The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 109 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/French/Spanish/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese
Starring: Rene Zellweger, Jodelle Ferland, Ian McShane, Bradley Cooper
Directed by: Christian Alvart
Music by: Michael Britsch
Written by: Ray Wright
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 4, 2011
"Some cases should never be opened"
Academy Award® winner Renee Zellweger stars in this terrifying, supernatural thriller about a social worker who has been assigned the unusual and disturbing case of Lillith Sullivana girl with a strange and mysterious past. When Emily (Renee Zellweger) opens her home in an attempt to help Lillith, it turns into a deadly nightmare she may not survive. Co-starring Bradley Cooper (The Hangover), Case 39 is a heart-stopping chiller with startling surprises that lead to a shocking and sinister ending.
As a film fan I enjoy a good horror movie from time to and time and was curious to see what Case 39 had to offer. Well the answer is, not much. It's a supernatural horror thriller that breaks no new ground and is about as formulaic as they come. The plot revolves around a social worker named Emily who is assigned a case involving the reported abuse of a adolescent girl, Lilith Sullivan by her parents. With a workload that is already unmanageable Emily decides to look into that matter after reading the file. Upon visiting Lilith's home she encounters bizarre behavior by her parents and discovers that there appears to be validity to the abuse claim. One night Emily is called to the house when Lilith's parents behavior escalates and she has to be removed from the home. Emily reaches out to Lilith and petitions for temporary custody of her until a foster home can be found. Initially things run smoothly however Emily slowly begins to sense that that there is something different about Lilith. After a series of unusual accidents begin to befall people close to Emily she soon discovers that the charming, lonely and bright little girl she has opened her home and heart to has a dark and mysterious secret that leaves a foreboding trail of evil in her wake.
If you have seen one evil urchin horror movie then you have seen Case 39. Rene Zellweger's character is the trusting dogooder who winds up face to face with the evil that no one else can see. Once she realizes what is happening it becomes a typical game of cat and mouse. All of the requisite characters are represented, Bradley Cooper in the role of her good friend who tries in vain to help, and Ian McShane as the local police detective who investigates the strange goings on are both miscast in my opinion. I did like Jodelle Ferland and thought she readily handled the dark and multi-faceted aspects of her part as Lilith. The script is shallow and uneven which impacts the pacing and character development . I think more background on Lilith's origins probably would help derive more of a connection to the proceedings. The other problem is the film's lack of tangibly scary moments. There is a some suspense and one or two jump scares but I never got the chill that causes the hair on the back of your neck to stand up. As the story progresses it becomes more anomalous with respect to earlier established events and by the end (which is pretty ridiculous) I simply didn't care anymore. There is an alternate ending which is a bit more melodramatic but less campy than the theatrical version. Either way Case 39 is a forgettable film that lacks definable characters, original writing and tangibly frightening moments.
The rating is for violence and terror including disturbing images.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Case 39 comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 34 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.9 Mbps.
This film utilizes a dark and singular chromatic visual style that doesn't lend itself to overly vibrant colors and high gloss video quality. There are instances where brighter elements/deeper color extension are utilized and the contrast allows them to pop visually. Otherwise onscreen images predominantly lean toward darker color schemes, and grittier textures that provide the look that the filmmakers use to drive the story's components. This is done to good effect. Shadow delineation is quite good and revealing of subtle details within dark backgrounds and low lighting which enhances visual depth. Good contrast and stable black levels allow scenes containing mixed content to appear gradationally satisfying with crisp whites and dark dynamic highlights. Resolution is discerning as images are characterized by intricate and definitively rendered detail that gives the video appreciable dimension and delineated texture. This is the case in all but a few instances where definition softens and doesn't retain the same level of lucidity.
The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio surround mix does an excellent job rendering the film's soundtrack. Dialogue has excellent intonation and clarity which allows even subtle changes in vocal pitch to be appreciable. This is a well balanced audio presentation that quite often engages the entire system. Dynamic range is excellent and the soundstage has an open expression that allows its elements to extend well into the room. Discrete rear channel activity isn't extensive however the elements of fright provide an enriching level of immersion generated by a seamless sound field. The LFE channel is frequently active and reproduces the film's music and extended lower bass frequencies with room filling extension that strikes with palpable impact.
- Filed under evil: inside Case 39 - 8 minute making of featurette
- Turning up the heat on the chill factor - 4 minute VFX featurette
- Inside the hornets nest - 3 minute VFX featurette
- Playing with fire - 4 minute VFX featurette
- 18 deleted scenes (including an alternate ending)
Case 39 is a supernatural horror thriller that is driven by a formulaic script that lacks definable characters, original writing and tangibly frightening moments. Its debut on Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Entertainment offers good audio/video quality but a lackluster set of bonus supplements. It probably has enough substance to lure in viewers who are easily effected by B movie horror but more discerning genre fans won't be susceptible to its paint by the numbers script. Case 39 is a rental at best (if you're curious) but I would recommend that you wait for it to air on cable TV.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS50 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Samsung BD-C7900 Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, Audioquest, Better Cables (Silver Serpent Reference High Speed HDMI ), Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package