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"THE MESSENGERS"
(2007) (Kristen Stewart, Dylan McDermott) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
*None Heavy Extreme Extreme Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild Heavy Extreme None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild None Heavy Moderate Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Horror: Unhappy to have moved with her family from Chicago to a North Dakota farm, a sullen teen begins to question her sanity when she starts seeing and having encounters with what appear to be ghosts.
PLOT:
Jess Solomon (KRISTEN STEWART) is a troubled teenager who's none too happy that her father Roy (DYLAN McDERMOTT) has moved her, her toddler brother Ben (EVAN & THEODORE TURNER) and their mother Denise (PENELOPE ANN MILLER) from Chicago to a remote North Dakota farm. Broke, and out of work, Roy hopes to raise sunflower seeds, and takes on drifter John Burwell (JOHN CORBETT) as a hired hand.

With little outside contact beyond teen townie Bobby (DUSTIN MILLIGAN), Jess spends most of her time on the farm and in the old farmhouse. There, things not only go bump in the night, but they've also drawn the attention of young Ben who seems to be watching and often amused by figures that no one else can see.

That is, until Jess has an encounter with ghostly dead beings in the house, a development no one else believes. Explaining her cuts and bruises as self-inflicted, her parents think she's either acting up or headed down the path of even greater problems. Yet, and despite beginning to question her own sanity, Jess knows something isn't right and tries to get to the bottom of the hauntings before it's too late for her and her younger brother.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're into spooky horror films and/or are fans of anyone in the cast, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For mature thematic material, disturbing violence and terror.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • KRISTEN STEWART plays a sullen and troubled teen (with a drinking incident in her past) who isn't happy to have left her home and friends in Chicago for the farm in North Dakota. She begins to question her sanity when she starts having supernatural encounters in the house and can't convince her parents that they're real. She uses some profanity.
  • DYLAN McDERMOTT plays her dad who's moved the family to the farm in a last ditch effort to make money and keep them together. He isn't happy with Jess when he thinks she's acting up.
  • PENELOPE ANN MILLER plays his wife who's concerned about Jess.
  • JOHN CORBETT plays a drifter who saves Roy from some attacking crows and then takes a job working on the farm. He uses some profanity and has a troubled past.
  • EVAN & THEODORE TURNER play Jess' younger brother, a toddler who doesn't speak but can see the home's various ghosts (but isn't scared of them).
  • DUSTIN MILLIGAN plays a local teen townie who befriends Jess and uses some profanity.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this horror film that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 3 "s" words, while a handful of other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Brief and non-explicit, but sexually related dialogue is present.

    Violence consists of partially seen murders as well as humans and ghosts attacking and/or trying to harm others. Some of that has bloody results, while those scenes, moments of peril, various spooky visuals, and the overall haunted house setting might be unsettling, suspenseful, and/or downright scary to some viewers.

    Various characters have bad attitudes, tense family material is present, and while no alcohol use occurs, we do hear about the aftermath of teenage drunk driving.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, some camera movement is present (mostly in the opening sequence), while some brief spin around camera moments also occur.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • None, but Jess tells Bobby the secret from her past, where she had to drive young Ben somewhere, but was drunk ("It wasn't like I was wasted"), and got into an accident that resulted in Ben being hospitalized and seems to have prevented him from starting to talk.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • The various corpses seen in various scenes throughout the movie have decomposed appearances.
  • Something or someone slams a woman into a wall (we see some blood splattering out when she hits, as well as a bloody smear left on that wall).
  • Jess sees one corpse's decomposed face (that looks like it has a hole in the head).
  • We see bruises on Jess' arm in the shape of fingers that had grabbed her.
  • A massive amount of crows congregate on the farm and then proceed to swoop down and attack John. He tries to fend them off and finally gets his hand on something that he uses to whack one (we don't see the impact), but the rest overcome him. We see some blood then and later as he lies face down on the ground with various bloody holes in his shirt (and a dead crow by him). We think he's dead, but he then gets up and has various bloody cuts on his face and some blood on his hand.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • A scared woman tries to protect her boy from what we think is some sort of supernatural force, but we later learn - spoiler alert - that it was her husband who attacked and presumably killed her and their two children.
  • Jess isn't happy to have moved with her family from Chicago to a remote North Dakota farm.
  • Jess tells Bobby the secret from her past, where she had to drive young Ben somewhere, but was drunk ("It wasn't like I was wasted"), and got into an accident that resulted in Ben being hospitalized and seems to have prevented him from starting to talk.
  • A deranged man thinks that Denise is his former wife and Jess and Ben his late kids, believing they're all leaving him, something he won't let happen, no matter what it takes.
  • We see quick flashback views of a deranged man attacking and killing his family (knocking his wife through a stairwell banister, other such contact, etc.).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence," "Blood/Gore" and "Jump Scenes" may be unsettling, suspenseful, or scary to viewers, particularly younger ones, and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • We see a flashback to a scared mother trying to protect her young son from an unseen presence. She has the boy hide under the bed and he then partially sees his mom slammed into the wall (we see it in full, including some blood splattering out when she hits, as well as a bloody smear left on that wall). We then hear more thrashing about, with the boy's older sister coming to protect him, but she's then hit and yanked away by her feet, leaving fingernail scratches in the wood floor. The boy then runs and hides in a kitchen floor cabinet and is scared there as the unseen killer approaches. He begins to cry as he hears supernatural type sounds and then sees the cabinet doors slowly open. Suddenly, a hand then reaches in and grabs him (the scene ends there).
  • We see deep fingernail scratch marks in front of the locked door down to the cellar and hear ghostly scratching sounds.
  • Jess slowly walks through the old farmhouse, and only partially seems to realize she's walked through the slight essence of some supernatural entity on the steps. We then see movement behind her, and when she looks out the window, a large crow suddenly slams into it.
  • As Denise makes the bed and flips a covering to go over it, Ben sees a corpse's legs standing there (meaning there's no upper body, but when the covering settles to the bed, there's no outline of those legs).
  • Denise sees that the creepy looking stain on the wall that she previously cleaned is now back.
  • Roy hears young Ben laughing and walking about his room, reacting to something that only he can see.
  • We see a brief view of a corpse's feet dangling by a window.
  • In the reflection of a spoon he's holding, young Ben sees a herky-jerky corpse moving along the wall behind him. When the boy turns, there's nothing there, but the reflection shows it again. We then see that corpse jerking its way along the wall and ceiling, with the boy following and watching it in amazement. He then stops at a locked door, can see movement through the door's keyhole, and hears crying from the other side. He then reaches out for the doorknob that's moving when his mother then comes along and collects him (having not heard or seen any of that).
  • A locked door suddenly opens in front of Jess, leading her down into the dark cellar. She then slowly walks through it, hears a noise, and then sees what looks like a dead crow on the floor. She then takes a piece of wood to touch it, but it then suddenly takes flight.
  • Alone in the house with young Ben, Jess hears a loud thump and then running footsteps upstairs. She starts to go up the stairs to investigate, when violent poltergeist type activity suddenly erupts, knocking down the stairwell banister and smashing and crashing the furniture inside the place (with supernatural sounds surrounding the two). Ben then goes down the hallway following a toy tractor and when Jess realizes he's gone, she only sees the tractor at the top of the stairwell down to the cellar. She then goes to look, and when she turns to see Ben now behind her, various corpse hands suddenly grab and try to yank her down the cellar staircase (we only see the arms, all from outside the open door). She disappears and then reappears, still struggling and eventually escapes, only to see one corpse's decomposed face (that looks like it has a hole in the head). She then rushes to get Ben out of the house, handing him to John who's at the window, wondering what's going on. We then see that the house is back to normal.
  • Jess wakes up to hear voices, finds Ben awake, and then asks what he's looking at. She then carries him along as he points at things he can see, but she can't. As he then looks and points behind her (we see floating corpse legs in the background). She's afraid to turn around, and we see a corpse (mostly out of focus at first, but then in focus and we see the scary looking, ghost face) slowly creeping up behind them (young Ben isn't scared). Jess then spins around at the last second as the boy reaches out for the ghastly face, but there's nothing there.
  • Bobby says he heard stories about the farmhouse and that he and his friends dared each other to go into the cellar (he says he never went down there). We then see Jess going back down into the cellar by herself and there's a sudden thump at the door to the outside.
  • A black mold quickly oozes out of the cellar floorboards and travels across the floor toward Jess' feet. A hand then grabs down at her from the ceiling (from a corpse there) and she tries to run, but another corpse grabs and trips her on the steps from the dirt that's turned into something resembling quicksand (during this she sees and encounters another corpse through the open steps). The corpse then pulls her backwards toward it, but she lands on the regular dirt ground.
  • Jess thinks she sees something in the tall sunflower field during the day and goes out to investigate. A figure then suddenly passes by in the foreground of the shot, startling her.
  • Jess enters a barn where the large sliding door suddenly closes behind her. She then approaches what looks like a figure covered in a tarp, but when she cautiously yanks it away, it's nothing but seed. She then hears sounds and follows them to a corner where a figure is huddled and crouched down, facing away from her. She then recoils in terror as she sees a decomposed figure looking up at her with ghostly, milky eyes. It then suddenly lunges out toward her.
  • An old watch suddenly pops open by itself.
  • Ben suddenly points behind Denise, somewhat unnerving her.
  • A massive amount of crows congregate on the farm and then proceed to swoop down and attack John. He tries to fend them off and finally gets his hand on something that he uses to whack one (we don't see the impact), but the rest overcome him. We see some blood then and later as he lies face down on the ground with various bloody holes in his shirt (and a dead crow by him). We think he's dead, but he then gets up and has various bloody cuts on his face and some blood on his hand.
  • Denise sees a stain growing on the wall and then a dead mother's body coming out of that, looking pained and ghostly with her mouth open in a silent scream.
  • Once Jess realizes what's going on, she races to get home to save her family.
  • A deranged man thinks that Denise is his former wife and Jess and Ben his late kids, believing they're all leaving him, something he won't let happen, no matter what it takes.
  • A bedroom door suddenly slams shut in front of Jess and Bobby. He carries a hatchet, but a loud crash at the door causes them to run as pitchfork tongs thrust out from various points of the hallway walls (along with long scratches suddenly being etched into them) as they try to run away.
  • A deranged man punches Bobby to the floor, knocking him out. He then comes after Jess who joins her mother and Ben in the dark cellar where they try to hide. The man becomes progressively unhinged, repeatedly thrusting a pitchfork through the locked cellar door. He then breaks through it and then hunts for Jess and Denise who continue to hide, with it seeming as if he's going to find and harm Jess at any moment.
  • Jess tries hitting a deranged man with a shovel, but he throws her aside. He then hits Denise when she comes at him. As a black fungus oozes from the cellar floorboards toward them, he then raises a pitchfork above him and tries to strike Jess, but she rolls out of the way just in time. She then kicks him back into the dirt floor that's turned into something resembling quicksand where corpses there grab and drag him under the muck.
  • A man suddenly grabs Jess' leg and tries to pull her into some muck with him, with Roy trying to yank her out, and Denise finally helping until they succeed and the man sinks below the muck.
  • We see quick flashback views of a deranged man attacking and killing his family (knocking his wife through a stairwell banister, other such contact, etc.).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Crows repeatedly swoop down and attack Roy, and only leave when John fires his rifle several times into the air. He later fires that rifle again to scare away more crows.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "The girls' team here is for sh*t," "Holy sh*t," "Sweet," "You're kicking my ass," "Nuts" (crazy), "Jeez," "What the hell?" "Shut up" and "I've been working my ass off."
  • It's possible the film could inspire some kids to try to scare others in ways seen in the movie.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A hand suddenly thrusts into an open kitchen cabinet and grabs a boy hiding there.
  • A large crow suddenly slams into a window.
  • Jess sees a toy tractor at the back of a kitchen cabinet and strains to reach for it, when it's suddenly thrust forward toward her.
  • There's a sudden flash image by Roy, and we then see an older man behind him.
  • As Denise makes the bed and flips a covering to go over it, Ben sees a corpse's legs standing there (meaning there's no upper body, but when the covering settles to the bed, there's no outline of those legs).
  • A seemingly dead crow suddenly takes flight.
  • A crow suddenly flies by.
  • Several corpse hands suddenly grab Jess.
  • A figure suddenly passes by in the foreground of the camera shot.
  • There's a sudden loud thump at a cellar door.
  • A figure suddenly passes by in the foreground of the shot, startling Jess.
  • A ghostly figure suddenly lunges out toward Jess.
  • Denise suddenly runs into John at the front door.
  • A man suddenly grabs Jess' leg and tries to pull her into some muck with him.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of ominous, suspenseful, and scary music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 3 "s" words, 4 damns, 2 asses, 2 damns, 1 S.O.B., 3 uses of "Oh my God," 2 of "Oh God" and 1 use of "God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Denise shows a little cleavage.
  • Jess wears a rather low-cut tank-top (but the view is from a little bit of a distance, so nothing much is seen).
  • After Denise states that something's new, Roy playfully but suggestively tells her so are the things he's going to do to her when he comes in from the field that night. As he playfully kisses on her, he says he's been reading the "farma-sutra."
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • A scared woman tries to protect her boy from what we think is some sort of supernatural force, but we later learn - spoiler alert - that it was her husband who attacked and presumably killed her and their two children.
  • Jess isn't happy to have moved with her family from Chicago to a remote North Dakota farm.
  • Later, and about moving there, Roy tells Jess that it isn't a punishment for her.
  • When Jess says they have to leave the farmhouse (due to the supernatural occurrences), her dad gets mad at her (thinking she's just acting up), saying they have everything riding on their upcoming sunflower harvest, and he accuses her of cutting herself to draw attention.
  • Denise is upset with Roy when she learns he turned down an offer to buy their farm without disclosing that to her (they end up yelling). When he realizes Jess has run off, he then drives off to try to find her, stating that no matter what he does, he can't keep his family together.
  • A deranged man thinks that Denise is his former wife and Jess and Ben his late kids, believing they're all leaving him, something he won't let happen, no matter what it takes.
  • We see quick flashback views of a deranged man attacking and killing his family (knocking his wife through a stairwell banister, other such contact, etc.).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Ghosts and supernatural material.
  • Moving to a new home and leaving one's friends behind.
  • Strained families.
  • We hear that Jess has a suspended driver's license.
  • Jess begins to question her sanity after several ghostly encounters.
  • Jess tells Bobby the secret from her past, where she had to drive young Ben somewhere, but was drunk ("It wasn't like I was wasted"), and got into an accident that resulted in Ben being hospitalized and seems to have prevented him from starting to talk.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see a flashback to a scared mother trying to protect her young son from an unseen presence. She has the boy hide under the bed and he then partially sees his mom slammed into the wall (we see it in full, including some blood splattering out when she hits, as well as a bloody smear left on that wall). We then hear more thrashing about, with the boy's older sister coming to protect him, but she's then hit and yanked away by her feet, leaving fingernail scratches in the wood floor. The boy then runs and hides in a kitchen floor cabinet and is scared there as the unseen killer approaches. He begins to cry as he hears supernatural type sounds and then sees the cabinet doors slowly open. Suddenly, a hand then reaches in and grabs him (the scene ends there).
  • Roy finds a bunch of crows inside his car, eating his sunflower seeds. He tries to shoo them out, but after one bites or pecks him, he stands back and throws several rocks into the vehicle to scare them away.
  • Crows repeatedly swoop down and attack Roy, and only leave when John fires his rifle several times into the air.
  • Alone in the house with young Ben, Jess hears a loud thump and then running footsteps upstairs. She starts to go up the stairs to investigate, when violent poltergeist type activity suddenly erupts, knocking down the stairwell banister and smashing and crashing the furniture inside the place (with supernatural sounds surrounding the two). Ben then goes down the hallway following a toy tractor and when Jess realizes he's gone, she only sees the tractor at the top of the stairwell down to the cellar. She then goes to look, and when she turns to see Ben now behind her, various corpse hands suddenly grab and try to yank her down the cellar staircase (we only see the arms, all from outside the open door). She disappears and then reappears, still struggling and eventually escapes.
  • A black mold quickly oozes out of the cellar floorboards and travels across the floor toward Jess' feet. A hand then grabs down at her from the ceiling (from a corpse there) and she tries to run, but another corpse grabs and trips her on the steps from the dirt that's turned into something resembling quicksand (during this she sees and encounters another corpse through the open steps). The corpse then pulls her backwards toward it, but she lands on the regular dirt ground.
  • A massive amount of crows congregate on the farm and then proceed to swoop down and attack John. He tries to fend them off and finally gets his hand on something that he uses to whack one (we don't see the impact), but the rest overcome him. We see some blood then and later as he lies face down on the ground with various bloody holes in his shirt (and a dead crow by him). We think he's dead, but he then gets up and has various bloody cuts on his face and some blood on his hand.
  • A deranged man slaps Denise down to a chair, thinking she's his former wife.
  • A deranged man punches Bobby to the floor, knocking him out. He then comes after Jess who joins her mother and Ben in the dark cellar where they try to hide. The man becomes progressively unhinged, repeatedly thrusting a pitchfork through the locked cellar door. He then breaks through it and then hunts for Jess and Denise.
  • A man stabs a pitchfork into another man's back (we don't see the impact).
  • Jess tries hitting a deranged man with a shovel, but he throws her aside. He then hits Denise when she comes at him. As a black fungus oozes from the cellar floorboards toward them, he then raises a pitchfork above him and tries to strike Jess, but she rolls out of the way just in time. She then kicks him back into the dirt floor that's turned into something resembling quicksand where corpses there grab and drag him under the muck.
  • A man suddenly grabs Jess' leg and tries to pull her into some muck with him, with Roy trying to yank her out, and Denise finally helping until they succeed and the man sinks below the muck.
  • We see quick flashback views of a deranged man attacking and killing his family (knocking his wife through a stairwell banister, other such contact, etc.).



  • Reviewed February 1, 2007 / Posted February 2, 2007

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