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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

cinematic roots of: ‘Case 39’

No movie springs from a vacuum. There are always influences from past examples of the genre, from the previous work of the filmmakers and stars, even from similar films that don’t quite work. If you want to understand where a movie is coming from, take a look at where it’s coming from.

In Case 39, Renee Zellweger plays a social worker who rescues a child (Jodelle Ferland) from abusive parents only to discover that perhaps it was the demon child who was abusing her guardians. This flick sprang from (among other films):

The Grudge (2004), in which Sarah Michelle Gellar’s social worker in Japan makes some vaguely terrifying discoveries about the home in which one of her clients lives.

Orphan (2009), in which Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard discover that adopting can be a nightmare; this is yet another outrageously histrionic demon-child flick.

Miss Potter (2006), for more Renee Zellweger, in which she plays the children’s author of nice, sweet books about garden animals, and not about demon children.

Tideland (2005), for more of Jodelle Ferland, who delivers one of the best child performances ever in Terry Gilliam’s horrifically disturbing movie.
Where to buy:
The Grudge [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Miss Potter [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Orphan [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]
Tideland [Region 1/U.S.] [Region 1/Can.] [Region 2]



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