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Mary Kay Place
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It's been six years since the Rollins family just up and left and now the troubled Solomon family has come from Chicago, to rebuild their lives following their sons hospitalization due to their daughter's drunk driving accident. But as they start to settle in something odd and strange begins to occur to their son. Could something supernatural be at work, and did the previous family just leave...or are they still here? Trapped in the only place they've ever known? And what did cause their deaths? Most of all...is this 'killer' still very much alive? Written by
leaves me not really offended, though never impresses either, it's just a mediocre horror movie
I don't think that I would completely write off the Pang brothers, Oxide and Danny, as they don't completely go into the self-indulgent post-modernism that has panged, no pun intended, the horror filmmakers of late. Only once or twice they jump into 'Saw' territory. But even having not seen the majority of the Japanese horror movies that have give rise to the over-abundance of 'ghosts-in-my-house' wave (and, likewise, to their American counterparts), there isn't too much with surprise or shocks in The Messengers.
I'm sure they're self-conscious of the films they're paying homage/ripping off (the one scene involving the crows and their rendezvous with John Corbett's character is like a chummier mash of The Birds and North by Northwest; Shining and Close Encounters references seem a little more than clear to me too), yet they also succumb to having their film be really affect-less. It's never too stupid though; I didn't have a disliking toward any one character, with the exception being maybe towards the end with Corbett (I don't think I'm spoiling much there), and it's the sort of typical family-moves-into-a-creepy-house story that decides to hit the usual bases without going rapidly wrong on the marks.
But there's also the muddle that comes in dealing with the supernatural side of things, amid the average scares of 'what did I hear in the other room, I'll go check'. For one thing, the variations on who the ghosts and demons in the house are- if they're the family that used to live there, or if they might be the whatevers that killed off the family striking back at the new family in the house. There's fair acting from the family (Kristen Stewart of Panic Room fills in the teenage-girl niche, and there's competent work from McDermott and Miller; Colbert is a little creepy, but I guess that's the point; William B. Davis's bit part is the best real surprise of the movie), but it's all at the mercy of a standard script that might've been better, damn if I say it, as a half hour TV episode or something. Only sometimes, too, are there some potential unintentional laughs to be had, mostly towards the climax and with the very randomly placed crows that can only come in a pretty inexplicable flick such as this.
In the end, the Messengers is nothing new, and won't contribute much at all to the horror genre at large, but I wouldn't throw it in my 'I hate this movie so much' bin either, as it only continues to that non-threatening realm of the kinda-creepy PG-13 haunted house picture.
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