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Case 39

A 2009 horror movie directed by Christian Alvart.

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Case 39 = Bridget Jones Meets Omen

  • Jan 7, 2011
Renee Z plays a hard-working social worker with a heart of gold (is there any other kind in Hollywood?), whose equally nice best friend (Bradley Cooper) is trying to get her in the sack. Oh dear - we all know what that means for him in a horror movie. Her latest case - number 39 - is about two completely scary-as-shit parents with a seemingly regular little girl. Ian McShane struggles with an American accent throughout - really badly, which is weird since he doesn't even try for a Christian Bale-style growl which is much easier for Brits to impersonate. And there's even a token black guy who amazingly doesn't get killed, which is like totally unbelievable since it's in the top 10 horror cliches.

Here's the trailer:

The trailer actually craps all over the movie's major surprises and shock points. Back in the day, trailers used to be almost entirely moments from act 1, but these days they give it all away. *Sigh* Anyway, needless to say, the little girl turns out to be a demon with pigtails and does the requisite threatening behavior and potty mouth moments quite well. That's a shame, since:
  • The Orphan was a better version of the same thing.
  • It would have been more interesting if the central story's question was about whether the parents or the girl were a problem. Kudos to Mrs Me for coming up with a much more interesting version of the film after about 10 minutes of cue time.
  • Samara would still kick her butt, especially for ripping off the way she calls her victims to kill them. Note to viewers: stop answering the phone.
Although Case 39 has its moments, they're few and far between, with Act 2 seeing all the major characters being killed off, and Act 3 being a series of action set-pieces designed to kill the demon. The CGI is bad - I mean, like The Hulk bad. And Renee Z sleepwalks her way through this in a way that makes you wonder if her career's done. The demon spawn keeps offering to brush her hair throughout, which might have been a good idea according to my wife. Interestingly enough, it's another film shot in British Columbia (tax breaks, baby!), so the city doesn't provide any context or setting for the drama - putting it in Chicago might have given a little edge.

I really like Chris Pandolfi's review here, which nails the core problem. With an endlessly delayed release, this looks like it was stuck in development hell then reshoot hell, and somehow a potentially average film got mangled in the process. Chris looks like a solid Luncher.

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January 09, 2011
I had a feeling this one wasn't all that great, great review.
January 07, 2011
Yeah. I am happy I skipped this one altogether and I may see this only when it hits HBO. Nice one, James!
January 07, 2011
Thanks! Taking a hit for the Lunch team over here... :-)
More Case 39 reviews
review by . March 17, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
* out of ****     "Case 39" is a revolting, loud, excessively corny horror movie made nearly unwatchable due to how down-right insulting it is. It has a disrespectable attitude towards horror, thrillers, or whatever genre the damn thing falls under. It's not even bad enough to be good; it's just bad. And yes, that means that it's all bad. There's not a hint of joy, goodness, or inspiration to be found. It's unoriginal- as most horror movies are- but never embraces its clichés …
review by . October 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
"Case 39" is a tired, meandering, ridiculous train wreck of a horror movie, a distinction I'm sure must have contributed to its delayed release. Shot way back in late 2006, it was originally scheduled to open on February 8, 2008 before quickly getting pushed back to February 22, then to August 22, then to April 10, 2009, then to January 1, 2010. After opening in Europe, Latin America, and most of the known world during the latter half of 2009 and into 2010, it has finally found its …
Quick Tip by . January 24, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
A new favorite to add to my collection of crazy demon children movies! This movie was a trip from start to finish. It really has you thinking the entire time.
About the reviewer
James Beswick ()'s "token Brit".
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About this movie


Case 39 is a 2009 horror thriller film directed by Christian Alvart and starring Renée Zellweger, Jodelle Ferland, and Ian McShane. The film was shot in Vancouver  in late 2006 and was released theatrically in the UK, European and Latin American countries on August 13, 2009. The film was initially scheduled for American cinematic release in August 2008, but was delayed twice before its final release date on October 1, 2010, which resulted in the film leaking online way ahead of its US release.

Case 39 was released to New Zealand cinemas on August 13, 2009 and in its opening weekend was ranked #12 with $35,056. Averaging $1,845 at the 19 cinemas it was released, the film failed to garner attendance. The film opened at a small-wide release in Australia, being shown on 85 screens. The film ranked #12 in its opening weekend with a screen average of $2,077 for a gross of $176,526. Extremely negative local reviews and a poor opening were followed by a 70% second weekend decrease. The film grossed a total of $AUD332,956. The film has grossed a total of $14,926,149 from it's international run ahead of it's U.S. release.

The film has received mostly negative reviews and currently holds a 20% 'Rotten' rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 27 reviews, with the consensus stating "Director Christian Alvert has a certain stylish flair, but it's wasted on Case 39's frightless, unoriginal plot."  Gareth Jones of Dread Central gave the film...
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Director: Christian Alvart
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 1 October 2010 (USA)
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Ray Wright
Runtime: 109 minutes
Studio: Misher Films
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