There was a spring to my step and a twinkle in my eye as I exited the theatre after viewing The Pang Brothers’ newest effort, The Messengers. I pulled a heaping gulp of crisp winter air into my lungs and a giddy smile crossed my lips as I exhaled a smoky cloud of moisture into the evening sky. I felt lighter than air! I was Gene Kelly, ready to break out in song and dance with reckless abandon right there on the street corner! For you must understand; I have walked through the scorching heat of the desert, stood on the shores of the lake of fire, stared death directly in the eye…and walked away to tell the tale. I felt like Moses bringing his people back to the Holy Land; triumphant and seeping with endless optimism. And I owe it all to The Messengers.
This film, my dear and dedicated B-D readers, is the night with which we can truly understand the daylight: the evil which makes the good in the world feel so wonderful. It is the low point in horror filmdom. But yet, I am optimistic and content – I know from here on in, we can only go up. The bottom of the barrel has been scraped, drank, spit out and scraped again until there is nothing left, save a few crumbling splinters.
I can safely say, with 11 more months to go, that The Messengers is the worst horror film of the year.
Not one iota of creativity exists in its 90 minutes of screen time. Cliches are ridden with enormous gusto like a mighty steed across the screen and what script there must have been to convince the execs to give this the go-ahead is all but ripped to shreds, burned and stomped into the muddy ground.
I was somewhat optimistic walking into the shining lights of the theatre lobby, and yes: even the PG-13 rating for ‘frightening scenes’ did nothing to dampen my spirits. Heck, I thought all was harmonious in the universe when the lights went down and the names of ‘Raimi’ and ‘Tapert’ flashed invitingly in the opening credits, like a tantalizing succubus beckoning me further.
I vaguely recall something about a family moving into a haunted house, and some semi-scary ghosties walking around dripping water and looking sad; but I hardly noticed. I was reticent! My deep meditation was only broken on the numerous, calculated occasions of particularly derived ‘jump’ moments where the score got so loud, it even drowned out the giggling of the group of obnoxious 14-year-olds nearby. This movie is freakin’ loud, make no mistake about it. Otherwise I was stoic and stalwart.
The temptation was great though, dear reader! I heard the sweet song of the sirens calling me back out to the safety of the lobby, far away from the flagellation I was subjecting myself to. But I did not waver; I was a rock. Even with acting as atrocious and wooden as was presented on-screen did my attention break.
And lo, there was awful acting. I was convinced watching Penelope Ann Miller that she was reading queue-cards, or else someone was dangling a wad of cash behind the camera, reminding her why she chose the script in the first place. But what can an actress do with such a hideous script? Run and hide? NAY! Press on, she did, and so it was for the remaining cast as well. You may also convince yourself that you have seen this movie before. Do these Pangs have the balls to rip off The Grudge? The Ring? Amityville Horror? By golly, do they ever – and I am talking the remakes, folks. But the worst was yet to come in a blatant and awe-inspiring soiling of a master – one Mr. Hitchcock. I kid you not, they may as well have been declaring cinematic war after that move!
But as the end drew near, and I could see the light at the end of the tunnel (indeed, I could see the light 10 minutes into the film), I knew my tribulations were coming to a close. As the credits rolled I felt a wave of relief rush through my body. That was it. It was over. I have endured the worst and come out a better man.
I urge you to go and see this film so you can witness just how horrifying film-making has become. You will appreciate every horror moment from here on in. The film gets one half mark for putting me in such a wonderful and truly life-altering mood.
Take comfort in the fact that horror cinema can only get better from this moment on.