The Messengers (PG-13)

Drama 90 February 2, 2007
By Jim Ridley
Oh boy -- a shocker set against the terrifying backdrop of North Dakota sunflower farming! Get ready for the ultimate in helianthus horror as a Chicago couple (Dylan McDermott and Penelope Ann Miller, no threat to Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor), their troubled teen daughter (Kristen Stewart), and mute three-year-old son stake their future in a haunted farmhouse, where apparitions bedevil the kids but leave the disbelieving parents alone. The second lousy horror movie in a month (after The Hitcher) to reference Hitchcock's The Birds, the film is credited to Bangkok/Hong Kong filmmakers Danny and Oxide Pang (The Eye), with reported reshoots by Eduardo Rodriguez (Curandero). But the result looks heavily doctored: The Sam Raimi-produced feature is a badly acted, nonsensical patchwork of fake scares, crow attacks, and wall-crawling CGI spooks, capped by a DVD extra of an ending that must have the real resolution gagged somewhere in a closet. At least it can claim two dubious cinematic records: the fastest-growing field of sunflowers in movie history, as well as the quickest recovery from a pitchfork impalement.
Oxide Pang Chun, Danny Pang Kristen Stewart, Dylan McDermott, Penelope Ann Miller, John Corbett, Graham Bell, Michael Daingerfield, William B. Davis, Dustin Milligan Stuart Beattie, Todd Farmer William Sherak, Jason Shuman, Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert Screen Gems

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