Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Movie Review: Case 39

 Emily is a Child Protective Service worker with a huge workload.  Her work keeps her from having a deeper relationship with her child-psychiatrist boyfriends, and she is almost at her limit when her boss gives her yet another case to work, her 39th case.  

 The case involves Lilith, a 10 year-old girl who's grades have slipped from A's to D's in the last 3 months and who is withdrawn from her fellow students.  While there are no signs of physical abuse, Emily is sent to investigate the possibility of mental abuse or neglect.  The in-home interview goes badly, Lily's mother and father are less-than forthcoming and helpful.  When they are called into the office, however, they attempt to play the interview off as a misunderstanding.  Lily, in a moment alone with Emily, confides that her parents are planning to hurt her, but when she is asked to make a recorded statement she refuses.  

 Something about this case concerns Emily, even though her boss says there is nothing they can do.  She meets Lily after school and gives Lily her home phone-number.  Lily calls the night she thinks her parents are going to hurt her as she apologizes for falling asleep.  Emily contacts her police-detective friend and they arrive just in time to rescue Lily from being roasted alive in her parent's oven.  

Puberty is a bitch.
 Lily's parents go to prison, and Lily makes it clear that she wants to live with Emily.  After some bureaucratic wrangling, Emily gets temporary custody of Lily.  At first, things seem to go well.  Then, people start dieing, and it becomes ever more clear that Lily is not at all what she seems.

 Case 39 is a good film. Renee Zellweger plays a convincing social worker, and is supported by a strong case, including Bradley Cooper and Jodell Ferland.  The cinematography is top-notch, and because of the kind of film it is what little special effects are required were well done.  The film reminds me a lot of The Omen, with exception of the child being older and fully aware of its nature.

There are certain parts of town you don't eat in.
 My only real concern about the film is, once again, we have this powerful being who manages to disguise itself and insinuate itself amongst its victims by appearing innocent.  If that is the case, why ever reveal yourself?  Why not continue to simply be a victim of strange circumstances and coincidences?  While that may be part of the demon's destructive process, doing so also endangers the monster.  Also, its powers seem to be inconsistent.  One moment it is pounding through a bolted wood door, the next it is capable of only casting illusions to confuse its victims.  Which is it.

 It was rated 'R', but 'PG-13" would probably be make more sense.  It is an interesting story, but not terribly frightening.

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