Renée Zellweger stars as child protective services social worker given a new case, her thirty-ninth to be exact, involving a young girl showing signs of child abuse. Insisting on a home visit, Zellweger’s character Emily Perkins comes to believe that the child is in fact abused and may very well be in danger. Relying on her gut instincts and police detective friend (Ian McShane), she forges a relationship with the child and is able to save her life as the parents attempt to murder her.
Unable to shake the idea that Lily should come home with her, Emily petitions the court for custody while a suitable foster family can be located. It doesn’t take long though before Emily begins to suspect that there’s more beneath Lily’s shy, quiet exterior and when people around her begin dying, she’s lead to believe the girl may be more than she can comprehend. Comparisons to Orphan are to be expected but Case 39 is actually a supernatural horror film so expect more along the lines of The Omen.
Renée Zellweger looks just as befuddled and puckered as usual and Ian McShane is brilliant no matter what role he plays but the real star here is the adorable little Jodelle Ferland, you may remember her from films such as Tideland and Silent Hill. This kid (more like teen actually) is immensely talented for her age and will no doubt continue racking up better roles, she reminds me quite a bit of Lovely Bones star Saoirse Ronan (both the same age).
Case 39 wasn’t really all that bad, the supernatural aspects did give me the creeps and there were some thrilling sequences in this film, I just wish Zellweger was a more likable, convincing actress; she looked tired, bloated and bored. In other words, she totally phoned it in. Ya gotta wonder which executive’s lap dog she kicked to be slumming it in such a ho-hummish spookfest with Asian cinema overtones.
I watched Case 39 at night so it was far more effective than it had any right to be but if you’re a fan of films like The Omen, Orphan or even Session 9, Case 39 will probably hit the spot. It’s in theaters right now but I’d recommend a rental instead, save your twenty-something dollars.