Case 39

HORROR; 1hr 49min

STARRING: Renée Zellweger, Jodelle Ferland

Bedevilled: Zellweger

One glance at Margaret and Edward Ferguson (Kerry O’Malley and Callum Keith Rennie) and their mutely cowering daughter, Lillith (Ferland), and social worker Emily Jenkins (Zellweger) is convinced she has stumbled into a nest of vipers. The stony-faced parents come off as Mrs and Mrs Crazy while their 10-year-old daughter looks terrified — apparently with damned good reason. With the Crazies behind bars, Emily takes Lillith under her wing and into her cosy home. This is a grievous error — if it weren’t, there’d be no movie. But since there is one in all its creepy mopiness, get ready for a sour dose of demon seed.


Ferland does a chilly job of metamorphosing from piteous victim to flat-out vile while a distraught Zellweger grows more paranoid by the minute, as you would if you were bunking down with a member of Team Satan. Ray Wright’s screenplay is hardly the last word in originality but Christian Alvart’s direction is sinisterly fluent enough to deliver the requisite reflexive shocks. And that’s exactly the way it should be. After all, this is the devil we’re dealing with.