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I saw this one tonight at a screening, and I wasn't entirely
disappointed. I'll be honest -- there's nothing new in The Messengers.
It's all been seen before in earlier, more original movies. This one is
kind of a "best of" reel of some good ideas from other horror movies.
If you're looking for something original and scary, this isn't it. If
you're looking for a little jumpy fun, I can't say this one is a miss.
By virtue of the "good ideas" being good, they work. What it lacks in
originality it makes up for in assembling them in a reasonably coherent
My only real gripe is that Dylan McDermitt looks about as out of place working the fields of his farm as any actor I can think of. They could have at least tried a LITTLE bit harder casting that part.
Think The Birds + Ju On + Amityville Horror + Sixth Sense.
There is evidence to suggest that children... would really rather watch
As suspense/horror movies go, this one isn't amazing. Its hardly original; more like Hitchcock's The Birds meets Verbinski's The Ring. Honestly. Its a perfect combination of the two.
Personally I'd recommend watching the afore mentioned separately, each being better alone than this film. Really, the only thing it seems to have in abundance OTHER than unoriginality, is cheap pop-out scares. I mean, yeah, its kinda fun the first time or two... but after about half a dozen, you start to wonder if there is anything else to be had.
The acting wasn't entirely horrible, I'll admit to that much. The Turner kids who played Ben are certainly entertaining to watch, giving a cute contrast to the grungy atmosphere of the movie. Cancer Man... wait... no, sorry, William Davis could have done better in my opinion, as could Miller... but considering the type of movie this is, one doesn't have a lot of room to nitpick.
As a quick side note, I DO commend this movie for not being gratuitously gory. Its rare to find modern movies in this genre that don't blatantly use blood and guts to invoke fear.
All in all, this movie isn't the worst of its kinda, but it is in no way the best. If you want cheap, minimal-gore thrills that will make you jump, go see it. If you're looking for a deeper, more thought-provoking thriller... I strongly recommend looking elsewhere.
I won't lie to you, I enjoyed this movie. Yes, it was rather generic.
Yes, it borrowed some plot points from other movies. And yes, there
were way too many crows. Yet despite all the negative I continued to
hear about it, I went and saw it anyways, and I'm glad I did.
Many plot points, such as a haunted house in the middle of nowhere, parents not listening to their kids, and ghosts out for revenge are ideas that Hollywood has used and recycled more times than a person can count. However, The Messengers manages to put these together into one movie, without going for too much at once. Certain scenes were rather predictable, so I won't claim that the movie really innovates on any of the standard horror elements, but there are plenty of moments that had me jump in my seat, and had the female members of the audience squealing and clutching their boyfriends.
Overall I felt at the end of the movie that, while not amazing, it was worthy of my time and money to see with a couple friends on a lazy afternoon.
Just saw this movie on opening night. I read some other user comments
which convinced me to go see it... I must say, I was not impressed. I'm
so unimpressed that I feel the need to write this comment to spare some
of you people some money.
First of all "The Messengers" is very predictable, and just not much of a thriller. It might be scary for someone under 13, but it really did nothing for me. The climax was laughable and most of the audience left before the movie's resolution.
Furthermore the acting seemed a little superficial. Some of the emotional arguments between the family were less convincing than the sub-par suspense scenes.
If you've seen previews for this movie, then you've seen most of the best parts and have a strong understanding of the plot. This movie is not worth seeing in the theaters.
If you aren't expecting some super-scary or gross film, just a mild
ghost-type story, this fits the bill just fine. That's all I expected
and I entertained for an hour-and-a-half. Is this some award-winning
film? No, Is is genuinely scary? No, but it isn't anywhere near as bad
as all these reviews say it is here, either.
What I liked best about this movie was the photography. It was stylishly filmed and I enjoyed the bold colors, decent direction and nice rural scenery. Who doesn't like looking at large groups of sunflowers?
I had no trouble with any of the characters, either. Since it was partly one of those "you don't listen to me," teen girl flicks, I expected some snotty kid was Kirsten Stewart was fine as 16- year-old "Jess." Dylan McDermott and Penelope Ann Miller played nice enough parents, too.
The twist near the end was good after that was revealed, you got the normal clichés with the climactic action scene. That was kind of cheesy, I admit, but most of the film was just fine with me. For what I expected, I have no complaints. It's a decent flick.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First off, the editing of this film consisted of one major flaw which I
don't understand how was missed - you consistently see the overhead
microphones bobbing in and out of the film. The first time I saw it I
just said "well, mistakes happen" and brushed it off. After about the
10th time, it began to get incredibly irritating and distractingly
funny. If you haven't seen the film yet, try counting how many times
you see the microphone; might make for pretty interesting game.
Now, about the film. This movie started out with the makings of a pretty solid "ghost" story; however, the plot twist at the end just ruined it completely. You begin watching the movie under the assumption, alluded by the TV commercials, that the haunted house consists of ghosts which can only be seen by children; particularly young children, which makes it even more freaky as they will be unable to effectively warn the family of the impending danger. The opening scene did a good job of misleading the audience that this would remain the premise of the film. **(SPOILER)** The movie starts with the family being stalked and ultimately killed by an "unseen" force in the home. The idea that only children can see these ghosts is set in motion when the daughter, at the beginning of the movie, asks her little brother to tell her where "it" is right before "it" grabs her and drags her screaming into the cellar. The young boy also witnesses this supposedly "unseen force" kill his mother after she tells him to hide under the bed. After his family is killed, the boy attempts to run and hide only to be snatched away as well.
As I said, this movie started out with the makings of a pretty spooky movie in which the family would be stalked by an "unseen force" with their only hopes of survival resting on sightings by a two-year-old. This began to be ruined less than halfway into the film as the daughter began to see the ghosts as well; completely ruining the "only children can see" illusion set forth by the commercials and opening scene.
Regardless of this, the movie didn't actually get "ruined" until the plot twist at the end. In which the man who had been helping the family cultivate the farm turns out to have been the man responsible for killing the family at the beginning of the movie. All of a sudden, after being attacked by a swarm of crows, the man snaps and tries to kill the mother, daughter, and son while having a psychotic breakdown in which he believes them to be HIS family; which he killed at the beginning.
The whole plot twist at the end just created a whole list of unsolved questions and left me going wtf. First, why was the family's souls trapped in a house? If the director was going for a Ju-On (The Grudge) approach in which the family, after dying in a fit of rage, would haunt the house and kill whoever enters, why did the haunting stop after the father was "captured" by the ghosts of his family? If the ghosts only wanted to kill the man that killed them, why were they attacking the new family? Here's another one for you. It takes several months from the time you sow seeds until the plants fully blossom in time for harvest. This tells me that the man who killed his family at the beginning, the man that the ghosts apparently had a grudge with the whole movie, was living on the property for months. During all this time, why didn't the ghosts just go kill him?
This movie included a lot of clichéd "horror movie" scares as well as an obvious combination of ideas from other horror movies. However, I'm telling ya, this movie still could've pulled off okay if not for the plot twist at the end. It's like they just ran out of their budget and just threw together something for an ending. For this movie to have been a success, they should've stuck with the "only children can see them" premise and ended with either the family barely getting away or being killed off like the family at the beginning (would've opened the door for possible sequel,too).
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.
"The Messengers" revolves around a young teenager, Jess (Kristen
Stewart), who moves out into rural North Dakota with her dad (Dylan
McDermott), her mother (Penelope Ann Miller), and her little brother,
to a sunflower farm. The house they move into is run-down and very
spooky, and Jess isn't happy about the entire situation. From the
moment they arrive to the house, Jess begins to have strange
experiences and see very bizarre things. Her younger brother also sees
things that nobody else can, and Jess is concerned. A man who shows up
out of nowhere (John Corbett) to work at the farm, and the family
becomes pretty close with him as well. But the increasingly frightening
supernatural experiences that only Jess seems to see get more and more
violent, and seem to have a relation to something that happened in the
house years ago.
With some obvious similarities to "The Grudge" (and just about every ghost story you can think of), "The Messengers" is an extremely derivative ghost tale that manages to hold itself up without becoming unbearably watchable. The story itself is your typical haunted-house yarn - family moves into house, strange experiences begin that can only be seen by the children or our main character, seems to have a relation to a horrible incident that happened in the house years before. Full of dark and shadowy rooms, ghost-like figures with ridiculously orchestrated jerky movements (reminiscent of "The Grudge"), mostly useless "jump" scares, and a small child character who can see things others can't, "The Messengers" is clichéd, no doubting that. I wasn't afraid once during this film, because I knew when to expect all of the scary moments. Maybe it's because I've seen films like this one too many times, but all I can say for sure is that I didn't find this film scary.
While this film is heavily clichéd (which is probably it's strongest negative point), I still managed to enjoy the majority of it. While the story is typical, it managed to keep my attention and I was at least interested. The cinematography really soared in this film. Everything was very nice looking and the atmosphere was great. The backdrop of the house and the surrounding land really made it feel like it was in the complete middle of nowhere, and the old house itself, while it was your typical haunted house, was admittedly spooky looking. The acting was really good for the most part. Kristen Stewart is the lead and is very talented and convincing. I'd previously seen her in "Panic Room" at a younger age, and even then she was good. I can see her going places. Dylan McDermott and John Corbett are both very good as well, and Penelope Ann Miller, while not giving the best performance of the cast, was decent enough. I can't say anything too horrible about the acting though.
Overall, "The Messengers" is your typical, cliché-ridden modern ghost story, and it borrows so much from other recent films of it's type (which a lot of these films seem to do), that it becomes another one of those "we've seen it all before" horror movies. It doesn't offer much of anything new for the genre, but it was at least watchable. If you want some cheap scares and a very few number of eerie moments, you'll probably enjoy this. But mostly, this film is one big cliché. Enjoyable if you don't take it too seriously though, but just average. 5/10.
"The Messengers" is a been there, done that, horror about a family who
move to a spooky house in the middle of nowhere and then strange things
begin to happen. It sounds like you have seen this film before yet the
story still keeps you interested and in some cases even intrigued.
A family move from Chicago to an eerie, abandoned farmhouse in North Dakota to start a fresh and to start growing sunflowers on its land, aw. Then the teenager daughter Jess (Kristen Stewart, Panic Room) begins to sense strange happenings from the moment they move in, something just isn't quite right, her toddler brother, Ben, also begins to notice creaking noises and following shadows and the mother (Penelope Ann Miller) just can't get rid of THAT stain on the wall. However, the family don't seem to communicate so everybody just gets on with it without mentioning the strange goings on to other family members. Tut.
Roy the dad, (Dylan McDermott, Miracle on 34th St) then hires Burwell, a man who has literally came from nowhere to help on the farm, just as long as Roy throws in a free dinner. Mysterious Burwell (Aidan from Sex and the City) comes complete with sideburns a beard and a backwards cap, yes, a backwards cap. They are all getting on nicely, the sunflowers are growing, Jess has made a friend in Bobby but mum Denise just can't get THAT stain off the wall. So where did Burwell come from? Please enter ghostly Gollum like figures, shrieking violins, pecking crows and a lot of jumpy movements.
There isn't much new with "The Messengers" but with the film changing which character it's going to focus on every 5 minutes it still manages to keep you entertained and even concerned in what is going to happen. However, we know what is going to happen, don't we? You know what's round the corner, yet you still manage to jump, and I still managed to enjoy it!
After having problems in Chicago, the Solomon family moves to a remote
North Dakota farmhouse to start anew, but their attempts at an idyllic
farming life is disrupted when their teen daughter Jess (Kristen
Stewart) and her 3-year-old brother Ben start seeing and being attacked
by supernatural beings who won't allow them to live in peace.
The Messengers starts off decently although it eventually becomes a generic horror film that's a lot more humorous than frightening. After reading the premise, I thought this could have been a decent movie since it sounded creepy and it held potential. Unfortunately, the film didn't live up to its potential although I should have expected this since the trailer was awful. The screenplay was probably the worst part about it. It was full of silly sequences and bland dialog. The characters were not developed at all and most of them were acting like a bunch of idiots so it was hard to feel sympathy for them.
The directors did a horrible job at building up suspense. They mainly relied on cheap scares like loud noises and random jumps. The music was really over the top and it just made it easier for the viewer to telegraph the next "scary" moment. I also didn't like how they pretty much just used one location for the whole movie. The house was the centerpiece of the story and that's where the majority of the filming took place so it got a little boring after awhile to see the same area. Also, I didn't like the close-ups of the actors. During a conversation, the camera would continually jerk from character to another in the span of five seconds and it got really annoying. The directors did create a decent atmosphere and they do get some points for making their movie stylish. However, since we have come a long way in terms of style and effects, it's not really that hard to make your movie look nice especially if you are working on a Hollywood film.
The acting was atrocious and if this movie had been released in December, I'm sure it would have received several Razzie nominations. Kristen Stewart showed some talent in Panic Room but you wouldn't be able to tell she has talent by watching her performance in The Messengers. She was okay at acting scared and that's it. The rest of the time she was dry and unconvincing. Penelope Anne Miller was just awful when it came to everything. It sounded like she was reading her lines and she had some of the worst facial expressions I have ever seen. Dylan McDermott was just very wooden and he showed almost no emotion. John Corbett gave the best performance and he had a couple of good scenes. The twins who played Ben were also decent and managed to out act many of the adult actors. Overall, this lame horror film is not worth watching because of it's blandness and lazy film-making. Rating 4/10
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