B-D Advance Review: Paramount’s ‘Case 39’

I don’t always post reviews for test screenings – it just depends on the situation at hand – but this review is freaking hilarious! Today B-D reader ‘The Boogedyman’ sent us in a review from a test showing of Paramount Pictures’ Case 39, which we’ve been told has been toying with the ending quite a bit. So before you read on please note that the review is for an unfinished film, things could quite possibly be different. Read on for the review.
Advance review by: The Boogedyman

*Note: This is a review from a test screening that was a workprint, which may or may not be the final cut. There could be many changes to the film by the time it’s released in 2008.

Last night I was (un)lucky enough to catch a test screening of Paramount Pictures’ CASE 39, which has been screening a lot lately here in CA. In fact, I think I missed a screening of the film three times now! Well tonight was the night, and after sneaking free popcorn and soda from the filmmaker’s concession stand line (thanks guys!), I checked into one of the most ludicrous horror films in years. The fact that anyone took this idea seriously is laughable on its own merit.

The film follows a social worker named Emily Jenkins (Renée Zellweger) who fights to save a girl named Lillith Sullivan (Jodelle Ferland from SILENT HILL) from her abusive parents, only to discover that the situation is more dangerous than she ever expected. So dangerous that the fake scares might give you a freaking heart attack.

To put it plain and simple, CASE 39 is a farce, a complete fake, the worst kind of horror movie. You have two types of ‘scares’, the first being organic and part of the unfolding situations, while the second is what I like to call f-cking bullsh-t scares. Let me elaborate so you catch my drift.

Scare #1: Renée Zellweger doing something, cut to Lillith’s father in basement breaking open the cement flooring. The loud noise of the impact causes the entire audience to jolt and then giggle because “they were tricked!”

Scare #2: There is a crime scene where a boy kills his parents, for no apparent reason the director cuts to a shot of a dog barking outside and then jumping on the glass. Once again the entire audience jolts and then giggles because “they were tricked!” How did they do it?!

Scare #3: Zellweger, while snooping through a house, picks up a clock. Guess what happens? RIIIINNNNGGGGGG!!! How do they do it?!!

Scare #4: This one is my absolute favorite. Zellweger is working at her desk in her office when all of a sudden someone knocks on the cubicle!! The sound bangs so incredibly loud in the theater causing everyone to drop their popcorn and sodas. SCARRRYYY…. How do they do it?!

And you wish I was joking…. there’s more.

Scare #5: When Zellweger is visiting the parents of Lillith’s (Jodelle) character, she’s standing in the hall talking to a doctor when the mother slams into the glass screaming!! BOO! They got you again!! Oh man, I’m super scared now…

To further elaborate on why this movie sucks on the highest level I need to ruin the “big surprise” you’ll figure out within ten minutes (if you’re smart). So here it goes, don’t blame me if you read on… halfway through the film we find out that Lillith Sullivan is actually a demon – yup, as close to the Devil as you can get. The second this is established one major thing happens within Ray Wright’s script… all of the rules go right out the window. Basically Wright says “now that Lillith is a demon she can do ANYTHING I want her to,” giving him free reign to add as much illogical BS he can fit into 45 minutes. One example is when Lillith is banging on Emily’s room door, which is now padlocked shut. Then everything goes silent and Emily hears something in her closet… she opens the door, pulls back the clothes only to find an image of Lillith’s mom burnt screaming in Emily’s face. She runs out chasing Emily through the street and to a bus where the driver says “there’s nobody there!”

With the rules out the door Wright is free to lift any plot device from any movie he’s seen over the 100 years including THE OMEN, THE GRUDGE, THE RING, BAD SEED, WHEN A STRANGER CALLS, ONE MISSED CALL, WHAT LIES BENEATH and a gazillion others films that earned their popularity.

CASE 39 is a disgrace to the horror genre, doing nothing but attempting to trick the audience into “thinking” they’re afraid when actually they’ve just had an image thrown in front of them with loud sounds.

And let’s not forget to mention the ridiculous editing that gives our “phantoms” a jumpy scaaarrryyy twitch, the horrendous acting by Zellweger and a score that is such a crappy rendition of classic films/TV shows from the ‘50s and ‘60s.

The ONLY saving grace for the film is Jodelle Ferland when she begins to show her bad side and her interaction with social worker Douglas J. Ames (Bradley Cooper). Some of the CG effects were also worth noting like a sequence involving thousands of hornets.

In the end CASE 39 is probably the single worst horror films I’ve seen since Uwe Boll’s ALONE IN THE DARK. Its blatant intentions to trick me only fueled the fire deep inside me. I hated every single aspect about this film including its over-the-top obnoxious finale. I swear if this movie makes an money I’m gonna be pissed, the producers should donate anything they make into preserving older classic films so we don’t forget what a good horror movie looks like.