The Messengers (2007)

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Released 17-Oct-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio & Animation
Trailer-The US vs John Lennon; Fur: A Portrait of Diane Arbus
Trailer-Lucky You
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 86:42
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Oxide Pang Chun
Danny Pang
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Kristen Stewart
Dylan McDermott
Penelope Ann Miller
John Corbett
Evan Turner
Theodore Turner
William B. Davis
Brent Briscoe
Dustin Milligan
Jodelle Ferland
Michael Daingerfield
Tatiana Maslany
Shirley McQueen
Case ?
RPI ? Music Joseph LoDuca


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    After two years on the unemployment queue, Roy Solomon (Dylan McDermott) spends the last of his family's savings on a small, sleepy farm in North Dakota. The previous occupants of the home had disappeared mysteriously some years earlier and the Solomon's gradually come to realise that they had never really left the home. While Roy plants sunflowers with the family's new lodger Burr Rollins (John Corbett), his mute toddler son and teenage daughter (Kristen Stewart) begin to experience all manner of creepy goings on in the house. Needless to say, nobody believes her until they have their own experience.

    The Messengers is another in the recent run of haunted house movies that owe a significant debt to J-Horror and Asian horror in general. This is hardly a surprise as the film also marks the first English language feature for cult Honk Kong directors the Pang Brothers (though the brothers have individually directed films that have significant English portions), who are probably best known for the The Eye series.

    The film is a bit of a mixed bag. The story and dialogue are pretty weak and borrow heavily from previous haunted house flicks including The Amityville Horror and The Grudge. The acting is passable. The scares are well put together, but often don't fit in too well with the ongoing story. Where the film really shines is the cinematography and soundtrack. The film is beautifully shot, which really enhances the scary scenes. The soundtrack works on a number of levels to disconcert viewers. There is lots of intelligent foundation to build an ominous mood and plenty of high peaks to shock unwary viewers.

    Though it succeeds to a reasonable extent as a shameless genre exercise, The Messengers is nothing original and probably won't bear repeat viewing even for fans of the genre. Rent this one before you consider buying it.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The video is quite sharp and looks particularly good in several artistically lit scenes. There is a very mild degree of film grain visible throughout. A good amount of shadow detail is visible and dark scenes look good.

    The colour in the video is bold, but seems quite natural. The film uses a lot of simple colours to provide a striking look to the film, bright greens and yellows contrasting with earthy browns and black, and this look has translated well to DVD.

    There are no noticeable MPEG compression-related artefacts in the video. Occasional small white film artefacts can be seen during the film, though never in significant number.

    The film features English subtitles for the hearing impaired. The subtitles appear to be accurate and well timed based on the portion I sampled.

    This is a single-layered disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The film features an English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) soundtrack and an alternative in English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

    The dialogue is clearly audible throughout the film and appears to be synchronized with the video at all times.

    The film features a rather routine, though effective, orchestral score that sits well in the mix and sounds crystal clear.

    The sound design of the film is excellent. The surrounds are used in a very calculated manner to build the atmosphere of the film and enhance many of the scares. The subwoofer also gets an excellent workout at numerous points of the film, with plenty of subtle movement as well as the usual big thuds in the LFE track.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are no genuine extras on this disc (unless you consider generic animated menus and trailers for other films as extras).

Trailers

    Forced trailers for The US vs John Lennon, Fur: A Portrait of Diane Arbus and Lucky You precede the disc menu.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 release features several extras not contained on the Region 4 release as well as a French Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track and subtitles. The missing features include:

Summary

    A fairly routine J-Horror-inspired haunted house movie on a bare bones disc. Though The Messengers looks good and is reasonably well executed, it is a film that viewers will forget within the week. Rent before you buy.

    The video looks very good, but film artefacts are occasionally visible. The audio is excellent; a well produced soundtrack given a very good DVD presentation.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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