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I watched this movie because, well, I have a crush on Kristen Stewart. Turns out it's a great thriller with some genuine scares. The cinematography is magnificent and when I heard it was shot in the Regina area, that made it even more special. It's not a classic horror like The Exorcist or or Rosemary's Baby, but if you like some good scares, you will like this movie.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Great Atmospheric Horror Movie With A Real Creepy VibeMarch 16 2007
Stephen B. O'Blenis
- Published on Amazon.com
Most people have probably heard of the idea that babies and young children can see and hear things that older people can't, or have lost the ability to. That a baby in a crib gurgling and laughing at the ceiling, for example, is actually talking to a spirit there. It's a fascinating premise, whose application to a horror movie is a stroke of genius.
In "The Messengers" a family moves into an old farmhouse where something very bad once happened. Only Ben, the little toddler of the family, can see the supernatural prescences in the house, and he appears more delighted with them than afraid. When his teenage sister Jess also starts encountering unusual occurences - this time of an apparantly non-benevolent nature - she also begins noticing Ben's unusual behavior as well and realizes that he too is experiencing something out of the ordinary; the hard part after that is getting anybody else to take her seriously. The movie utilizes much more atmosphere than action, and the cast has to carry off a lot the show by reacting to very subtle (Most of the time), slow-paced, occurences, in a way that makes it feel real and frightening. The actors and actresses were well picked for their parts, and Kristen Stewart as Jess and twins Evan and Theodore Turner as Ben, playing the characters who experience most of the strangeness in the movie's early, slower-going, parts, are especially impressive. All the production values necessary to make this kind of atmosphere work - the light and shadows, the subtle use of sounds, the camerawork, etc. - are all handled very well too.
In the last one third or so of the movie, as things start to speed up and secrets come to light, I guess you could say that there were too broad directions it could have gone in, that it had to choose from. Myself, I would have chosen the route the movie didn't take, but it handles the path it chooses so well that it avoids slumping into a letdown. (I am still curious, though, what it would have been like if they had gone that other way) It's worth noting that when it ended I was rather taken aback that it was over so quick. Its running time is something like 85 minutes, but it felt like it came it at under an hour - and that's even in light of the slowly building pace it maintained. It must have been doing something pretty right to make time fly like that (on the other hand, I've seen other movies of about the same length that seem to drag on for hours). "Messengers" could have actually been quite a bit longer without hurting itself one bit; and as good as the ending turned out to be it may have been even better if it had gone on that different turn, but there's no point in complaining with something this good. Highly, highly recommended for fans of "Dark Water", "The Eye", "Haunted", "The Sixth Sense", "Pan's Labyrinth" and other atmospheric horror movies. "Red Rover" is another, far less known, movie that also fits great in this vein that you might want to check out.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Saw it.....Made Me Jump At Least 10 Times!!!!!!!Feb. 11 2007
A Kid's Review
- Published on Amazon.com
I saw this movie yesterday at the movies. I thought it was going to be really scary, but it wasn't too bad. There are just some parts that sort of sneek up on you, and may scare you a little, or a lot. It made me jump at those parts at least 10 times,I would guess. This movie did not leave me scared after and I did not have nightmares or anything like that. It just scared me while I was watching it. When the camera gets upi close with the "messengers", That is one part that always made me jump, and it gave me a case of the chills!!!! I know that it is rated pg-13, but I am 13 and I think that if a kid was mature, they could probably watch it at 11 years, unless they get scared easily. I would reccomend this to anyone 12 and over who does not scare easily. I loved this movie, and I'm getting it on DVD when it comes out!!!!!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
An amalgam of elements from several better moviesAug. 5 2007
Wes Saylors Jr.
- Published on Amazon.com
Nothing adds up in this movie. It's easy to get excited if you watch the extras feature first and hear all the talk about the unique vision the Pang Brothers bring to 'The Messengers.' But, in fact, this movie looks like all the other recent PG-13 horror offerings, designed to bring in maximum money in the first 3 days of release. There are the dutiful copies of scenes from earlier, better Japanese horror movies (you know, the crawly thing on the ceiling that is filmed in black and white while the rest of the scene is in color ... maybe a jerkily crawling little boy or girl, on the ceiling or on the floor or coming down the stairs. You've seen them in The Ring and The Grudge). There are crows that attack the main characters like something out of Hitchcock ... impressive, but it means nothing. In the end, 'The Messengers' is about a guy who killed his family and is about to kill another one. The little crawly Ring/Grudge monsters add nothing to what is basically a stranger-in-the-house scenario. The ghosts don't even communicate with the world of the living ala The Others or The Changeling. They are there simply to provide a kind of cheap scare in an otherwise very ordinary thriller. There really is nothing unique in this movie that you haven't seen in countless other movies that actually make sense. A great haunted house movie is 'The Others' (or its ancestor 'The Changeling'). A great nature run amok movie is 'The Birds.' A great stranger-in-the-house movie is 'Halloween.' A great family drama is 'Kramer vs Kramer.' Each one provides a truly unique vision, and each ones add up to more than the sum of their parts. Sadly, 'The Messengers' does none of these things.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
The Crows Have More Brains Than Anyone Else In This Sorry Film!Feb. 2 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
I don't expect a lot from ghost stories, but I do expect a story to make a bit of sense! Is that asking too much from the screenwriters and filmmakers? When the bad guy, all the sudden, becomes a homicidal maniac solely because a bunch of crows, out of the blue, start pecking him, then I have a problem spending $9.00 for a ticket! Alfred Hitchcock would be spinning in his grave. Didn't anyone learn anything in their college Film 101 class? A good movie has at its roots an INTERESTING story!
Here are some of the ridiculous messages in The Messengers: If you have desperate financial problems move from Chicago to the middle of no-where in North Dakota to grow Sunflowers (I kid you not!). If your toddler has serious neurological problems from a car accident move away from some of the best hospitals and speech therapists in the country to an isolated small town, which, at best, has a community hospital. Hire a drifter to live & work with you, out of the blue, without checking any references, when you have a teenage vixen daughter, a wife and toddler. ( I'm glad they're not my parents!)
A town where everyone knows everything would have no problem missing a triple homicide, just outside of town. And, of course, blame the man's lunacy on a bad crop of Sunflowers! (Doesn't anything else grow in North Dakota?) A couple of days after you buy your rundown house - with huge vines growing everywhere - that it reminds you of Jack and the Beanstalk, a guy from the X-Files, ala Smoking Man, (I'm glad to see the cigarettes didn't get him, I guess he doesn't inhale!) will just suddenly sneak up on you while you're working to offer you the sale price of your home, plus 15% more, for absolutely no reason!
I think you get the picture. I have seen so many godforsaken awful movies in the past month, it just blows my mind! Is it that difficult to make a movie that doesn't treat the audience like an idiot? I'm glad at least the crows in this sorry film turned out to have the some brains! I wish I could say the same for whomever thinks they are going to make money off this celuloid piece of trash!
23 of 30 people found the following review helpful
It was a'rightJuly 29 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
This PG-13 mess is what happens when you try to make a horror film for a general audience. Basically what its about, is a small family who moves to North Dakota to start over. They move into a very creepy farmhouse (seriously a coat of paint would do wonders for the place), and the father sets about growing sunflowers. The father is attacked by crows and befriends a drifter who becomes a hired hand. Soon, the teen daughter begins to see ghosts, and the house's original occupants make their displeasure known.
It started off okay, but I'm a bit bored with 'the grudge-style' ghosties. The creepy little kid ghost crawls around the house got a bit boring.The teen girl is an unsympathetic young thing who we are supposed to feel sorry for, but quite simply don't. the handyman was the only interesting character.
One thing I dislike in modern horror films is how murderous the ghosts are. There was no reason for the ghosts to try to attack and kill anyone. They hadn't done anything. I just don't buy homicidal child ghosts when the children weren't homicidal in life. Meh. 3 stars. Average pg-13 fair. Nothing to see here, folks.