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Case 39 review

A social worker adopts an abused girl and starts to experience some spooky goings-on...

Release date 39, more like.

The delayed arrival of Christian Alvart’s entry in the recently vogue-ish hell-brat genre (The Children, Orphan…) suggests it’s a dud – and although his by-numbers schlocker isn’t totally disastrous, it hardly raises its head above an over-crowded cine-cot of little monsters.

Renée Zellweger plays Emily, a social worker whose concerns about a seemingly beaten girl named Lilith ( Jodelle Ferland) appear to be confirmed when her parents try to roast their daughter in the oven.

Emily has the folks arrested, not unreasonably, but when she adopts Lilith, a slew of spooky occurrences prompt her to suspect that mum and dad knew best after all.

Pandorum director Alvart summons some scares here: Ferland is persuasively weird and hornets are utilised to skin-crawling effect. Most of his ideas are second-hand, though.

As the routine door-slamming and freaky demon crawls begin, you’ll wonder why this one’s bothering cinemas on its way to disc.

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