The Messengers (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Pang Brothers|
|Produced by||Sam Raimi
Robert G. Tapert
|Written by||Stuart Beattie
Penelope Ann Miller
|Music by||Joseph LoDuca|
|Editing by||John Axelrad
|Studio||Ghost House Pictures|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures
|Running time||90 minutes|
The Messengers is a 2007 American supernatural horror film directed by the Pang Brothers, and produced by Sam Raimi. It stars Kristen Stewart, John Corbett, William B. Davis, Dylan McDermott, and Penelope Ann Miller. The film is about an ominous darkness that invades a seemingly serene sunflower farm in North Dakota, and the Solomon family—the owners of the farm—who are torn apart by suspicion, mayhem, and murder.
The film was released on February 2, with the DVD released on June 5. Although the setting of the film is in North Dakota, filming actually took place in the Qu'Appelle Valley near the small community of Abernethy, Saskatchewan, Canada. The graphic novel adaptation was published in January 2007 by Dark Horse Comics, written by Jason Hall, and illustrated by Kelley Jones. The prequel, Messengers 2: The Scarecrow, was released on June 21, 2009.
A terrified mother tells her son he has to be strong and that everything will be okay. As she packs a suitcase, she hears something coming towards the door and makes her son hide under the bed. The door bursts open and something throws the woman against the wall, killing her instantly. The son, terrified, runs out of the room and into his equally scared sister. She grabs him and runs down the stairs. The boy hides under a table, but his sister is caught and pushed over the stair railings and is obviously injured. She crawls to the boy and tells him to run, but is dragged to the cellar, her nails clawing the floor. The boy runs into the kitchen and hides in a cabinet. It is dark except for a sliver of light down his face. The cabinet door opens and a hand yanks him out.
Five years later, the Solomon family from Chicago move into the house, hoping to start a sunflower farm. The teenage daughter, Jess (Kristen Stewart), is upset about moving away from her friends. She had once driven drunk with her younger brother, Ben, a toddler at the time, in the car. She got into an accident, seriously injuring Ben. He recovered, but does not speak. Jess' father, Roy, and mother, Denise, have a hard time trusting their daughter. Roy, who grew up in the next county and has previous farming experience, moved his family to the farm believing it will help heal the family.
Ominous events start occurring. The house always has crows flying around it. Some even attack Roy, but are driven off by a drifter named John Burwell, whom Roy hires to work on the farm. Ben sees the ghosts of the mother and children in the house, though they do not seem to frighten him. Jess is also aware of their presence but is unable to see them until they attempt to drag her into the cellar. The adults have no perception of the ghosts at all. One ghost, the sister, attempts to drag Jess into the cellar. Afterward, Jess calls 9-1-1 and the police arrive, but find nothing. They consider it a false alarm, and Jess' parents do not believe her either. While Ben witnessed what happened, still being very young and mute he is unable to confirm her story. Only Bobby, a teenage boy from town whom Jess befriends, supports her.
Jess and Ben have more encounters with the ghosts haunting the house. One attack occurs when she went into the cellar herself, she starts seeing mud coming out of the floor, scared she runs back up but gets grabbed by the ankle, and starts seeing a flashback of the girl ghost alive getting pulled down the stairs, when Jess starts to fall into the mud where the girl ghost was, everything reverts back to normal and she runs back up. Another occurs in the barn, resulting in Jess acquiring cuts and bruises. Jess sees a little boy inside the barn, arms wrapped around his legs, his back toward Jess. When she tries to ask him if he is okay, he does not reply. She moves closer to the boy. The boy turns and reveals his face, his eyes white, his skin pale and with grey cuts on his face. He suddenly jumps and attacks Jess. Later, Jess is rushed to the hospital. Her parents think her wounds are self-inflicted because she wants to leave the house and return to the city, and they will not believe that ghosts are haunting it. Because her parents do not believe her, tensions rise and Jess becomes determined to prove her claims to Roy and Denise. When Jess left to find proof, she tells Bobby about what happened and he says to her that people make mistakes.
Jess later discovers more details about the Rollins family, the house's previous owners, by Bobby. According to the locals, the Rollins lived in the house, but left suddenly five or six years ago. However, at a local store Jess sees a picture of the family, with the father revealed to be none other than John Burwell, who has always been kind to her. As it turns out, John Burwell is actually John Rollins, the head of the Rollins family and the man who, in a fit of madness, killed his family. Frightened and anxious, Jess takes Bobby back to the house to warn her family before it is too late.
Back at home, Jess' mother, Denise, is putting Ben to sleep when she notices a blood spot on the wall coming back even though she has already cleaned it. This is where the mother, Mary Rollins, was thrown against the wall. Suddenly Denise sees the mother's ghost emerging from the bloodstain. Realizing that Jess had been right, a terrified Denise becomes determined to leave. She starts packing suitcases and places them on the front porch. John, after being attacked by crows, becomes confused and believes Denise is his wife Mary, trying to leave him in the same way Mary had, years before. He runs to the house to attack Denise, believing that she is his wife. Denise grabs Ben and runs into the cellar to hide from their attacker.
Bobby and Jess arrive, and Jess calls for her mother and father. John attacks them from behind with a pitchfork, knocking Bobby out in the process. Jess runs into the cellar and bolts the door. While John is looking for some way to get into the cellar, Jess finds Denise and Ben, telling her that she is sorry for not believing her since she saw one of the ghosts, and then Jess further barricades the door, blocks all the windows and breaks the light bulb so that they can stay hidden in darkness. John is able to get into the cellar and looks around for the three, still believing that Denise is his wife Mary, that Jess is his daughter Lindsay, and that Ben is his son Michael. Roy arrives to help his family, but is stabbed by John with the pitchfork. However, John's ghostly family arise from their graves beneath the cellar in dirty mud which Jess notices, when John asked Jess, still thinking she is Lindsay, if they are still family, Jess kicks John into the mud saying that she and her family are not his. As his family vengefully pulls him to join them underground, memories of their deaths were shown until he was pulled down. Hoping to save himself from sinking, John grabs Jess' leg which pulled her toward the mud. Jess' parents work together to save their daughter by pulling her free from John's grip before he sinks beneath the cellar with his family.
Thanks to Bobby, the police and paramedics arrive shortly after the attack. Denise tells the police about the ghosts, Roy is loaded into the ambulance and he too apologizes to Jess, and promises to never doubt her again. As the film ends, things return to normal. The crows no longer attack, the ghosts stop appearing and Ben starts talking again. The family appears to be normal once more and the house and land look better than ever.
- Kristen Stewart as Jess Solomon
- Dylan McDermott as Roy Solomon
- Penelope Ann Miller as Denise Solomon
- John Corbett as John Burwell/John Rollins
- Evan Turner as Ben Solomon
- Theodore Turner as Ben Solomon
- William B. Davis as Colby Price
- Brent Briscoe as Plume
- Dustin Milligan as Bobby
- Jodelle Ferland as Michael Rollins
- Michael Daingerfield as Police Officer
- Tatiana Maslany as Lindsay Rollins
- Shirley McQueen as Mary Rollins
- Kieria Robinson as Katy Turner
The film began life as an original script called The Scarecrow by Todd Farmer. It was originally written as a psychological thriller as opposed to a more supernatural horror film. It was about a family on a farm suffering from financial problems and bad seasoning. When the patriarch puts up a strange scarecrow out in the field, things start to change. But then people start to get killed, and the main character suspects the scarecrow. By the end, the main character is revealed to have caused the killings.
The script was sold to Revolution Studios. Director Patrick Lussier signed on to the film, and put a supernatural flair into the story. Revolution then brought in Stuart Beattie to rewrite the script. "What I pitched was "the horror version of A Beautiful Mind," said Farmer, "and what they wanted was "The Shining on a farm." Revolution then sold it to Ghost House Pictures, who then took it and hired Mark Wheaton to rewrite it. None of the original script survived through the rewrites, besides the farm setting, and character names.
Box office 
The Messengers placed first in box office receipts for the weekend of February 2–4, 2007. In its first weekend of release, the film grossed $14,713,321. As of February 23, 2008, the film had grossed $54,957,265.
Critical response 
The film received mostly negative reviews from critics. It holds a 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus being "The Messengers is an atmospheric but derivative rip-off of countless other horror movies." On imdb.com, it holds a 5.2 out of 10.
A comic version of the film was published by Dark Horse Comics in January 2007. There was another comic published called, "the messengers leave" in April of 2008
- Official website
- The Messengers at the Internet Movie Database
- The Messengers at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Messengers at AllRovi