Case 39 alternates between dull and goofy

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      Starring Renée Zellweger, Jodelle Ferland, and Ian McShane. Rated 14A.

      Okay, the question has to be asked. And it’s not why is Renée Zellweger sending her career further to hell with this demonic slice of stinky cheese? Although, that’s a good question. No, the burning question here is, what the Hades is going on with Zellweger’s face? How come it keeps getting puffier and puffier, even when she’s skinny? With this kind of freaky distraction going on how can you concentrate on being not-scared by horror-thriller Case 39?

      Watch the trailer for Case 39.

      Those Vancouver locations are distracting too—which isn’t a fair comment, of course. But it is fair to wonder, why does the Devil want to live in some shitty house near the Kootenay Loop? Sorry, getting ahead of things. Here’s the gist: with help from a child psychologist (Bradley Cooper), social worker Emily (Zellweger) investigates a child-neglect case and finds a pale, quiet kid (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’s Jodelle Ferland) with piercing blue eyes, whose parents (Callum Keith Rennie and Kerry O’Malley) look like they haven’t slept in 10 years. Soon after, Emily and a cop pal (Ian McShane) catch mom and dad trying to cook little Lilith in the oven. Did director Christian Alvart (Pandorum) and screenwriter Ray Wright mean it to be funny when McShane’s character yells, “What the hell’s the matter with you people?” Damn hilarious work, guys.

      Things get bloody bad after that—for viewers of the alternately dull and goofy Case 666—I mean, Case 39—and for any supporting character anywhere near creepy little Lilith. There are hackneyed tricks to make you jump, like people and things suddenly popping into the frame and wasps coming out of someone’s orifices. Okay, you’ve seen something like it—flies, maybe. Zellweger’s Emily gets hysterical and never gets smart. As for the Devil or the demon or whatever—what’s up with all those static-y phone calls? Get a new cellphone already!