'The Messengers'

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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