The Messengers DVD REVIEW
Directed by the Pang Brothers
Starring Dylan McDermott, Penelope Ann Miller, John Corbett & Kristen Stewart
The Pang Brothers might be the most overrated directors in Asian Cinema. Last I checked they only had one good movie called The Eye which had one scene in particular with a ghost in the hallway that almost made me lose control of my bowels! However that was then this is now. Since the Eye the Pang Brothers have continued to make movies that are overall uneven and by the numbers. The Messengers is their first US release and was produced by Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert who of course brought us the Evil Dead films.
Even with the Pangs behind this movie I thought that maybe, just maybe, that this time Raimi would get a good horror movie for his Ghost House production label but I'm sorry to say that its another strike.
The Messengers starts out with promise with a family being terrorized by a seemingly invisible entity that is trying to kill a mother and her son. From here we're introduced to a new family that is moving into the same house some time later. Dylan McDermott and Penelope Ann Miller are sort of sleep walking through their rolls of Mom and Dad to teenage daughter Kristen Stewart and young son that can see ghosts and can't speak conveniently. Apparently McDermott's character has been out of work for 2 years and decides to risk it all on starting a sunflower farm in the country. That's right... a sunflower farm. It doesn't get more random than that does it?
Soon after moving in the little boy begins seeing ghosts everywhere in the house and dauther, jesse is soon being attacked by invisible forces. The parents play the part of the typical oblivious bad parents that think their daughter is lying and hurting herself for attention. John Corbett shows up out of the blue and wanders around as a farm hand for a long time and appears to serve no purpose until the last reel of the movie where the plot and his involvement all come together. However if I imagine most viewers have figured it out by this point and are already getting pissed.
The Messengers is derivative of so many other recent movies that it almost seems schizophrenic. Ghosts float above the floor, crawl around in fast speeds and strut around like your typical Asian dark haired ghost all in the span of 10 minutes. There seems to be no real design for them. its Almost like the directors changed their mind on how to portray them from day to day making the movie seem very uneven. From what I understand about the Pang Brothers they often tag team direct a movie. One stays on set to direct, the other goes to the editing trailer to work on the film. Then the next day the switch. This would explain a lot.
The only stand out in this film is Kristen Stewart as Jesse. Her fear is very believable and its hard not to be sympathetic towards her character. I just wish we could have seen her in a better horror film than this. The rest of the characters really seem very thin and the acting is mediocre at best.
Visually the Messengers is interesting at times. Many shots are very well framed and executed but the shots that really count, the ghost shots, seem poorly thought out and almost always out of focus or obscured. Once scene in particular is ruined by focusing to closely on The characters of Jesse and the little boy to the point that you can't see the ghost walking up in the background at all. There are several scenes that just make you ask what the hell were they thinking?
I suppose teens might find this movie fulfilling but older horror fans are just going to turn it off in disgust. What could have been a decent horror film is nothing more that a rip off of many Asian horror films packed in to one bloated and glossy package.
I didn't even bother with watching them. I was too pissed to care.
FILM: 1/2 out of 5 Bloody Axes