The Messengers (2 stars)

(15) 91min


Asian filmmaking is the strongest theme in modern horror. Sleeper hit Ringu irrefutably changed the landscape and made US execs sit up and take notice. Here the Pang brothers (Danny and the wonderfully named Oxide) are the latest victims wooed by the Hollywood system. Most famous for The Eye and Bangkok Dangerous (coincidently both of which are currently being remade in the US), the brothers take no chances with their first foray into American filmmaking as a family move to an abandoned farmhouse, where something nasty seems to be lurking in the cellar. Only mute toddler Ben seems to be able to sense the supernatural presence, with no one believing her claims, teenager Jess (Kristen Stewart) has increasingly frightening brushes with the dead.

If you are willing to suspend disbelief (and there are some fairly nonsensical leaps of logic) this will keep you entertained. The film’s most effective moments are unsurprisingly cribbed from far superior films (Poltergeist, The Shining, The Ring, even The Birds). This leads to a horribly clichéd movie that desperately tries to please but forgets to bring any of these brothers’ trademark inventiveness to the table.

General release from Fri 6 Apr.

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