10 February 2007 | drownnnsoda
Decent But Heavily Derivative.
"The Messengers" revolves around a young teenager, Jess (Kristen Stewart), who moves out into rural North Dakota with her dad (Dylan McDermott), her mother (Penelope Ann Miller), and her little brother, to a sunflower farm. The house they move into is run-down and very spooky, and Jess isn't happy about the entire situation. From the moment they arrive to the house, Jess begins to have strange experiences and see very bizarre things. Her younger brother also sees things that nobody else can, and Jess is concerned. A man who shows up out of nowhere (John Corbett) to work at the farm, and the family becomes pretty close with him as well. But the increasingly frightening supernatural experiences that only Jess seems to see get more and more violent, and seem to have a relation to something that happened in the house years ago.
With some obvious similarities to "The Grudge" (and just about every ghost story you can think of), "The Messengers" is an extremely derivative ghost tale that manages to hold itself up without becoming unbearably watchable. The story itself is your typical haunted-house yarn - family moves into house, strange experiences begin that can only be seen by the children or our main character, seems to have a relation to a horrible incident that happened in the house years before. Full of dark and shadowy rooms, ghost-like figures with ridiculously orchestrated jerky movements (reminiscent of "The Grudge"), mostly useless "jump" scares, and a small child character who can see things others can't, "The Messengers" is clichéd, no doubting that. I wasn't afraid once during this film, because I knew when to expect all of the scary moments. Maybe it's because I've seen films like this one too many times, but all I can say for sure is that I didn't find this film scary.
While this film is heavily clichéd (which is probably it's strongest negative point), I still managed to enjoy the majority of it. While the story is typical, it managed to keep my attention and I was at least interested. The cinematography really soared in this film. Everything was very nice looking and the atmosphere was great. The backdrop of the house and the surrounding land really made it feel like it was in the complete middle of nowhere, and the old house itself, while it was your typical haunted house, was admittedly spooky looking. The acting was really good for the most part. Kristen Stewart is the lead and is very talented and convincing. I'd previously seen her in "Panic Room" at a younger age, and even then she was good. I can see her going places. Dylan McDermott and John Corbett are both very good as well, and Penelope Ann Miller, while not giving the best performance of the cast, was decent enough. I can't say anything too horrible about the acting though.
Overall, "The Messengers" is your typical, cliché-ridden modern ghost story, and it borrows so much from other recent films of it's type (which a lot of these films seem to do), that it becomes another one of those "we've seen it all before" horror movies. It doesn't offer much of anything new for the genre, but it was at least watchable. If you want some cheap scares and a very few number of eerie moments, you'll probably enjoy this. But mostly, this film is one big cliché. Enjoyable if you don't take it too seriously though, but just average. 5/10.