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Messages Deleted More at IMDbPro »

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31 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

Spiral Into Mediocrity...

Author: TheBeardedWonder from Canada
11 December 2009

Good to see Lillard in a horror movie again, shame it's this one. By no means a terrible movie, it's not great either. It starts with enough promise that you keep watching, hoping it will keep it up.

Unfortunately, it doesn't. It gets sillier and sillier until the easily foreseeable ending. As the title says, it suffers from the 'spiraling into mediocrity' syndrome, something many movies today seem to have. A writer had an interesting opener and premise, but had NO idea how to conclude it on the same level.

I'd give it a 6, but only because i'm a fan of low budget thrillers/horror movies. If you're not into the genre, you'd probably be better off skipping this one...

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14 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Unconvincing By-The-Numbers Thriller

Author: from Belgium
24 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Messages Deleted" is hyped by the fact that it is from the same writer as "Phone Booth" and "Cellular". Do not expect the same quality, because "Messages Deleted" has certainly it's flaws. The two leading actors both had their greatest success in the mid 90's: Matthew Lillard in "Scream" (1996) and Deborah Kara Unger in "The Game" (1997). Both were in ten movies or so since than, but none of them were really big hits, except for the "Scooby Doo" movies (Lillard). In general, the acting is OK but not great, a little unconvincing at times. The story is by-the-numbers at very far fetched. It gets more unbelievable by the minute and it is strange that the main character does not suspect the two friends around him for even a minute. Elements from "Basic Instinct" and "Secret Window" are put in the story but the result is far from exciting or suspenseful. The surprise ending won't be a real surprise for most people. Not an awfully bad movie, just very average and somewhat unsatisfying. Could have been so much better..

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12 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Senseless, Annoying and Absurd Thriller

Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
27 January 2012

Joel Brandt (Matthew Lillard) is an efficient screen writing professor in the university but has never succeeded as a screenwriter. When Brandt receives a weird phone call asking for help, he believes that it is a prank of his best friend Adam Brickles (Michael Eklund) and he deletes the message. When he is having a conversation with his girlfriend Claire (Chiara Zanni) on the sidewalk of a bar, the body of the caller falls off a building in front of them on the sidewalk. Brandt tells to the Detective Lavery (Deborah Kara Unger) and Detective Breedlove (Serge Houde) that are in charge of the investigation about the call that he had received and he becomes a suspect.

When he receives another mysterious call from a woman also calling for help in his answering machine, he goes to the location and finds that she is dead. Brandt becomes the prime-suspect of Detectives Lavery and Breedlove when they find that the message was deleted from his answering machine. When Brandt discovers that the killer is following the only screenplay that he had sold to the cinema industry, "Senseless Killing", he tries to guess the next move of the serial-killer.

"Messages Deleted" is a senseless, annoying and absurd thriller about a screenwriter that is informed about murders that are following a screenplay that he had written stolen the idea from another screenplay.

Joel Brandt is irritating, hysterical, clumsy and imbecile, and takes all the possible wrong attitudes along the story. The plot is based on deleted messages in times when it is possible to have traceability of phone calls, technical means to retrieve a deleted message and surveillance (bugging) a phone number. The stupid open conclusion is never clear but the worst is the use of the word "cliché" along the story. The writer had the intention of making a cult-movie but unfortunately he has totally failed. My vote is one (awful).

Title (Brazil): "Mensagens Deletadas" ("Deleted Messages")

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26 out of 46 people found the following review useful:

A Diamond in The Rough

Author: mrcodymulhall from United States
11 December 2009

I had very low expectations going into this movie. It has absolutely no marketing or buzz factor (hence I am the first to review it on IMDb) and Matthew Lillard seems to be beyond his prime. Although the plot seemed very original and intriguing. After watching the film, I must admit I am hungry for more. The ideas are unique and the the story is beyond catchy. Without giving away spoilers, the story reminded me of looking at a photograph within a photograph. At first glance it seems too abstract to be realistic but once you uncover the idea behind it you are left memorized. Lillard gave a stunning performance beyond what I thought he was capable of. It's not just a slasher horror, yet an intense mystery thriller that could have twisted in any way, shape or form towards the end. After everything unraveled I found myself wanting to watch it again to full grasp the plot in a new light. Here we have a prime example of true film screen magic where it does not take a hundred plus million dollar budget or an A-list actor/actress in order to entertain. I give this movie a strong recommendation for anyone who appreciates it's respected genre and the art of film in general.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Cliché upon cliché

Author: norm-wilson from United States
4 November 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This began as a very good idea, revenge on a plagiarist Professor.

It, however, due to poor direction primarily I believe, turned into a cliché of a bad cliché of murder mysteries. The Protagonist Matthew Lillard as Professor Joel Brandt makes every mistake possible in his dealing with, not only Lavery and Breedlove, but his on again/off again Girlfriend as well as student Millie Counsel and news reporters who could have helped him champion his cause if he'd been a bit less brusque. In situations such as Brandt finds himself, brusqueness is perceived as 'hiding something'. The worst thing he did, from my perspective, is to not tell the investigators about the similarity between his manuscript "Senseless Killings" and the order and names of the victims, that was obvious (to me) the whole thrust of the series of killings. I'm assuming, at this point that he pilfered this idea from a student's work. Although, at the end, while he's discussing the deal with his agent, I was unconvinced that he had not, in reality, committed the crimes. SO I gave it a 7 instead of my original 5. I like tales that make me change my mind at times, much better than figuring the whole thing out before the drop of the first curtain.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:


Author: swedishfishhaveaccents
23 December 2012

This is amazing. Mocks clichés and then becomes them (intentionally and wittily) and eventually points out clichés are fairly accurate. The acting was great, the characters (except maybe one) very very believable and the plot fantastic and creative. You think you know who the killer is (it's really a pool of two or three people) but then you're unsure again and second-guess yourself right until the end. Everything that is said or done near the beginning of the movie is somehow incorporated by the end in a brilliant manner. The whole time you don't quite know what is going on and want to know immediately, to find out who did it

And at the end... you're still left uncertain what actually happened

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Not Larry Cohen's finest hour

Author: Wizard-8 from Victoria, BC
27 June 2013

Screenwriter Larry Cohen has over the past few decades churned out a number of screenplays that are offbeat and entertaining. However, not even Cohen is always perfect, and "Messages Deleted", which he scripted, is a big disappointment. The movie goes wrong in a number of ways. The main protagonist is a big turn-off - he's annoying in ways that are not interesting, and it's hard to be on his side as his predicament gets worse. He's also stupid, doing things no person of reasonable sense would do that get him further in trouble. Though the police are also stupid as well, missing some obvious clues that would show them that the protagonist is innocent of the charges against him. The movie has passable production values for a low budget independent Canadian production, but you don't go to a movie just for that.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Stop saying "Cliché!" already...

Author: Roddenhyzer from Germany
7 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Alright, now, Larry Cohen's writing has always been hit-or-miss for me. I liked his "Maniac Cop" series, "It's Alive", "Phone Booth", and even "The Stuff" and "Uncle Sam", but for every enjoyable script he produces, there seems to be an equally awful follow-up, like "Captivity", or, well, this one.

The huge problem with "Messages Deleted" is how extremely desperate it is to come off as hip. It's laden with postmodern, self-aware babble about movie staples, story structure, clichés and so on. The main character writes screenplays and teaches scriptwriting in college; a fact that he won't *ever* shut up about. There is a tiny bit of character depth attempted when we see a few scenes of him caring for his demented father and being confronted with some sort of vaguely haunting past, but that's all ditched soon enough in favor of an endless stream of "I KNOW A LOT ABOUT STORYTELLING IN MOVIES! HEAR ME MAKE REFERENCES TO IT AND APPLY MOVIE ANALYSIS TO REAL LIFE!". Excuse the all-caps, but I'm trying to convey just how utterly annoying it is to listen to this gimmicky dialogue all the time, when it's neither natural, nor particularly insightful.

Regarding the storyline, all I can say is that for a movie that's so smugly obsessed with pointing the finger at "clichés" every chance it gets, it sure fails to steer clear of them itself. The whole thing is so bland, so mediocre, so utterly conventional that its self-aware pretense and attempted cleverer-than-thou attitude consistently fall flat. Even the core premise of a killer acting out a script is old and unimaginative. Not that it couldn't have been done well, but it's still a contributing factor to making this movie seem nowhere near as fresh as it wants to perceived.

Now, after all this misery, there's certainly a bit of salvageable material here. With the exception of Millie and Adam, all the characters are brought to life by pretty skilled actors. Matthew Lillard does a decent job walking the line between "I'm playing a serious character!" and "I'm friggin' Matthew Lillard!", and I always enjoy seeing a bit of Serge Houde, although he's merely the token douchebag cop in this one. Cinematography and editing are also competent enough, in my opinion, to elevate this movie from sub-par to average, but that's really as far as I'm willing to go.

In closing, "Messages Deleted" is a movie that's consistently stuck in an uncomfortable rut between making trite and often forced observations about the predictability of thriller movies, and conforming to those very conventions that make thriller movies predictable to begin with.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Not Worth watching

Author: jp_kc from United Kingdom
12 September 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Intriguing premise that takes a while to introduce itself to the viewer, once it does you find yourself interested to the point of staying in the room, however this soon changes as you begin to unravel the plot roughly 50 minutes before any of the characters become even close. It is another one of those 'thrillers' that does not thrill, the ones where the characters make inhuman, illogical decisions that are ridiculous to the point of shouting at the screen. On the more technical side, I found the camera angles annoying and distracting during several scenes at the beginning (as if the camera man is playing around with techniques they've only just picked up), it involves lots of people walking through the shot in front of characters in dialogue and bizarre instruments that automatically stop producing sound when not in shot. In summary this movie is infuriating with few redeeming features. It tries to be clever but fails miserably. Not worth watching.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:


Author: jee-devraj from India
5 June 2011

A movie that starts off with a mockery of clichés and then goes on to show that it contains each one of them. There is blood, there is a workaholic cop, a struggling professional in a dysfunctional relationship who realizes he cares for his girl in the moment of crisis, the prodigal protégé' and a "twist" that could be spotted from the moon. I had narrowed down on the eventual villain 20 mins into the movie, and so will you.

Performances are forgettable, a very lame and unconvincing attempt by the actors to show sexual tension between their respective characters, and its as if death, even of your loved ones, can be forgotten in a matter of minutes.

I am not even writing this review properly, coz seriously, even trashing this movie seems like a waste of time. You wanna stay away from this one, trust me.

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