It is becoming quite clear that if you’ve seen one horror movie twist, it will be reused in about fifteen other movies to worse effect. These twists can start out really well, like the twist in “The Sixth Sense” and end with them crashing and burning, like in “Cold Creek Manor.” While I won’t spoil the twist in “The Messengers” believe me, you’ve probably seen it before.
“The Messengers” deals with the fractured Sullivan family. Father Roy (Dylan McDermott), mom Denise (Penelope Ann Miller), teenage daughter Jess (Kristen Stewart), and baby brother Ben have moved from Chicago to a ramshackle farmhouse in North Dakota for a new start. When Jess starts being tossed around by strange apparitions that her mute little brother also sees she has to try to convince her parents before the ghosts try to destroy them all.
The movie follows the very basic premise of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” in a sense with a young girl with a troubled past trying to convince her parents that she is telling the truth. The movie itself has beautiful scenery, the family deals in harvesting sunflowers and a field of these things is always beautiful to take in. The movie also does well in getting you in the mood for suspense. Horror movie mavens the Pang brothers who directed this movie know just what type of music to play to get you on the edge of your seat. At an hour and thirty minutes the movie also tries its best to maintain a quick pace. The ghost themselves are also pretty interesting from far away with their awkward movements.
Sadly, aside from the scenery I laughed throughout the entire movie because of its ridiculous story. Going back to my original statement, the twist is highly unoriginal, in fact if you’ve seen “Hide and Seek” then you’ve seen “The Messengers.” While you do get in the mood for suspense you know when the scares are coming if the camera zeroes in on one of the characters faces. There is also some glaring continuity errors that a lot of the audience noticed, a scene where Roy runs to a boy he’s never met, yet knows his name is one of those errors. Also, while the ghosts look original from afar, they move and look exactly like the ghosts from “The Grudge.” And that is where the main problem of “The Messengers” lies, that so many things were borrowed from far better movies for this film.
While the acting in the film is nothing to write home about, the twins who play the little brother Ben do a great job of conveying what they are seeing without having to say the horrible dialogue. Dylan McDermott and Penelope Ann Miller are horribly wasted in this film with dialogue that will make you cringe. The young Kristen Stewart seems to be drawn to this type of schlock fare after doing almost the same character she portrayed in “Cold Creek Manor.” She has an incredibly monotone voice and one expression that seem to last through the entire film. John Corbett seems to rally towards the end of the movie acting wise, only to start over acting before the film is over.
Sadly, I laughed from the beginning to the end of this movie and not in a good way. With a horribly unoriginal story that ends just the same I found more humor than scares with “The Messengers.” If you’re a teen then this might appeal to you but if you’re a thinking person like me, run away from this film!