Directed: Danny Pang, Oxide Pang Chun
Country: USA, Canada
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery
It's been six years since the Rollins family just up and left and now the troubled Solomon family has come from Chicago, to rebuild their lives following their sons hospitalization due to their daughter's drunk driving accident. But as they start to settle in something odd and strange begins to occur to their son. Could something supernatural be at work, and did the previous family just leave...or are they still here? Trapped in the only place they've ever known? And what did cause their deaths? Most of all...is this 'killer' still very much alive?
Movie ReviewsIf you lived in a creepy, isolated old farm house, and you knew that three people had been slaughtered in it, and that it was haunted, and you and your family had been almost killed there, and that a killer had been, more or less, eaten by the house, would you move?
If the answer to this question is “Why should I?” have I got a movie for you.
I’ve become quite a fan of the Asian horror films that have been teeming onto our shores since the beginning of the century, and one of the best was “The Eye” in 2002, co-directed by Danny and Oxide Pang. Sam Raimi is also a fan and following the success his production company had with importing Takashi Shimizu to remake his “The Grudge,” he’s brought the Pang Brothers over to film an original American screenplay by Mark Wheaton and Todd Farmer, “The Messengers.”
Cue the dysfunctional family. Father Roy (Dylan McDermott) has been out of work for two years. Daughter Jessica (Kristen Stewart) caused a drunken car accident. Toddler Ben (Theodore and Evan Turner) refuses to talk. Mother Denise (Penelope Ann Miller) keeps telling everyone how hard she’s working to keep them all together. Roy decides that a move from Chicago to a sunflower farm in North Dakota is the first step on the highway to heaven, so off they go to live in an old, long-abandoned, isolated house that was left to rot when the family that lived there previously mysteriously vanished one night. Why do I watch horror movies? So I’ll know better than to move to a place like this.
Soon Ben, the young’un, acts like he sees something on the ceiling and walls. In flashes of insight, we see what looks like the ghost of a child scurrying around the room. Jess is the only member of the family who suspects anything is wrong despite the fact that mom keeps scrubbing the same stain off the wall, dad has been attacked by crows, a banker from town (played by “The X-Files” Cigarette Smoking Man, William B. Davis) keeps popping up out of nowhere to offer to buy the place—Davis looks like he’s part of a plot thread that got edited out of the final film—and a wandering handyman named Burwell (John Corbett) happens along and accepts when he is asked to stay on with no pay.
Now, we know from a black and white prologue that something killed the last family to live here. Unfortunately, the prologue uses a trick that is essentially a lie. This leads us down the garden path when it comes to figuring out what is going on, but the path is pretty short and the surprise ending is fairly easy to spot around the bend.
Given that the banker, Burwell, and Bobby (Dustin Milligan), the teen boy Jess meets in town, are the only other significant characters in the picture, we have a very limited field of choice when it comes to picking a villain. I have to tell you, though, that one of the Pang’s Hong Kong thrillers pulls a bad guy out of thin air, so I was half expecting a surprise.
Most of the scares come from the sound department, headed by Ulrika Akander, as well as from “The Amityville Horror,” “The Birds,” and “The Shining.”
The film contains, to paraphrase Rossini’s description of Wagner’s music, some nice seconds separated by some tedious minutes, and is cursed by its PG-13 rating.