Thursday, October 7, 2010
"Don't apologize." "Why?" "You're a grown up...it's embarrassing."
I really wanted to like this movie. Despite the poor reviews and the whole "This was filmed in 2006, nobody would buy the film until 2009 when it was released in the UK and then a year later in the US" thing I had hope for this one. The trailers made it out to be either the 2010 answer to Orphan or a ghostly thriller (the two trailers were completely different, also not a good sign) and sadly it's the former. I had nothing against Orphan, just like I had nothing against the Omen, but I don't find little girls scary unless they're in a Kubrick film.
But why did I want to so desperately like it? Because Christian Alvart is a good director (see his German thriller Antibodies for proof) and while I initially hated Pandorum I now think it's kind of interesting space thriller that even when I hated it, I thought it was well shot and put together nicely. So imagine my disgust when I left Case 39 and it was extremely underwhelmed and disappointed. It does have some saving graces that keep it from being on par with Ghost Ship or other craptastical horror films but it's still by no means great.
But that's when things get hinky. A boy murders his parents after apparently getting a call from Emily's house and because of that, Emily suspects that Lilith may have some psychological problems like her parents. Doug (Bradley Cooper), a friend of Emily and a child psychologist, evaluates Lilith and gets spooked when Lilith turns all Damian on him. Later that night Doug is found dead and that leaves Emily freaked out that maybe things are not as they seem with Lilith.
I find that to be pretty sad actually because if the film had been what it had originally been than this film would have probably been really good. Instead we are left with a poorly written, poorly directed, poorly paced, and overall poorly done movie that if nothing else suffers from being incredibly forgettable. Ask me a week from now and I probably will have forgotten the film. Renee is okay as Emily but despite a strong start ends up devolving to nothing more than a scream queen who grows a pair at the end. Cooper, as I mentioned, is sparse but does well for the time he's on. The scene between him and Lilith is actually quite good. Ian McShane is also pretty good but not used that much so it's hard to really call his performance great. The big saving grace of this movie and the only reason to watch is Jodelle Ferland.
As I mentioned before this was done shortly after Silent Hill. Whether you loved or hated (I'm the latter) the film, it was hard to admit that she wasn't at least memorable in the movie. Nick Jobe actually mentions her as the female Ben Foster and I would be hard pressed to disagree. And despite this movie failing in most areas, Jodelle actually does really well in this movie. She seems all cute and innocent at first but unlike Orphan and even The 2006 Omen, she turns gradually and when you find out she is truly an evil little girl it's actually quite creepy and well handled. The longer the movie goes, the better she gets and when we get those glimpses of innocence, it's almost creepier than her pure evilness.
I still really wish they would have made the original trailer's version of the movie...
MY VERDICT: AVOID IT