Directed by Danny Pang [Other horror films: Gin gwai (2002), Gin gwai 2 (2004), Gin gwai 10 (2005), Gwai wik (2006), Sum yuen (2007), Chung oi (2007), Tung ngan (2010), Tong ling zhi liu shi gu zhai (2015), Mo jing (2015), Wang xiang zheng (2016), Warning from Hell (2022)] & Oxide Chun Pang [Other horror films: Bangkok Haunted (2001), Gin gwai (2002), Gin gwai 2 (2004), Sei mong se jun (2004), Gin gwai 10 (2005), Gwai wik (2006), Mon seung (2006), Tung ngan (2010)]
More than anything, I think The Messengers strikes me as being a particularly tepid movie. There’s an okay story here, sure, but the execution is quite weak, and if you leave this movie finding much of it forgettable, I don’t think you can really be blamed.
Part of the problem is that elements of the story aren’t well expanded on, such as the presence of William B. Davis’ character, or the full extent of John Corbett’s character, or why some of these spirits took the actions they did. This stuff wouldn’t be hard to flesh out (well, most of it – trying to make sense of Corbett’s character might take a bit of work), and I think any mainstream horror film wouldn’t have a problem doing such, but for some reason, that’s just not the case here.
As always, the flaws of the plot are of no fault of the performances. Dylan McDermott (Hardware) is perfectly solid as the father here, and Kristen Stewart (Underwater) does quite well as the troubled teenage daughter. Penelope Ann Miller (The Relic) didn’t really do that much for me, and William B. Davis (of X-Files fame), while nice to see, didn’t really add anything but more confusion, but hey, at least John Corbett shone a few times.
The jump scares generally didn’t do much for me. They felt just way too Hollywood, and while the spirits looked occasionally okay insofar as design goes, that stuttering way they moved got sort of old quick. Related to the ghosts, their angle here just sort of bothers me. It’s not the concept, which is okay, and has been done before well, but the execution just struck me as quite weak.
Really, The Messengers might be okay for a single watch – I certainly had an okay time when I first saw this movie. But it really doesn’t hold up well to scrutiny with a second viewing, and just feels quite tepid and disappointing, which is a shame, because the setting at least has some potential.
3 thoughts on “The Messengers (2007)”
I’ve been wanting to see this one, but now I think I’ll move it to the back of the line. Great review!
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Yeah, certainly some people like it, and as said, I actually enjoyed it the first time I saw it, so it might go over well with a casual viewing. Seeing it again, though, it just wasn’t exactly my type of horror.
Thanks for the kind comment.