Emily Jenkins, played by Renee Zellweger, is a family services social worker. She thinks she has seen it all until she is assigned to the case of ten-year-old Lilith. The girl is terrified and her parents are beyond strange, the father refusing to speak to Emily directly. However, there is no proof that they are abusing Lily and Emily is told by her boss to let the case drop.
Refusing to do so, Emily finds Lily outside of school and gives the girl her home phone number, telling her to call should she ever feel scared. In the middle of the night Lily does call and Emily finds her life turned into a nightmare she could never have imagined.
Now for the review:
I do like Renee Zellweger as an actress (and I loved her in Nurse Betty, one of her earliest movies), but there are always little flashes of Bridget Jones breaking through, which I did find to be a bit off-putting while trying to watch a horror movie. However, she does give a good performance in Case 39 and I did like her character, despite always thinking about Bridget Jones!
The tension in this film is from the start and continues right through to the end. Though the build up is quite long, I did find that this only added to the overall tension and kept me guessing. Though the end result is fairly predictable, there was no point where I was bored or wanted to turn away. And there are some moments during the film where I was literally hiding behind my fingers – which I love! The little girl who plays Lily isn’t annoying, and switched between sweetness and light to just plain menacing very well. Often I find children in horror films to be one dimensional and fake, but this actress did a good job.
It’s not an original storyline and there were some clichés. However, there weren’t too many plot holes, and at no point did I think ‘huh’, which made a change. I liked that I actually knew what was going on and the producer didn’t go down the whole ‘is it real or is it just in her head’ route that seems to be so popular at the moment.
Overall, it was a good Saturday night horror film and I really enjoyed it. Case 39 is nothing new, but it does what it says on the tin!
Scary, if a little predictable – A Something Wicked – 7/10