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Case 39 Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Audio Description, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Rating: R
  • Region:
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Paramount
  • Blu-ray Release Date: January 4, 2011
  • List Price: $34.99

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Purchase Case 39 on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:1/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:1/5]

The tagline for Case 39 goes “Some cases should never be opened,” well, that rings so true. Some cases should never be opened — Blu-ray cases — and some movies should never be made. The convoluted production history of Case 39 is telling enough. The film, actually Pandorum director Christian Alvart’s first big American feature, but second to be released, has been sitting around the vaults at Paramount for a few years, deemed unworthy for release, and with good reason.

The film is the latest in a long line of demon child horror dating all the way back to classics like Rosemary’s Baby, the original Omen, and The Exorcist, but forget about it if you think you’re getting anything even halfway as compelling or scary as those films with Case 39. Instead, we are treated to something styled like The Ring and Orphan and filled with every expected jump scare, unexpected telephone ring, and amorphous shadow around the corner you can think of.

Renee Zellweger does a fine enough job in this 2006-filmed performance as the child welfare worker Emily Jenkins. The demon child in question in one Lillith Sullivan, played by an appropriately creepy Jodelle Ferland. Emily and her cop buddy Mike (Ian McShane) rescue Lillith from her parents one night, as they are about to bake her in the oven. Apparently her parents think she’s the devil’s spawn. Well, after Emily takes Lillith into her home as her parents await trial, it quickly becomes apparent that her parents may not have been so crazy after all.

With little in the way of genuine scares outside of a wicked “hornets’ nest” scene involving a suspiciously underused Bradley Cooper (that would never happen today), Case 39 is dull and predictable horror/thriller fare that hurtles toward a wide open, telescoped ending. The film doesn’t even have the decency to at least be campy so one can find some laughs in it.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 encoding of Case 39 looks pretty good in this Blu-ray release. The image is clean and there is strong foreground detail with natural flesh tones. Blacks do tend to crush just a bit in some darker scenes, but they look deep and stable. There is some softness that crops up from time to time, keeping this from being absolutely perfect, but it is a solid transfer nonetheless.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is done well enough for a film like this, but I have heard better. It seems a bit dry throughout most of the film with the ambience in surround channels being very underutilized. Things do pick up around the “hornets’ nest” scene and toward the denouement, where the action and atmospherics become much more lively. Other than that, it provides clean, clear dialogue, smooth high frequencies, and nicely extended lows.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1/5]

One sign that this was really meant to hit the market four years ago is that all of the supplements are in standard definition. No one bothered to tell the folks at Paramount that Blu-ray happened in the intervening years and we can actually put high definition supplements on releases now? No worries anyway, it’s not like you really need to watch all of this pat on the back behind-the-scenes stuff that makes Case 39 seem like the greatest film since Casablanca or something.

The supplements provided with this release are:

  • Filed Under “Evil”: Inside Case 39 (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:08.07) — The cast and crew discuss the filming of and story of Case 39.
  • Turning Up the Heat Chill Factor (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:04.24) — Take a look at the makeup artists on Case 39 at work.
  • Inside the Hornet’s Nest (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:03.02) — A discussion of one of the film’s scariest and most challenging scenes.
  • Playing with Fire (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:04.26) — Setting up the pyrotechnics for the film’s “burning house” scene.
  • Deleted Scenes (1.33:1; 480i/60) — Eighteen deleted and alternate scenes.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

Case 39 is a pointless dip into the horror pool that steals from every other film of its ilk. With its lack of originality and genuine scares, it is very difficult to recommend this title beyond anything more than a rental on a very slow weekend.

Additional Screen Captures:

[amazon-product align=”right”]B004B3PB74[/amazon-product]

Purchase Case 39 on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:1/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1/5]

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