Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 15
  2. Negative: 12 out of 15
  1. 20
    Neither so awful as to be enjoyable nor eerily artful enough to be anything other than a snoozy also-ran in the perpetually poor plotting machine that is the demon-child cinematic subgenre.
  2. 25
    Zellweger has come an awful long way since Matthew McConaughey terrorized her in "Texas Chainsaw Masscare": The Next Generation, but not quite as far as she might like to imagine.
  3. Director Christian Alvart ("Pandorum") is unable to invest much stylization into the proceedings, and Ray Wright's by-the-book screenplay only serves as a reminder of the innumerable demon-child movies that have preceded this one.
  4. 38
    It's only a movie, and not a remotely effective one. And for Zellweger, whose "Miss Potter" and "Appaloosa" were barely seen, with "Leatherheads" and "New in Town" further deflating her A-list clout, that's the real shame here.
  5. Radiating a distinctly retro vibe, this throwaway thriller from the German director Christian Alvart tosses a bone to Renée Zellweger, who chews it to a nub as Emily Jenkins, a harried social worker.
  6. From a bevy of cheesy jolt scares (alarm clock! barking dog!) to the embarrassing sight of Zellweger and Ian McShane treating this Orphan-style B-movie silliness with grave seriousness, the film proves to be one hokey-horror riot.
  7. 30
    Has there ever been a more inept trio of big-city caseworkers? Go ahead, Lilith. Unleash the hounds.
  8. One can't help experiencing the same dread about the exhausting flood of lackluster horror films that swamp our screens and, as Case 39 unfolds, realizing we're enduring one more.
  9. 70
    There is enough lurid, ludicrous subtext in the material to keep fans of such things happy. As trash, this is top of the line.
  10. 30
    A mess of a horror movie that spent several years sitting on a shelf and should have remained there living up to its fullest potential as a dust magnet.
  11. Reviewed by: Jordan Mintzer
    This ludicrous outing from helmer Christian Alvart ("Pandorum") and scribe Ray Wright ("The Crazies") takes its psycho-satanic babble much too seriously, and should elicit more laughs than frights.
  12. Reviewed by: Ethan Gilsdorf
    Introduce the supernatural, and anything goes. Here, everything does. And that's a problem no one can solve. At least it wasn't called "Case 666."
  13. Reviewed by: Leigh Paatsch
    This movie is so self- combustingly bad it could never be good. But it's damn great fun to watch the thing go up in flames anyway.
  14. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    Manages to be both very silly and highly forgettable. Only for those who collect killer-children films.
  15. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    An aggressively inept demon-seed chiller starring a bunch of grown-ups who should've known better.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 50 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 18
  2. Negative: 7 out of 18
  1. Jan 26, 2011
    We've watched a few stinkers lately but this one is a great movie. The plot had enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and I think we all know a kid with the potential... Full Review »
  2. Oct 3, 2010
    The masturbation scene from William Freidkin's "The Exorcist" will always be shocking. In a sense, the saying, "Now I've seen it all," should have been retired after 1973 when twelve-year-old Regan MacNeil(Linda Blair) jammed a crucifix in her vagina, while burning moviegoers' ears with a scatological mix of sex and religion that not even Prince would ever dare approach. The projectile vomiting, however, so often parodied, and more importantly, smiled upon, since the bodily function plays a big part in the modern comedy aesthetic, as a result, seems to have lost a lot of its initial shock value because moviegoers don't see the devil's bile anymore, they see pea soup. Lilith Sullivan(Jodele Ferland) eats peas, but that's as far as it goes; she masticates and digests; she holds her vegetables down. In "Case 39", it's harder to see the devil inside. As Lilith methodically cuts each pea with a knife and fork, Emily Jenkins(Renee Zelwegger), her foster mother, thinks nothing of it, chalking up the girl's idiosyncratic eating habits as a symptom of her abused past. The devil inside Lilith also knows how to keep its sexual appetite in check; the devil keeps things discreet. Adorning those walls of the girl's old house, the domicile where Lilith was almost cooked alive, trapped inside the oven, put there by her parents, as if the whole family were characters out of a modern-day Brothers Grimm fairytale, are crucifixes, that, as Sheena Easton would put it, never "spend[s] a night in [her] sugar walls," but nevertheless, carries a certain sexual latency, being that the devil would distort the Christian relic's holy significance the first chance he'd get. Naturally, the carefully sliced peas has nothing to do with persnicketiness; it's a warning sign, unbeknownst to Emily, that her charge, the devil incarnate, perceives Doug(Bradley Cooper), a child psychiatrist, as a rival for the dim-witted woman's attention(but to be fair, all horror movie heroines are programmed this way), and an affront to the foster parent's boyfriend's prowess as a satisfactory lover, in which the peas denote small balls, and its smashing, denotes further that small balls is no match for big balls. Not only does Doug die, but the girl's father, Edward Sullivan(Callum Keith Rennie), too, whom the girl's mother, Margaret(Kerry O'Malley) chose over Lilith/the devil after she rejects her/his overture to, perhaps, engender devil spawn. The audience gets to see this scenario play out for themselves. When Emily, finally, at long last, realizes the mess she's in, the devil turns on the charm, utilizing its proxy to play the lolita, by tweaking the girl's feminine voice to flirtatious and persuasive heights, as a means to coax her guardian from under the bed. Since this is the devil we're talking about, Lilith probably wants to do more than talk. Full Review »
  3. Oct 9, 2010
    "Case 39 has potential to be scary but with a predictable plot , bad acting , and terrible script , you may jump here and there , the film will probably loose your attention after about the first 30mins, it fails on all levels & we have seen it all before" .. D+ Full Review »