Thursday, October 27, 2011
Emily, an overburdened social worker with too many active cases, is given the file of another abused child to investigate. She eventually meets Lily, a frail, withdrawn 10-year old, and Lily’s secretive and guarded parents. Lily confides in Emily that she is being abused and claims that she overheard her parents discussing a plan to murder her. Without any actual proof of abuse, Emily’s boss refuses to allow her to pursue the case any further. One evening, however, Emily receives a panicked phone call from Lily and upon arriving at the home she finds Lily’s parents stuffing her in the oven. After Lily is removed from the home Emily convinces her boss to allow Lily to live with her until a suitable foster family can be located. But when Lily’s sugar sweet demeanor (think Rhoda from The Bad Seed) evolves into scathing precociousness and people begin dying, Emily begins to wonder if Lily’s parents had the right idea.
I saw the trailer for Case 39 when I was watching a Paranormal Activity 2 DVD and I thought it looked interesting. A quick check on Rotten Tomatoes suggested that it was terrible, but I was curious. I thought it was a lot fun! With echoes of The Bad Seed and The Omen, Case 39 delivers the scares and feels brisk despite its 1:40 minute run time. I found it so engrossing that I forgot to drink the glass of wine that I had poured for myself. Renée Zellweger, whose face resembles a puckered anus these days (seriously, what happened to her?) was good casting and Jodelle Ferland (Lily) is just a terrific little actress. She is able to smile and make you think, “Oh, she’s a cutie” and conversely, “She’s terrifying”. I gave this a lower rating only because the “evil child” thing has been done many times before, but this is a good one!