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Where are they? What do you see?,
This review is from: The Messengers [DVD] (DVD)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Messengers is directed by the Pang Brothers and jointly written by Stuart Beattie, Todd Farmer and Mark Wheaton. It stars Kristen Stewart, Dylan McDermott, Penelope Ann Miller and John Corbett. Music is by Joseph LoDuca and cinematography by David Geddes. Plot finds the Solomon family move into a Dakota sunflower farm and find their hopes of an idyllic new life shattered by something sinister.
There is absolutely no doubt about it, the Brothers Pang, the guys behind 2002s excellent Gin gwai, have a quality eye for visual terror. They are able to construct indelible scary images and genuinely chill the blood with creepy sequences, even with weak material, such is the case here. It's such a shame that for their American debut they should choose to tackle such a derivative picture as this haunted house spooker, a film that lifts from J horror and practically every haunted house movie you have ever seen. Is it scary? yes, for sure, so much so that until the last third you forgive the sense of familiarity because the Pang's have held us enthralled by the lurking menaces within the shadows of this rickety farmhouse. But the pay off is weak and features a plot twist so stupid it quickly smoothers what little trust in the film that was left.
The cast are ineffective, saddled by the inept script they have to work from, but 10 out of 10 for effort regardless. It's the sort of screenplay that gets Kristen Stewart's troubled teenager to meet a potential boyfriend (Dustin Milligan out acted by the Crows), lets them spend roughly about three minutes screen time together, then before you know it he's there with an axe aiding the good fight against evil with her! That's quality. Or how about getting the X-Files' Cigarette Smoking Man to appear in two brief scenes to serve no purpose at all, not even for red herring value does it register as worth it. Still, it's those moments of classy imagery that save it from being a total wash out. Restless beings glimpsed here and there, juddering movements, reflected in spoons or rear fades, backed up by an excellent sound mix. But those moments of class, come the end credits, sadly serve to remind us that they are wasted on this screenplay.
A generous 6/10 for those unnerving flashes of quality.