Rating: * *
Verdict: Been there, done that.
Case 39 is a horror film that is more film than horror. But if you're unfamiliar with the genre and its scare tactics, and haven't been introduced to other little devils such as Damien from The Omen, then this should serve as a manageable introduction.
Renee Zellweger stars as Emily Jenkins, an idealistic and hardworking Family Services social worker. She's single and although she has an ongoing flirtation with her good friend, child psychologist Doug (Cooper), she has little time for romance. Emily's dedication to the job goes beyond the call of duty when she decides to petition the state for guardianship of 10-year-old Lilith Sullivan (Jodelle Ferland), the subject of her 39th active case.
Lilith might seem a sweet and withdrawn young woman, but once Emily gets her home she realises there was a reason her parents tried to cook their only child in the oven.
Once Emily sees Lilith for what she really is, she quickly drops the caring foster parent act, and finally Case 39 goes from being just a little creepy to being a little frightening.
The performances are all solid, even if the characters go a little too quickly from sceptics to believers in Lilith's evil tendencies. There are a few creepy moments, a few disturbing moments (that oven comes to mind) and a handful of good frights, but overall Case 39 is undermined by that feeling that you've seen it all before.
Cast: Renee Zellweger, Bradley Cooper
Director: Christian Alvart
Running time: 111 mins
Rating: R16 (horror scenes & violence)