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The Messengers

The Messengers

Director:Oxide Pang, Danny Pang
Cast:Kristen Stewart, Dylan McDermott, Penelope Ann Miller, John Corbett
Release Date:2007
Genre:Horror, Suspense

By G. Brian Davis | Posted 2/7/2007

The Pang Brothers Are Up To Old Tricks With Their American Directorial Debut, The Messengers. When the urbanite Solomons move to a secluded farmhouse, only 16-year-old Jess (Kristen Stewart) and her toddling brother Ben (Evan and Theodore Turner, alternately) can see their pale, late housemates. Not content to haunt, however, the specters continually assault the hapless Jess, who soon exhausts her meager credibility with attempted explanations. Blending an American haunted-house premise with Asian pissed-off-ghost frights might sound novel if The Grudge hadn't already done it--and better. Still, The Messengers isn't a total failure. The Pang Brothers know their suspense (try The Eye) and breathe a chilly atmosphere into several scenes with deft lighting, drawn music, and calculated blurriness. Effective cinematography helps, finding menace in the details of soft hay, stained walls, the turn of a crow's beak. Embarrassingly, the 4-year-old Turner twins offer the best performance, all wide eyes and ominous silence, though Stewart serves adequately as the requisite virginal heroine. Because, like all ghost stories, there is a message: Don't have premarital sex, and don't drink and drive, or the ghosts in the cellar will get you. For grownups, though, the story--and its morals--takes $100 million and two hours to tell.

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