Case 39 (2009) Film Review


From millions of cases, she decides to choose this particular one?

Directed by Christian Alvart, Case 39 focuses on the single, hard-working social worker, Emily Jenkins (Renée Zellweger). Digging deep into the stack of files, she comes across a peculiar case that diverts her attention. The case follows the interesting story of an innocent young girl, Lilith (Jodeth Ferland) who appears to be abused by her parents. With thoughtful research, Emily decides to meet the family, where Lilith’s parents appear to be reserved and generally odd. Though, don’t judge to quick, as things turn out binary than expected. Emily approaches this case to save an innocent girl, but her gut is undeniably destroyed by a dangerous situation, or should I say a person.

An engaging story which truly immerses with its characters, taking us on an enthralling journey. Jodeth Ferland as Lilith, hands down does a great job in perpetuating a strange teenager on screen. Her creepy nature complimented with her aggressive behavior comes across as very powerful where the demon inside of her is literally brought to life. For example, the scene where Emily is hiding under her bed is unforgettable. Stunning graphics, capturing the true demonic foot of Lilith, where you simply know that there’s no way out for Emily.

I know where you’re hiding
The oven scene

Case 39 begins in a non-linear format; a dramatic scene where we see Lilith being shoved into an oven! The climax is well thought out; where at this stage we immediately choose sides. Though, the same scene is shown later on at some point, where we regret out decision.

Taking you on a slightly menacing (I would say) journey, Case 39 is conjured up with some weird, strange and spooky events, multiplying the ‘thriller’ genre. Bradley Cooper whom plays Emily’s close friend and another social worker; Doug is a great addition to the case (pun-intended). His nurturing behavior is established kindly yet by saying a little TOO much, his words are held against him.


An unforgettable scene, which will surely get you thinking about your fears. All I can say is bees, lots and lots of bees!

Father (Callum Keith Rennie) and Mother (Kerry O’Malley) of Lilith brilliantly portray an ambiguous persona. Their strangeness adds to the questioning plot, yet all makes sense towards the end. Their acting, in particular Kerry’s as Lilith’s Mother is superb. The scene where she feels as if she is being burnt alive is in fact an illusion yet so realistically acted it out, you empathetically feel for her.

Overall, Case 39 is definitely worth a watch with an engaging story and compelling performances from great actors. It’s true; never judge a book by its cover.

My rating: 8.5/10

Written by: Meera Darji


4 thoughts on “Case 39 (2009) Film Review

    1. Yeah 100% agree, I was shocked, especially watching the oven scene again, it was shown from a different angle which was genius! Thank you 🙂

  1. I agree, too. I enjoyed this film a lot and thought the dialogue was really tense in some spots. That little girl sure knew how to throw some zingers out there, threatening and scary.

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