It’s always nice to come out of a movie pleasantly surprised at how good it was. The inverse is more often the case, especially with Hollywood horror movies in recent years. More often you go in, expecting it, but hoping against hope that it won’t. The Messenger, recently released Hollywood horror movie, is a horror movie well worth seeing.
Its a haunted house story of a family that leaves their city life behind to pull up stakes and move to Middle of Nowhere, North Dakota, to start a sunflower farm. Starring Dylan McDermott as Roy, the father, Penelope Ann Miller as Denise, the mother, and Kristen Stewart as Jess, the daughter, The Messengers is a classic haunted horror tale, well-told.
The Solomon family moves to North Dakota, to a run-down deserted farm in the middle of nowhere, which is admirably shot in true gothic horror fashion. Roy has been unemployed for a long time, Jess has been in some sort of trouble, and Denise is just trying to keep it all together. The two-year-old son, Ben, almost immediately begins seeing … things. Unfortunately for the family, no one else can see what he sees, or they might flee screaming from the house.
An entire family was murdered there some years ago, and their spirits are creepy, malevolent, and thankfully not overdone. The film makers, the Pang Brothers, apparently knew they had a strong cast, and could exercise the proper restraint to build tension and chills without relying on cheap jumps and excessive editing tricks. The story is simple, but its so well done that the simplicity doesn’t matter. Refreshingly, they also keep blood and guts to a minimum and use real Hitchcockian camera work to put the audience on the edge of their seats, rather then drenching the screen in blood and body parts like Saw, Texas Chainsaw Massacre remakes, and Hostel.
In one riveting scene, Jess is holding her two-year-old brother and trying to find the source of the terrible noises and events that are driving her to question her sanity. She just knows that something is behind her, and the audience receives only the barest fuzzy glimpse of what’s back there as it gets closer …. and closer …. and closer … and closer. For an excruciatingly long time.
If you’re looking for a good scare, great performances, real film tension, and want to be able to eat your popcorn without getting blood on it, take a look at The Messengers. You won’t be disappointed.