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Movie Review: The Messengers

The Messengers
Directed by Oxide and Danny Pang
Written by Mark Wheaton from a story by Todd Farmer

Seriously, how does anyone get credit for a movie that is the same old crap?  Family moves into a new house, but it’s hauuunted!  The ghosts come out, seemingly feeding on familial discord, until someone goes to a library or something and reads a newspaper clipping.

Meet the new family, headed by Roy (Dylan McDermott) and Denise (Penelope Ann Miller).  They have a teenage daughter Jess (Kristen Stewart) and a toddler son Ben (Evan and Theodore Turner).  Immediately, a man named Colby Price (William B. Davis of X-Files Cigarette-Smoking Man fame) approaches Roy about selling the place for 15% more than he bought it for, but Roy turns it down in the name of family stability.  Roy wants to grow sunflowers, but I’ll be damned if I ever heard why.

The family situation is that Jess has gotten into some trouble in Chicago (saved for last-reel exposition) and the family fortune has dwindled in solving the problems of the children, so it’s time for a new start.  But Jess still has an obstacle of trust to clear.

Ominous crows swarm around the place, taking pecks at sunflower seeds and the occasional human.  Luckily, a stranger named Burwell (John Corbett) comes in and agrees to work for meals and shelter.

Ben and Jess, when they are alone, see all sorts of crazy nonsense, ghostly nonsense, that no one is ever going to believe when she tells her tales.  See, the ghosts have this creepy way of throwing everything around like it’s a house party, only it’s immediately cleaned when an adult pops his or her head in.  Ben can’t talk, and Jess is perceived as a bit of a troublemaker.  So, basically on her own, she has to face these demons until the movie allows the ghosts to be seen by everyone.

There’s a scene in this movie where Jess talks to a new friend, Bobby (Dustin Milligan), and she starts it off by saying, “I’m going to tell you something, but you have to believe me, OK?”  Ummm……OK.  I’ve always hated the supernatural-only-seen-by-one-person horror, because there’s absolutely no way in hell anyone is going to believe them, and for some reason, movies make it so that the main character doesn’t understand that.  You have no proof, so you’re either crazy or going to be dead in my book.  That would be, at the very least, more interesting.  But movies somehow defy logic, and I don’t mean real logic, but the logic they have set up for themselves.  If other people can’t see the ghosts, stands to reason they never will, but at the right time, they can.

Yeah, nothing much is coherent in this whole thing.  There’s a surprise that I’m sure the filmmakers want you to be grabbed by, but it too makes absolutely no sense.  As much exposition that is thrown in in the final twenty minutes, you’d think something would make sense, but it always seems contradictory, and more importantly, it’s not very scary either.  Just another run-of-the-mill ridiculous horror pic.

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