The Messengers


Lately the thriller/horror genre has enjoyed a new golden age. It seems there’s a new release every two weeks. Does Hollywood continue the success with this offering? The answer is a marginal yes…this thriller still delivers the goods without gratuitous content, but the package is very familiar and, at times, predictable.

Kristen Stewart (Twilight film series) headlines as Jess, a troubled young girl who just moved from Chicago to North Dakota with her family. Stewart, who also starred in Panic Room and Zathura shows promise as she makes the transition from child star to more mature acting roles. Her father, Roy, played by Dylan McDermott (In the Line of Fire, The Practice television series) starts a sunflower farm amid a struggling community.

His wife, Denise, played by Penelope Ann Miller (Awakenings), supports his endeavor as they raise their adorable son, the surprisingly brave Ben, played by twins Evan and Theodore Turner. John Corbett (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) plays as a key character named Burwell.

The emotion connections, including a downplayed tragedy, originating from this basic two child family challenged in almost every way possible, offers a refreshing change. The simple plot has a full age range of character for audiences as some pieces eventually fit together while others become fully realized.

This film has familiar elements (including echoes of Amityville Horror), some predictable plot points (the staple “last gasp”) and a surprisingly quick decision based on compassion for the rampant unemployment in the area.

Seasoned veterans of this genre might predict elements before they happen while younger audiences might find it challenge their “scary movie” tolerance to even get to the satisfyingly simple ending full of redemption and hope. Recommended (**1/2 out of four stars) and rated PG-13 for tense situations, language, violence and theme.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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