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Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 7.5%
Average: 2.5%
Pretty Bad65%
Total Crap: 25%

4 reviews, 16 user ratings

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Messengers, The
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by brianorndorf

"This horror film doesn't have many scares on its "to do" list"
2 stars

“Messengers” is a ghost story that starts out with some promising sequences of terror and mystery. No surprisingly, it soon falls apart. Even with the beloved Pang Brothers at the helm of this feature, the film soon stumbles into stupidity and complete inertia.

“The Messengers” brings the Pang Brothers (Danny and Oxide) to American shores. These Hong Kong filmmaking twins made a name for themselves with the Asian 2002 chiller, “The Eye,” and hopes were high they could inject some sense of life into the flatlining domestic horror playing field.

Looking for a fresh start to their troubled life, Roy (Dylan McDermott) moves his family from Chicago to the isolated farmlands of North Dakota, where he hopes to make it as a farmer of sunflower seeds with help from a drifter (John Corbett). Once settled, troubled teen daughter Jess (Kristen Stewart) and her toddler brother Ben (Theodore and Evan Turner) start to see ghosts hanging around the house. Once these poltergeists turn violent, Jess is stunned to find nobody believes her, leaving her alone to be tormented by these seemingly deadly visitors.

It’s encouraging to see at least some invention to “Messengers.” Hidden deep within the PG-13, no-press-screening, teen-swallowing-Super-Bowl-weekend heart of it all lies some distinctive visuals and a general layering of tension to the film. The title characters stalk the background with almost stop-motion animated spasms, and provide the film with some menace that one traditionally doesn’t find in a bandwagon production such as this.

That aura of creativity doesn’t last for very long. For every one moment of genuinely built suspense, the Pang Brothers chase it with at least three follow-up scenes of either out-loud stupidity or baffling tedium. Admittedly, the directors are trying to stretch what is clearly a 30-minute idea for a film to feature length proportions, and any effort seems wasted with what passes for drama in Mark Wheaton’s dry, lumbering script.

Tell me what would you rather see: a scrappy haunted house horror bonanza that leaps from one side of the frame to the other or a mild domestic drama about a dysfunctional family with occasional flecks of the supernatural? “Messengers” is making up the rules for its ghosts as it goes (much of the film is completely unexplained), so it confuses me why the movie never drops the heavy weight of needless character development and simply explores the ghoulish nature of the spirits and the torment they bring to Jess.

A mixture of “The Shining” and “The Birds” awaits those who make the effort to sit all the way through this picture. I wish that special brew of homage was a little more entertaining than what really ends up on the screen. A critical casting mistake early on in the film comes back to haunt the scare factor in the finale, with one of the leads making the switch from kind soul to demented maniac, but lacking any of the rusted nail gravitas to pull off that necessary shift.

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originally posted: 02/03/07 07:53:55
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User Comments

3/26/09 mariah good story but pretty crappy movie 2 stars
1/09/09 Anonymous. not so great. i only saw it because kristen stewart was in it. 2 stars
10/24/07 Ivana Mann Unintentionally hilarious "Grudge" ripoff.Actors all looked like they were heavily sedated. 1 stars
8/08/07 Indrid Cold How convenient for film students; a catalog of Japanese and American horror cliches. 2 stars
6/10/07 action movie fan you,ve seen it all before-amityville horror, the birds-both way better than this 2 stars
6/08/07 Doremimi Definitely The Grudge all over again, only this time with birds. Some decent acting tho. 3 stars
4/05/07 William Goss As much as I love Stewart, there's just nothing new here. Nothing. At all. Whatsoever. 2 stars
4/03/07 Not buying into the story! Previously nice guy, attacked by mad flock of ravens, hallucinates & turns into monster 2 stars
3/30/07 Mike I felt like I was watching the grudge. Only scary cuz of sound effects. Sucked a floppy one 2 stars
2/16/07 Axel Leos This movie is not bad, and there are worser movies MIKE HAYNE, its alright 4 stars
2/11/07 Fred Holmes Looks good to me. 4 stars
2/05/07 Shobert The Pangs have directed NOTHING but disappointments. 1 stars
2/04/07 steve owen get out of my sunflowers!!!!!!! 1 stars
2/04/07 juan diego muñoz villarreal 4 stars
2/03/07 Mike Hayne Worst movie I've EVER seen. Walked out while guy was getting pitchforked. Who cared? 1 stars
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  02-Feb-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 05-Jun-2007

  06-Apr-2007 (15)
  DVD: 13-Aug-2007

  31-May-2007 (M)

Directed by
  Danny Pang
  Oxide Pang

Written by
  Mark Wheaton

  Kristen Stewart
  Dylan McDermott
  Penelope Ann Miller
  John Corbett

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