The Messengers, a haunted farm flick from 2006 starring Kristen Stewart (of Twilight fame), is a bit of a snooze. It isn’t particularly bad in any department, but the story is routine and the dialogue dull beyond belief. Otherwise solid actors like Dylan McDermott and Penelope Ann Miller are saddled with underwritten roles, and the minor characters function merely as convenient plot tools. And seeing as this marked the American directorial debut of the Pang brothers, there are pointless and intrusive touches of J-Horror—why more or less repeat the elevator scene from The Eye? Why do the restless spirits crawl along the ceiling and move in that herky-jerky fashion so typical of Asian movie ghosts? We’re in North Dakota, for crying out loud!
Cast and crew were really excited about The Messengers, as the DVD extras clearly show, and they sought to make something special. It just didn’t happen. They made a dud. But did I mention that I’ve seen The Messengers three times in less than a year?
I’m a pretty generous moviegoer. Some folks seem to be completely distracted by the less successful elements of a film, to the detriment of the whole viewing experience. I’m not like that. There’s usually something in even the biggest turkey for me to like, and for that reason I can stick with it till the bitter end credits. The Messengers is saved by wonderful cinematography and production design, courtesy of David Geddes and Alicia Keywan respectively. When a movie looks this good, a lot can be forgiven. You even want to see it again (and again). Yes, the visuals are exaggerated, but isn’t that what we expect and crave from this type of movie?
The last time I saw The Messengers, I was actually pretty bored, so it’ll be a while before I pop it back in the DVD player. But when I do, at least my eyes will be happy.