REVIEW: The Messengers

Bangkok’s horror-wunderkind Pang Brothers (Danny and Oxide) come to the U.S. to serve up… well, a wretchedly formulaic Old Dark House ghost story that doesn’t have an original bone in it’s body (or even an original ghost in it’s cellar, really.)

Best-described as an “only the crappy parts” mash-up of “Amityville Horror” and every Asian horror movie since “The Ring,” here we have another tale of a city family (strong-Mom, patch-o-bad-luck-Dad, angry-teen-Daughter and a mute toddler) moving into a run-down old house in the country. Small town, everyone-knows-everyone, but no one knows what happened to the prior occupants of the house… other than they vanished mysteriously (the audience sees them, apparently, murdered in the opening prologue) and now the local kids think the place is haunted.

I. Wonder. What. Will. Happen.

Sure enough, the place is practically slathered in ectoplasm. Spooky noises abound, the electricity is funny and the furniture likes to break itself into pieces only to magically re-form once the adults come home. There’s something grimy and waterlogged-looking in the cellar, plus the requisite spider-walking little kid a’la “The Grudge” and a female wraith that manifests in water stains, and… well, it’s a little unclear, actually, how many spooks actually seem to be drifting about, and also exactly what they actually can and cannot do. At times it seems they need their new human housemates to open doors and solve mysteries for them, other times they are able to move around at will, they go from hostile to benign… oh, and they apparently have backup from a full murder of crows seemingly in a constant hover-pattern over the property.

There isn’t a plot twist you won’t guess, a mystery you won’t instantly solve, a scare that isn’t telegraphed from a hundred miles away. You’ll have it all figured out after a half hour, and then you’ll be mad because you’ve deduced what a crummy movie you’re about to suffer through the remainder of.

Danny, Oxide… what the HELL happened to you guys? I mean, I heard they re-shot the ending parts, fine… but how do you explain the 70+ minutes before that?


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