The Messengers (2007)
Director: The Pang Brothers
Penelope Ann Miller/Denise
Family moves on a farm, the place is haunted, ghosts bust balls, sunflowers grow, conflict arises…that’s it, that’s all.
I would pop a woody to get the full picture on what the f*ck happened behind the scenes of THE MESSENGERS. What should’ve been a grand genre event (The Pang Brothers first American flick…COME ON!) became a half assed marketed, dumping month, flaming special. Now that I’ve seen the film, all I can say is…I get why… damn shame, damn shame.
Its common knowledge that the Pang Brothers’ THE MESSENGERS was plagued with delays during production and that mammoth Pang-less re-shoots were done by some other director. That might (I said "might") explain why the storyline at hand bore little resemblance to the initial synopsis that was tossed our way when the Pangs first announced their involvement with the project. If my one brain cell serves me right the film was supposed to be about a family that moves onto a farm, and the more the father renovates the area the nuttier he gets until shit hits the Shan. Well that didn’t happen here, what we got instead was this: initial premise established (Place is cursed), family moves in, about four fear set pieces surfaced, one dumb-ass plot twist kicked in, a final confrontation ensued, roll end credits, ask for half your money back. Yup, the meat was slim-fast-slim here and so was the flimsy connect-the-dots stuff that stood as character development/relationships. I didn’t have much to play with in that respect, sadly that jive was obviously supposed to be the heart of the film.
What made it even more of a bummer was that all the spices were in the pot for a horror feast to emerge out the oven! The picture (I rarely use that word, relish it, I’m feeling uppity today) was well cast, some of the scare bits echoed the mastery that the Pangs displayed in The Eye staging wise, the crow attacks were visceral to say the least, the rural setting was visually appealing and the cinematography/directing lavish enough to please the retina. I’ll even admit, that I was having a hoot for the first half of this ride, and that was in its chop-chop state! The initial premise was involving, tension was abound, boo scares on the ball, and the pacing tighter than a cap on a new jar of pickles. Sadly at about 40 minutes in, I swiftly realized that the flick had already played its best cards and was already out of steam.
The story or lack of remained simpleton at best, never living up to its potential and the final plot turn was ludicrous as A- It didn’t make much sense as to the ghosts behavior and B- side-tracked what the story was about to become about something else, something, much less compelling. And was it me or did the actors lose mucho energy during the last block? It almost felt like they were on auto-pilot for a while there (Was the last block the re-shoots? Arrowheads wanna know!) Tag to that a couple of dumbass character moves (if I get violently attacked by ghosts, I’m out of there, f*ck my parents, I’m in the next State or at least hanging outside the house instead of going back in!), one key character disappearing for way too long (Where did McDermott go yo? His trailer?), some hard to swallow turns (sorry but a pitchfork stabbed in one’s back kills) and final frames that had me going “Whaaa, how can they still stay there?” and you get a horror flick that was evidently compromised along the way.
Even if I hadn’t known about some of THE MESSENGERS sour production history I would’ve yapped the same damn thing walking out the theater: It started off tight but somebody came in and warmly pissed all over it, stripping it of its meat and turning it into a transparent by the numbers ghosts spook montage. The film reeked of re-shoots and post prod overcooking! Too bad… cause there was something good there…burn the farm!
Not much here, random blood, cuts and bruises.
Kristen Stewart (Jess) carried the film like a veteran and gave an admirable show. I love Dylan McDermott (Roy), remember him in Hardware? But here he was given little to do hence he got upstaged by that gnarly farmer’s cap he wore all the time. Great f*cking cap! I want one! Penelope Ann Miller (Denise) did what she had to do well but why was her character so freaking annoying? John Corbett (Burwell) played it low key and likeable for the most part. Dug him!
T & A
Nothing. Not even sexy nude cows. What kind of farm is this? I want my sexy MOOOs!
When The Pang Bros were on they were on! Think The Eye but on a farm in terms of mood, style and brilliantly put together fright sequences. When they were off (or somebody else was directing); pedestrian was the word.
The moody score fit the flick’s vibe like a glove at the end of a broomstick when wanting to set up a puppet show for orphans with no cash in tow.
Maybe Asian directors should stay in their home land to make their awesome films cause every time they come to the US of A they get foobarred up the corn hole with no sign of melted butter to ease the pain. The Messengers was a fast paced, randomly scary, well-acted piece of fluff. And that was the problem; it should’ve sported more than a surface storyline, stick figure characters and a collage of chilling happenings that posed as a plot! It should’ve been a well-rounded horror film! See it on DVD if you have to or better yet seek out the Pangs last Asian flick Re-Cycle…now that’s a horror movie! Shame on whoever f*cked this one up, shame on you man!
Why the hell was the film called The Messengers? Doesn't make much sense to me after seeing the film. I don't call getting attacked a "message".
The Messengers was initially a screenplay by Todd "Jason X" Farmer (called Scarecrow) that was re-written by ex-Chud alumni Mark Wheaton.
VISIT THE OFFICIAL MESSENGERS SITE HERE