The Messengers – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Directors

Oxide Pang Chun and Danny Pang

Cast

Kristen Stewart Jess
Dylan McDermott Roy
Penelope Ann Miller Denise
John Corbett Burwell
Evan Turner Ben

DVD Release Date: Date
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 90 Minutes

The Movie

The Solomons are looking to start their lives over, well at least parents Roy and Denise are. Their young son Ben is just a small child and for some reason never makes a single sound or noise; so he’s not objecting. But then there’s Jess who is your typical teenage girl and not happy at all about having her life turned upside down. Roy and Denise move the entire family out to a farm in North Dakota so he can begin life as a sunflower farmer, and everyone can get their lives back to normal in the relaxing countryside. One look at their new home makes you believe it will be anything but relaxing.

Their new home has all the makings of the scariest horror movie houses to ever be created, and Jess realizes that right away. A few locked doors, some creaky floorboards, the overall darkness in the house, and the countless crows all around outside make for a feeling that just isn’t quite settling. Ben seems to enjoy it though as he is having a grand time staring at the ceiling and running around his room just playing by himself so his family thinks. That is because Ben sees some really creepy characters crawling along their ceilings and even spending time with him no matter what he does.

Jess soon starts seeing the same creatures/people that her brother does and knows there is a deeper history in the house then just some old wood and big fields outside. But she’s going to have to find it out alone because no one will believe, and Ben of course can’t talk to back up her story. It’s then that a lonely drifter named Burwell happens upon the farm looking for work and Roy could surely use an extra hand getting started in his new career choice. There’s something not right about Burwell though, and Jess realizes there is more to him then meets the eye as well. Jess needs to convince her parents something is wrong with their new house before it’s too late, but as tensions rise, she feels it may already be.

It is a guarantee right away that if you are a horror fan, then you have seen The Messengers. Maybe not all in one film, but it surely takes the ideas and even premises from other films and throws them together into one. Right off the bat you’re going to think of The Grudge and the horrible Darkness. The creepy house that is kept mostly in the dark, the odd story behind it, and the fight to convince others something weird is going on will remind you of Darkness. While the creepy dead people crawling around and making weird noises will bring about memories of The Grudge. Or any Japanese horror film ever made.

Believe me when I say that the film isn’t horrible or anything, but it certainly wasn’t enjoyable. About twenty minutes in I was so sick of the little boy continuously staring at the ceilings and Jess’ attitude that turning it off had occurred to me, but I kept trucking along. The Messengers just doesn’t have an original idea throughout the entire run time and isn’t helped by how dull it truly is. The worst part about the whole thing is that the Pang brothers probably knew how unoriginal it was and that is evident by the amount of jump scares thrown in. There are so many things jumping at the screen or appearing out of nowhere that you get used to them and they stop making you twitch even.

The Video

The film is seen in 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format which looks pretty good. Colors are bright and crisp and the darks are very dark where they need to be. The only problem is the opening five minute scene which is in black and white. For some reason it seemed more like yellow tinted and gray, but it was a short scene so nothing really to complain about.

The Audio

The film is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 and sounds fine for the most part. The music is loud when it should be and kept toned down when the dialogue is going on, but not all the dialogue can be heard well. For some reason, almost everything Dylan McDermott says is really low and usually has to be turned up. I didn’t notice it with anyone else but him which is just weird.

Special Features

Exhuming The Messengers – The only real special feature goes about forty minutes and is your behind-the-scenes-featurette-visual-effects inside-look-and-interviews all rolled into one. Cast and crew discuss the story of the film and also how everything came to be from the visual effects of the spirits to that of the set and the darkness. The evolution of the script is discussed and all the various stages it went through before finally settling on a final draft. And one of the best parts of this feature is the inclusion of “the crows,” since they were a big part of the film. It can be watched all together or in seven separate parts.

Audio Commentary – Kristin Stewart (Jess) is joined by co-star Dustin Milligan, writer Mark Wheaton, special effects director Bruce Jones, and for a little while producer Jason Shuman. Shuman is only there for a short while later on in the commentary, but not overly long. In an odd bit of commentary, the group discusses the film as if you are watching it with your own friends. They talk about what is happening on screen, but don’t really go much more in depth then that. A lot of time they are actually rather quiet only speaking up when they found an interesting scene.

TrailersAcross The Universe, Premonition, Ghost Rider, The Grudge 2, Seinfeld, Blood And Chocolate, Stomp The Yard, and Catch And Release.

The Inside Pulse

An unoriginal film that will bore you to tears combined with special features that you couldn’t care less to watch make for a DVD you really shouldn’t buy. I wouldn’t even recommend wasting your money on renting it because chances are you own a film (or films) it’s molded after so popping that in would be more worth it. It’s actually quite a shame because the house in The Messengers is kind of cool so you would hope that more could be done with it. But I guess jump scares were the only thing they could find on the menu, but seems they got a bit stale.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for The Messengers
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

4
THE VIDEO

7
THE AUDIO

7
THE EXTRAS

4
REPLAY VALUE

2
OVERALL
4
(NOT AN AVERAGE)