Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Case 39 takes a while to get going, and for a little while it seemed like it was a perfect example of everything I hate about the studio horror films of the last decade or two: heavy-handed screenplay, choppy direction lacking in finesse, bombastic music, name actors floundering in underwritten roles. But when the other shoe finally drops, and Case 39 finally starts to turn towards its real story, it becomes a surprising amount of expertly manipulative, if silly, fun. It reminded me a bit of another recent evil-child movie, Orphan, although not quite as awesome.
The plot grows increasingly crazy (in good ways), the major set pieces (especially the one where a bunch of hornets crawl out of a dude's mouth, ears and eyes) are solid, and the child actor has that amazing Dakota-Fanning-like ability to seem far too mature and intelligent for her age. I'm not sure if this movie was intended in total seriousness, and if it was then it's probably something of a failure. But as a piece of absurd, far-fetched fun, it had me mostly delighted.