The Messengers

Distributed by Sony Pictures/Ghost House Films
Running Time: 90 minutes
Genre: Horror
Rated: PG-13

by Jon Minners

I didn’t want to see The Messengers, but as is the case with many men, when a girl wants to see a film, you’re bound to end up going.  I can’t complain – I’ve dragged my girlfriend to countless movies, but usually those movies…we both enjoy. 

The horror side has been covered.  I picked Silent Hill.  It was a great film.  Considering our track record, I was hopeful that her choice, The Messengers, would be good.  It so was not.  Far from it. 

The movie follows a troubled family from their Chicago home into an abandoned old farmhouse they get at a steal of a deal.  Earlier, the history of the farmhouse is touched upon via creepy opening that attempts to promise scares and fright throughout.  This farmhouse is haunted and this poor Chicago family is about to learn what fear is all about.  Well, at least they do.  The audience kind of just sat there.  

At first, only Ben (played by Evan and Theodore Turner) can see the creatures that lurk in the house.  Ben cannot warn his family.  He’s become mute after an ordeal that happened in Chicago prior to the move.  The situation is teased throughout the movie until it is finally revealed in such disappointing fashion. 

It involves Ben’s older sister, Jess (Kristen Stewart) who will stop at nothing to go back to her friend in Chicago, but would she stoop to making up stories about ghosts in the house?  She sees them, too, but no one will listen.

Her father, played mind numbingly by the usually talented Dylan McDermott, is too busy planting sunflowers to help his family get out of a financial debt caused by Jess to notice. 

So tied up into his affairs, he makes one stupid move after another, turning down a substantial offer from another party made by the Cigarette Smoking Man from X-Files in a creepy, pointless role and then hiring a homeless man played by John Corbett to work on the farm for peanuts…umm…sunflower seeds. 

Corbett’s character seems creepy and you question moments he had with Jess, but something darker awaits and when uncovered in what’s supposed to be a surprising and ironic twist, viewers will wonder why messengers suddenly turned into The Grudge resulting in a very disappointing ending where nothing really happens at all. 

I have to admit that some of the tense moments that leave viewers anticipating fright only to find a cat or whatever are well done, but not well enough to surpass any other horror film of this type.  The creatures were well designed in full creeped out splendor; their movements are so choppy and non-human.  They were well choreographed in the same style as Silent Hill.  And moments where a hand reaches through the darkness are enough to make you jump once or twice, but the feeling doesn’t last and by the end of the movie, there is nothing that leaves the viewer with anything to talk about.  It’s just very forgettable. 

In the end, The Messengers just does not deliver. 

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