Danny and Oxide Pang (The Eye), shame on you! We all knew it was only a matter of time before your innovative and intelligent take on the horror genre put you guys on Hollywood’s radar, but did you really have to debut with the tired rehash of horror clichés that is The Messengers?
Leaving big city Chicago for a new lease on life, The Solomon family moves into a creepy old abandoned farmhouse, where only baby Ben (portrayed by twin brothers Evan Turner, She’s the Man, and newcomer Theodore) and his elder sister, Jess (Kristen Stewart, Panic Room), can see a couple of supernatural inhabitants. As the spooks become more confrontational, Jess also has to deal with her increasingly skeptical parents, Roy (Dylan McDermott, TV’s The Practice) and Denise (Penelope Ann Miller, Carlito’s Way).
Not only is the basic premise of the film very run-of-the-mill, but so is its execution. Every stereotypical horror device seems to have been deployed here to a slick, but very conventional effect. There’re the dark long hallways, the cellar as the epicenter of all things supernatural, flailing albino arms and, yes, even scary birds flying around. The Pangs’ use of long drawn out suspense is laughable at best, and at worst, yawn-worthy.
It has to be said, though, that the acting is credible. While McDermott and Miller give pretty typical performances by their standards, Stewart actually stands out and shows the same kind of promise she displayed in Panic Room. The Turner twins, likewise, are rather noteworthy. The bad script and basic storyline, however, really limits the cast from being anything but two-dimensional.
For those who like their horror to come with a healthy dose of blood and gore, laced with unbearable tension, or hell, even a good plot, you might want to pass on this. This 90- minute film was at least an hour too long.
You’ll dig The Messengers If You…: Want to watch an inferior version of The Others or Ju-on or simply worship the very ground that the Pang brothers walk on.