see if Lilith is sleeping, and then they close the door. The movie then shows Emily as she drives to work, and the credits roll. I’m sorry, but that wasn’t enough of anything for me.
  The problem continues as nothing really exciting happens for the first 45 minutes, maybe even an hour. You get a feel for Emily, and her work environment. Then, she sets off to meet Lilith’s parents for the first time. While the parents are somewhat odd, especially the father, again, nothing exciting happens. It may peak your interest a little in wanting to know why the parents are acting strange, but nothing unexpected so far. The only scene that is remotely good in the first part of this movie is when Emily gets a call for help from Lilith in the middle of the night, and races to the house to save her. Since this is the only good scene in the first part of the movie, I won’t spoil it for you by giving any more information away.
  Once Lilith is rescued from her parents, she pleas with Emily to take care of her, at least until they can find a foster home for her. What seems like the right thing to do becomes a decision that Emily will never forget. Of course, everything seems great when she first moves into Emily’s house, and it is until Emily finds out that one of the kids she has been monitoring killed his parents over night. Finally the movie is getting to the point. The big turning point is when Lilith sits down for a conversation with Doug (Bradley Cooper), who is a child psychiatrist. This is probably one of the better scenes in the movie, but it is kind of awkward as well. It is awkward because Lilith makes a complete 180 here. Not much has happened to suspect that she is evil (except what you already know from the previews), and then she goes from a sweet little girl to having a crazy adult conversation with Doug. See, this would have made more sense if maybe they did something at the beginning of the movie to set up this change in her. They don’t gradually show the evil in her, she just displays she is evil all of a sudden.
  From that point on, Jodelle stole the show going back and forth from a sweet little girl to crazy demon. Really, she is the best actor in this movie. I never really bought into Renee’s portrayal of Emily. I could not get myself to be really scared for her. All she would do is a lot of screaming. And why they had to have Bradley in the movie, your guess is as good as mine. Not that he did a bad job, but his character isn’t all that important, so anyone could have played that role. In the end, it probably isn’t their fault, as they have shown to be good actors; it is probably more of a problem with the story. Bradley’s character is a perfect example of that. It seemed like they wanted him to be more of an important character with him having an outside-of-work relationship with Emily, but they let the audience assume that, instead of showing it. Their lack of establishing a true relationship between the two characters leaves you not caring what happens to Doug.
  Another thing that really bothers me about this movie is Lilith being a demon. They really don’t explain why she is one, or why she is there. Yea, there are a couple of conversations between Emily and Lilith’s father, but I just wasn’t satisfied. She is a demon, and that is it. They did explain what she feeds on, her weakness, and her plan. Still, it seems as if something is missing. To be honest, when I decided to see this movie, I was hoping that there was going to be some mystery to it, or even a twist. Maybe I wanted something a little more complicated than just her being a demon, and that is it.
  This movie has some good ideas, but the story just isn’t put together well. The lack of anything exciting happening at the beginning really dooms it from the start. Throw in some sub par acting, and relationships between characters that aren’t properly explained, and it isn’t enough to entertain you. There are a couple of decent scares, but some cheap ones offset them. I really wanted more than just another demon story, and didn’t get it. Therefore I give this movie 2 pools of blood. Let me know when that tow truck arrives!

  HorrO

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