Horror Review: Case 39, by j


It is a little known fact that I love (LOVE) horror films.  The creepier the better.  Gory I don’t need, blood I can do in small doses…but scare me?  Yes!

And horror movies in the movie theater is even better, the dark lighting, really high volume and craziness that is being terrified in a theater with your closest friend.

Currently I am in love with Netflix, and considering that they have a a “horror” section I am getting the crap scared out of me on a regular basis.

I don’t know why I love the scary flicks, but I can genuinely say that I’ve never been disappointed by a horror film.  If it’s good, it scares the day lights out of me.  And if it’s bad is effing HILARIOUS.

(Case in point: the horror flick “Prom Night”.  Thanks for the laughs Brittany Snow.)

Last night I decided to watch the 2010 film “Case 39” starring Renee Zellweger and Bradley Cooper.

I wanted to watch it for a couple of reasons.

First off, Renee’s character “Emily Jenkins” is a social worker.  And since this is to be my future (not a child protection worker, that’s insanity – sorry Anna!), I was curious about what they were doing with the lead character’s occupation of choice.

Second, there is a creepy kid in it.  Rule #1 of the horror film: if there is an “evil” kid or scary child in the movie it instantly increases the creep factor times 10.

So last night at 10:30pm in the basement on my own I selected “Case 39”.


(sidenote: I don’t think knowing the end of horror movies ruins them.  That is the beauty of the horror film)

The film starts off with endearing the audience to Emily, our hard working, burnt out social worker.  She’s got a caseload of 38 (title alert!), has a quasi-flirtatious relationship with Doug (Cooper), a child psychologist and is obviously damaged (her mom died very mysteriously).  We meet her boss (who wears Hugo Boss suits to work…um, what?), and her equally harried co-workers.  The we see Emily get her 39th case, Lillith Sullivan.  A ten year old who has the saddest little photo in her file.

After a visit to the Sullivan household all the red flags are there for a violent father (uber controlling, scary and not afraid of authority).  But fear not: this film does a good job at quashing the belief that a controlling man is bad (by the end you know he HAD to be controlling!).

Emily has a bad feeling.  But that’s all, just a feeling.  Her Hugo Boss wearing boss won’t let her intervene after no evidence is found (she’s just extremely sad and potentially neglected) for fear of a lawsuit (yeah, ok).  Emily pleads for one last shot.  First inaccuracy of the film follows as Emily ambushes little Lily at the water cooler while her parents are talking to the boss.  Literally this is the convo:

Emily: What’s going on at home, Lily?

Lily: (twitchy, nervous)

Emily: I can help you.  Tell me what they’re doing to you!

WHAT?! Are you kidding me?  You can’t ambush a 10 year old while she’s waiting for her parents to finish a private meeting.  Shady, Emily.

After that Emily is not convinced.  So she does the second shady thing.  She shows up at Lily’s school.  This is the convo that ensues:

Emily: Lily!

(Lily runs to hug Emily, sad looking)

Emily: I just wanted to stop by and let you know know that I’ve been thinking about you.  And I’m still working on getting you out of that house.

Lily: I should go.

(Lily runs off, Emily runs after her)

Emily: Here’s my home phone number. Call me if you need me.

Holy hell.  Who wrote this?  Do people actually think that you can do this?

It was probably a good idea that Emily gave Lily her number, as that night her parents try to put her in the oven.  Finally!  We have our evidence and Lily is shoved into a “state home” or “an orphanage”.  Even though there are no such thing.

But Lily pleads with Emily to let her move in with her.  And we get a glimpse of Emily damaged heart:

Emily: I’m just not mom material.

Which is totally counter to everything we’ve already learned about Emily.

Later on we see Emily pleading with a group of people (I think in a school gym?) and makes her case to take Lily home.  What!?!?!  Come ON.

Then the body count starts.

And I will say that this takes a while.  Too long for my liking.

All of a sudden Emily’s friends start dropping like flies (including Doug, after a creepy interaction with Lily…which I’m pretty sure happened at 10pm at night…random).

Then the pieces start to fall into place.  Emily’s suspicious of Lily and does not quite believe her sweet voice and innocent smile.

Unfortunately, Emily ends up looking like a creep.  After consultation with Lily’s family in the MENTAL INSTITUTION, Emily and Mr. Sullivan hatch the plan to kill the kid.

(Wait, aren’t these meetings taped, supervised, anything?).

And here’s where the movie gets unbelievable (yes I said unbelievable).

The ending is thoroughly ridiculous and ends it with a completely open ending for a sequel (which is rule #2 of horror flicks).  The only unfortunate thing is that this movie won’t have a sequel as it was not that great.

As well, this is the film where the Renee and Bradley met and started their love affair (which sadly, was doomed much like the film).

All in all the film was worth the watch, and probably would have been marginally better in the theater.

Just don’t watch it for it’s depiction of what a social worker should do. Ever.

J’s Fright Scale: 5/10

Moral of the movie: If a kid is unwanted and abused, there’s probably a reason.

“Case 39”


About weywardsisters

The Three Weyward Sisters first appeared in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”. It turns out we have more in common with these “weird” sisters than we thought. In the Shakespeare play the sisters represent darkness, chaos and conflict. We’ll leave it up to you to decide which of us represents each. They also usually show up to mark impending doom. Well, we certainly hope that our presence on this little corner of the Interwebs doesn’t mean impending doom for anyone. However, we find our commonalities with the witches in other ways. To be weyward means to be willful, disobedient and to turn away from what is “right or proper”. Those who know us would whole heartedly agree – we are three weyward sisters. We are three headstrong, stubborn (some more than others), obstinate and willful sisters. Read at your own risk.

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