The film on which Renée Zellweger met Bradley Cooper. They have already broken up. The shelf life of Hollywood romances is getting shorter and shorter, isn’t it?! They are together in the latest evil kid style of film that gets popular every so often in moviedom.
Lillith Sullivan (Jodelle Ferland – Eclipse, Good Luck Chuck) is a young girl who has some mysterious stuff going on at home. She is assigned to the always growing pile of cases on the desk of social worker Emily Jenkins (Renée Zellweger – Cold Mountain, Jerry Maguire). Quickly Emily decides that this is a case of abuse and that the girl should be taken from her parents. After initial hesitation by the authorities, finding Lillith trapped inside the stove being burned alive by her parents that is all the proof Emily needs to prove abuse is going on. Once that happens, though, the young girl will be entered in the less than perfect child services system.
Something about the young girl gets to Emily and she decides save her from the system by agreeing to foster her. Emily takes Lillith into her home, gives her a room of her own and looks after all her needs. A short time after taking Lillith in Emily begins to notice strange things are happening around the child. And comes to the horrifying conclusion that they can’t all be coincidence.
Convincing others, like child services or her pal Detective Mike Barron (Ian McShane – from television’s Deadwood), is another matter. She fought so hard for this young girl that now that she is telling them that she thinks that there is something wrong with the child they are skeptical. Emily has to convince them or do something to stop Lillith or her own life will be in danger.
The buildup is slow in the film, which I enjoy because it has the effect of really making you sit on the edge of your seat waiting for the scare you know is coming. At the beginning you feel sorry for the young girl and then you begin to realize that she is not an innocent little sweetie. Zellweger is good at conveying the panic she is feeling.
Quite unexpectedly I enjoyed this film. That is right until the end. Then with its attempts at twists and turns becomes a little silly or a lot silly depending on your point of view. The ending is quite problematic as it tries to become supernatural, shocking and sinister while surprising you at the same time. None of that is accomplished. It just accomplishes undoing the decent effort made up to that point.
This is too bad because the stellar cast of Zellweger, Cooper and Ian McShane do a fine job. They, however, can do nothing about the script that betrays them in the end. They all work together to carry the thin script through ¾ of the film, but can’t do much when it all goes really bad quite quickly at the end.
-Filed Under “Evil”: Inside Case 39
-Turning Up the Heat on the Chill Factor
-Inside the Hornet’s Nest
-Playing with Fire