"Case 39" DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

1/04/2011 Posted by Admin

"Case 39" 

DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

Directed by Christian Alvert, Written by Ray Wright, 109 Minutes, Rated R

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

When it was released in theaters last year, "Case 39" had been in the can for about three years. Two years ago, it was intended for release around August or so. Honestly, the delay should be a warning enough at what you're getting into here.

The greatest hurdle horror films must surpass these days, moreso than pretty much any other genre film, is cliche. There's nothing that keeps a horror film down like familiarity. Despite this fact, directors and writers continue putting out horror films rife with plot elements and characterization we've seen a thousand times before. "Case 39" is no exception. Every cue can be seen coming a mile away, not an ounce of original style or storytelling in the whole thing.

Renee Zellweger--her popularity dwindling more and more with every film--is Emily Jenkins, a social worker assigned to the Sullivan family, specifically Young Lillith Sullivan (Jodelle Ferland, a young actress not unlike her unfortunate male counterpart Cameron Bright in that she's consistently typecast in these kind of creepy roles). She has been doing poorly in school and after some investigation, Emily suspects abuse from the parents. Some things go horribly awry and Emily is taken away from her parents, who are subsequently placed in a mental institution.  Too frightened to go into foster care, Lillith begs to be taken in my Emily herself.

What follows is typical demon child stuff. Take bits of "The Ring," "The Omen," "Orphan" and numerous other devilish schlock-horrors of the past decade and you can pretty much determine what's to come every step of the way. Bit parts from Ian McShane and Bradley Cooper are pretty much  wasted (and, shocker, if you've seen the trailer, you already know the fate of one of them).

What else can even be said at this point? Horror is a genre seemingly on a perpetual downfall--with every great one released, a few dozen complete duds arrive in its wake, almost always drowning it so that the gems are often lost in the crowd. It's hard to determine why--with movies like "Inception" breaking the box office, it's clear audiences are interested in originality. Perhaps the problem is that they just don't demand it enough. Audiences settle for stuff like "Case 39" or the numerous "Saw" installments (with another arriving--of course in 3D--at the end of the month) instead of reaching out for something new.

Well, horror fans looking for more of the same will find it in spades in "Case 39." It's not the worst horror film of this year, but there have been so many mediocre efforts that it's pointless to even compare them at this point. Really, if this one had remained on the shelf, it's unlikely anybody but those involved in the production would have noticed.

Grade: D

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