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I have to say the scariest thing about THE MESSENGERS is the fact that someone green-lighted this project after reading the weak and predictable screenplay. Personally, I am a sucker for horror films, even cheesy horror films, but when I spend the film’s entire running time goofing on clichéd situations that I’d seen about a thousand times before, it just doesn’t bode well for the watchability of a flick. Another problem, some of the camera work makes it appear that the filmmakers had trouble finding useable footage of the little tykes portraying the young son in the movie... Also, the sanitized PG-13 rating doesn’t help the shocks, which are tepid at best. In the film’s favor I can say that the young lead actress is a hottie, plus THE MESSENGERS made it possible for some likable actors to pick up an easy paycheck.

THE MESSENGERS begins with a reasonably creepy prologue, in which an unknown party in an isolated farmhouse massacres an entire family. Flash forward a few years; the farmhouse now has some new occupants- namely a struggling family looking to make a new life for themselves by raising sunflowers. Dylan McDermott is Roy, the down on his luck patriarch who invests the family’s last dime in the farm. Penelope Ann Miller is his devoted wife Denise. Kristen Stewart is the dark and moody teenaged daughter Jess, whose "past issues" are a continuous sticking point with Roy and Denise, who refuse to believe the girl when spooky stuff starts happening. Evan & Theodore Turner appear in the role of young son Ben, who sees the ghostly happenings in the farmhouse, but is unable to speak and confirm his sister’s claims. Finally, we have John Corbett as Burwell, who shows up on the farm at the appropriate moment as a hired hand. The cast of THE MESSENGERS also features William B. Davis, Brent Briscoe, Dustin Milligan, Jodelle Ferland, Michael Daingerfield, Tatiana Maslany, Shirley McQueen and Anna Hagan.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made THE MESSENGERS available on DVD in a 1.85:1 widescreen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. Image quality is quite good for an inexpensive horror flick; most everything appears crisp and has pretty good definition. Colors are nicely saturated, stable and the flesh tones are mostly appealing. Blacks are accurate, whites are crisp, plus the picture has smooth contrast and more than satisfactory shadow detail. The film elements are free from noticeable flaws, while digital compression artifacts are a non-issue.

THE MESSENGERS comes with a reasonably good Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. As expected, there are enough creepy sound effects deployed throughout the soundstage, plus there is a nice dose of atmosphere. Fidelity is very good making for reasonably convincing sound effects, as well as a solid musical component. Voices are natural sounding, plus the film’s dialogue is always completely understandable. A French 5.1 channel soundtrack has also been encoded onto the DVD, as have English and French subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a couple of extras. Actors Kristen Stewart, Milligan, writer Mark Wheaton, producers Jason Shuman and William Sherak, and FX supervisor Bruce Jones are on hand for a running Audio Commentary. Exhuming The Messengers is a seven-part program totaling thirty-eight minutes that covers the production and a few of the actors in respectable detail.

THE MESSENGERS definitely isn’t the most original or scary horror flick to come down the pike. Sony’s DVD looks and sounds just fine, so if you’re looking to kill a little time, THE MESSENGERS might fit the bill.



The Messengers (2007)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2007 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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