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The Messengers
DVD disk
05.25.2007 By: Mathew Plale
The Messengers order
Director:
Danny Pang, Oxide Pang Chun

Actors:
Kristen Stewart
Dylan McDermott
John Corbett

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
After a Chicago family hits a rough patch, they move to a farm in North Dakota to escape their problems. It's not long before their teenage daughter (Stewart) and toddler son begin seeing horrible things...
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Does The Messengers borrow or steal from other movies centered on hauntings? I guess the film’s target audience would call it “respectfully borrowing” (they’ve never heard of ‘homage’ to even consider it), but an open eye will call it like it sees it: blatant theft. We’re half expecting to find a ghostly child delivering a catlike scream to a fuzzy television set while holding a kiss-of-death videotape.

The Pang Brothers (sounds like a circus act, doesn’t it?) empty the bag of tricks that have made PG-13 horror films so successful (and bad): creaking doors, Heather O’Rourke-inspired toddlers, and jerky-motioned demons climbing ceilings (Lionel Richie, anyone?). Internet reports note that the cat that jumps across the screen or knocks over the lamp turned down a role in the movie.

Dylan McDermott (looks like David Schwimmer fell off the wagon) did not. Neither did a very Ted Nugent-looking John Corbett, whose role for the first two-thirds of the film is to plant sunflowers in the field outside of the haunted house that’s more designed for The Money Pit. These two characters account for most of the absurdity in The Messengers, particularly in the final 15 minutes.

A good supernatural film will bring your paranormal beliefs to life. The Messengers, in its final act, strips away your beliefs as it dives headfirst into the concrete that is the “twist,” all while delivering about as many chills as a broken refrigerator. But I’ve given the film one star. Why? Well, how could anyone give The Messengers less than one star when it’s got Dylan McDermott in a fistfight with a murder of crows?
THE EXTRAS
Commentary with Kristen Stewart & Guests: I was hoping for maybe a twist with who these “Guests” would be (maybe a ghost?), but the back of the box says ‘Cast and Filmmakers’ Commentary’, and that’s just who we get: co-stars and a couple of crew members. While none of the participants shed light on any innovations, their lively spirit makes the commentary worth a skimmed listen.

Exhuming the Messengers (37:50): This is a 7-part collection of ‘Making of’ featurettes that you can choose to play individually or as a whole. Those who loved The Messengers will likely be intrigued to learn more on the ghosts, the CGI, and how the whole project came about. All seven featurettes are pretty standard, but may be informative to some.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
What makes The Messengers so frustratingly terrible is that it doesn't even try to be original. By lifting ideas from every popular ghost/haunted house movie, the film digs itself into a corner. But, as the box office has shown, there is an audience for the stuff, so if you dig The Grudge and other films of the like, you'll probably be all over this.
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