An­other killer kid

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Filmreviews -

THERE’S NO mys­tery about the fact that this ropey scary-stary child hor­ror has re­mained in un­re­leased limbo for the past two-and-a-half years. Af­ter all, fol­low­ing a de­cent beginning, it rapidly de­scends into may­hem of the most straight-toDVD stripe. The ques­tion is: why on earth has turned up to­day?

Per­haps the in­creased vis­i­bil­ity of Bradley Cooper – al­most un­known when the film was shot – has some­thing to do with it. Well, if you want to see the star of The Hang­over ex­ude killer flies from ev­ery ori­fice, then this is your only man. He cer­tainly doesn’t do that in All About Steve.

Renée Zell­weger, more ham­ster­faced than usual, plays a so­cial worker with a par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est in abused chil­dren. The tit­u­lar Case 39 con­cerns a fam­ily who, ter­ri­fied of their ap­par­ently sweet young daugh­ter (Jodelle Fer­land), have taken to ram­ming her in the oven and turn­ing on the gas.

The con­cerned Zell­weger takes the child into her own home, but, af­ter a few mys­te­ri­ous deaths, be­gins to sus­pect she might be pos­sessed by the Devil. Or maybe she ac­tu­ally is the Devil. Or some­thing. Who knows or cares?

The open­ing act fol­lows the dic­tates of the pae­do­pho­bic genre (see last year’s first-rate Or­phan) by trans­form­ing or­di­nary ju­ve­nile ir­ri­ta­tions into colos­sal out­rages. Watch as the kid’s man­ner of eat­ing peas drives Renée to dis­trac­tion. But the un­in­ten­tion­ally hi­lar­i­ous fi­nal half hour of­fers re­peated ev­i­dence that the film-mak­ers’ don’t know the so­lu­tion to their own oc­cult mys­tery.

Back to limbo with you, Case 39.

Case 39: first re­ac­tion to the script

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