Case 39 (2009)
For anyone even mildly interested in horror films, the concept of a demon child terrorizing its family and surroundings is old news. It has been done both well (The Exorcist, The Omen) and poorly (The Godsend, Mikey) so many times before that for a new entry to become even slightly interesting, it would have to offer a whole new angle or thematic approach. Case 39, directed by the talented German director who demonstrated more than a hint of creativity with the existential sci-fi chiller Pandorum, moves the point of view from the forlorn parents to an over-compassionate child welfare worker (Zellweger), and hopes this little shift does the trick. Unfortunately, the film is a shameless and horribly uninventive rehash in every other aspect. This not only makes it completely suspenseless and predictable from start to finish, but Case 39 doesn't even try to conceal its cliched plot. It simply goes through the motions in a somnambulistic manner, half awakens with a handful of cheap, unmotivated boos, and continues on towards an unavoidable ending which comes along at least half an hour too late.
This is disappointing work from Alvart, who seems to have nothing to offer here. He allows Ray Wright's boring script to drag the film down into insignificance, with little help from Renée Zellweger's simple-minded lead, or little Jodelle Ferland's overly instructed antagonist. In my opinion, the demon child genre had done its job by the end of the 1970s. So if Case 39 had been made in the 1960s, it might have been interesting. But it would still have been a badly told film without nerve.