Case 39 review

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

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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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Freelance writer

Kevin Harley is a freelance journalist with bylines at Total Film, Radio Times, The List, and others, specializing in film and music coverage. He can most commonly be found writing movie reviews and previews at GamesRadar+.