The Messengers

2007-07-05 09:42
What it’s about:

The Soloman family try to escape their financial hardships in the big city, to an abandoned sunflower farm in North Dakota. The old house seems to have a sinister past, and soon their infant son Ben and their troubled teenage daughter Jess (Kristen Stewart) encounter a dark presence. A mysterious stranger (John Corbett) appears in their time of need, while the strange occurrences escalate.

What we thought of it:

If anyone is familiar with the work of Thai directors the Pang brothers, they will know that their films are slick genre exercises with far more attention given to visual details than to plot, script, or acting. If The Messengers is meant to be their break into Hollywood, it is also their worst film yet, because it has none of the stylish oriental flavour of their previous works.

Starting with the clichéd all-American family trying to deal with problems by moving to a crappy old house in the country isn’t very promising, and it only goes downhill from there. Borrowing liberally from a number of better, more popular films, we get a Grudge-style ghost that clambers around on the walls, an evil patch of damp like the one in Dark Water, crow attacks ala The Birds, and of course a nod to The Shining,, but we won’t give that whole scene away.

The characters are cardboard cutouts with a script that barely ties all these stolen bits together, so when terrible things start to happen, you don’t really care, and it doesn’t make much sense. The ghosts don’t adhere to any set of rules, so it’s a mystery as to why most of the film even happens, because they could have done what they wanted about 15 minutes in.

Being a horror movie junkie, I was looking forward to The Messengers, but it doesn’t deliver the scares, or any gore. We’ve all seen the special effects done better, and whole thing trudges along until the predictable and uninspired climax. The Pang brothers are some of the most overrated directors I’ve encountered, and their style seems far better suited to adverts and music videos, rather than feature films. Even by their shallow standards, The Messengers is poor. There is no reason on Earth to watch this.

- Ivan Sadler
Families with troubled daughters should never move to old houses in the country. Popular culture should know this by now.

Big Fan 2007/04/14 9:32 PM
Disagree Completely I actually thought this was one of the scariest movies I've ever seen, way better than The Grudge or The Ring. I've seen a lot of horrors, and seldom have I been so scared by a movie as I was by this one. It's been a long time since a horror movie creeped me out this much.
Lala 2007/04/18 3:08 PM
Big Fan YOU NEED HELP If you think this is one of the scariest movies you've ever seen - it makes me wonder what horror movies have you been watching - probably something from DISNEY!!!! There's nothing scary about this movie - whatever they tried to do HAS BEEN DONE ALREADY!!!!! Thanks Ivan - I actually thought I was just been nasty for hating this movie. And, don't let me get started with the characters - sad sad sad
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