'The Messengers'

Penelope Ann Miller bathes in creepy light
Takashi Seida
Penelope Ann Miller bathes in creepy light

Details

The Messengers
Directed by Danny and Oxide Pang
Columbia Pictures, now playing
O h, 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 their mute 3-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 end 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.
 
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