Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Case 39 (2009)

     Please indulge me in this small amount of snarkiness.
     "Some cases should never be opened."  
     Yeah, I'm assuming you mean the DVD case for Case 39 (a 2006 production, 2009 release in Europe and Latin America, and a late 2010 release in the U.S.A.).  Okay, I'm done being snarky.
     This is a bad movie.  Renée Zellweger looks downright unattractive as social worker Emily – if this was by design it is to no effect other than distraction – and delivers 80% of her lines in some kind of a forced whisper.  She seems largely disconnected from her character through most of the film.  There are a couple of scenes where she does seem in the moment, but those come very late – by that point, I was just watching the clock waiting for the movie to be over.
     Always attractive Bradley Cooper and Ian McShane also seem lost in their few scenes.  For the most part, they are talked at by Zellweger, only to be given horror scenes that are dreadfully boring.  Maybe McShane's garage sequence is supposed to be reminiscent of The Omen (1976), but it comes across as lifeless.  Cooper's bathroom sequence is as believable as the CGI creatures afflicting him, which is to say not very.
     Callum Keith Renne – so good as Jim Field in Falling Angels (2005) – gives a decent performance, as does Kerry O'Malley as devil-girl Lilith's parents.  Jodelle Ferland (Lilith) is all over the place in terms of consistency of character, which may be a choice the director made, but she also does not give the other actors in her scenes much to work with.  Cynthia Stevenson shows up for two scenes and is given the worst line I've heard in a recent movie: "Walk the talk."
     I would gladly watch the new Conan the Barbarian (see review here) multiple times rather than have to sit through this half-finished product.  I had heard good things about it, but was consistently less interesting than most SyFy Channel Original movies.  If I had to give it a grade – and assuming that "Incomplete, see me after class" is not an option – I'd give it a D.  Zellweger has been much better than this, and hopefully will be again. I like it when established actors take a chance on a genre film, but I like it much more when said film turns out to be engaging or engrossing, and I can come to care about the characters and the story.  None of that happened here.

1 comment:

  1. I think it was a decent movie. The mystery of lilith was exciting, and a couple of suspenses were there too. Zellweger is supposed to look like a struggling social worker.