Surface Pleasures

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!

Kristen gets the shaft ... of light. (Yes, I'm hilarious.)

Set the mood with a shaft of light. Never fails.

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?

Inviting, in a dilapidated sort of way.

Inviting. In a dilapidated sort of way.

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?

That's one sorry lookin' clothesline.

That's one sorry lookin' clothesline.

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.

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1 Comment

  1. […] sun-dappled greenhouse, overflowing with dense but drab flowers, is also a nice visual touch. Sure, I’m a sucker for mood, but BE3 clearly has more to offer. Professionalism always shines through, and some of the people […]


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    OP-dEaD is a blog of random writings on horror movies. Much of the generated content is founded in opinion, and should not be regarded as authoritative in any way. The aim is simply to provide enthusiastic and generally positive comments on the horror genre, written from a layperson’s point of view. In cases were copyrighted materials are used, the intent is only to enhance the visual experience. The copyright holders retain all ownership of the materials, and any wish from the relevant, and proven, owner to have specific materials removed from OP-dEaD will be respected.