"They like to cast me for scary roles. I think it's because they want you to be scared, but also to like the little girl,” states Jodelle Ferland, who plays Lilith Sullivan in one of the most anticipated horror movies of the season, Case 39.
Emily Jenkins (played by Renee Zellweger) is social worker who has just been assigned her 39th case regarding the 10 year old child, Lilith Sullivan. After meeting with Lilith’s unresponsive parents, it is obvious that she is undergoing emotional abuse, if not physical abuse as well. Emily begins to develop a strong connection with the child, stemming from her own dysfunctional relationship with her mother, and ends up giving Lilith her number in case of emergencies. When Emily receives a call one night, with Lilith whispering that her parents are going to kill her, both Dective Barron (played by Ian McShane) and her quickly arrive at the house, break down the door, and are shocked to see that Lilith’s parents have shoved her into the oven, trying to burn her alive. Now take a moment and put yourself in Emily Jenkins’s position. You have a scorned child who is suffering from the effects of an abusive childhood, and is in need of an understanding foster family who can appreciate and treat her needs properly. Who better to take her in than a woman with years of social work experience under her belt? Emily and Lilith soon begin their own journey as mother and daughter – but will they both make it out alive?
Directed by Christian Alvart, and written by Ray Wright, Case 39 didn’t disappoint viewers with its uncanny plot and spirals of tension driven scenes. As viewers, we are introduced to a little girl with extraordinarily dangerous powers, and a conflict in which the people that are close to her suddenly end up dying. With her biological parents in prison, and her new foster mother, Emily, terrified of the child that she has brought home, Lilith decides that it is time to show her true self and bring her powers to the table to convince the people around her exactly what she is capable of. For instance, take Doug, her child psychiatrist (played by Bradley Cooper). During one of their sessions, he confronted Lilith about why she marked on the standardized evaluation test that she wasn’t afraid of anything. When no answer that she gave satisfied him, she responded with, ‘I’ll tell you what scares me, if you tell me what scares you.’ Unfortunately for Doug, after reliving a childhood nightmare of hornets to her, he was met with a violent infestation upon returning home that night, which ultimately resulted in his death.
Case 39 is a movie that will have your jaw on the ground as you witness Lilith’s seemingly innocent transformation into her demonic self. With horrifying tricks for amusements, she is determined to keep Emily locked within the grasp of her claws, as both her mother and servant. Battling with her sanity, Emily begins to understand Lilith’s parents’ struggle with their daughter, and is met with one of the hardest decisions that she has ever had to make. Can she murder a child? But the main question remaining is, if you kill a demon, where exactly does it go?