In 2007 the Pang brothers Oxide Pang Chun and Danny Pang made their first “Hollywood” horror film The Messengers. It was a brilliant looking film that had many of their signature touches and despite the fact that it had Kristen Stewart in it, was creepy, scary and pretty “jump-worthy.”
Two years later Messengers 2: The Scarecrow was released. The film’s title indicated a connection with the previous film, even going so far as to tack the number 2 on the end. Unfortunately the only thing that could be considered a connection is the same creepy dark brown house and barn sitting beside a huge cornfield.
And sadly, that is the only connection between the two films. The one bonus is that the film does not include Ms Stewart among its cast, but that is the only bonus in this lacklustre, shambling excuse of a horror film. A “straight-to-video” film that is a waste of time and the celluloid it was shot on.
The film opens with a blonde woman running through a cornfield calling to someone. She is being chased by an unknown entity that could be a disgruntled film critic. As she dies in the corn, the film starts properly.
The film centres around John Rollins (Norman Reedus) and his family; wife Mary (Heather Stephens), daughter Lindsey (Claire Holt) and son Michael (Laurence Belcher). Their farm is in danger of being foreclosed by the bank if their failing corn crop dies and they cannot sell any.
One of the biggest problems that I had with the film was the corn field itself. Most of the time it did not look real, when it did start to resemble real corn the ears did not look real. It looked like what it was; a fake corn field full of fake corn in a fake field. The entire thing screamed fake.
John finds a “secret” door in the back of his barn and behind this door he finds the ugliest scarecrow ever made. Not only is this scarecrow a poster child for cruelty against scarecrows, it is falling to pieces, and John immediately decides that this is the answer to his crow problem.
Of course John gets a little help from his new neighbour Jude (Richard Riehie) who leads him to believe that the scarecrow will indeed answer all his problems.
That was the other huge problem with the film. John Rollins. He is supposed to be a hard-working down-trodden member of society who’s most scandalous action to date has been to leave church early. Despite this horrible act, he is presumably highly thought of in the community and his wife states that he is a great father when asked.
But Rollins has got to be the most easily led man I’ve ever seen. Jude just has to suggest things and John decides he has to take this new neighbours advice. It’s no wonder that things get so badly out of hand.
Everything that happens in the film is signposted and you are not surprised by the film’s ending. But these signposts are not clever and the action of the characters does not ring true. At one point, John catches Jude’s wife Miranda (Darcy Fowers) stripping to the waist and pouring cold water over her naked breasts.
John then rushes back to the house, grabs his wife and drags her into the bedroom and rapes her. Yep, those actions tell me that leaving church early lets the devil in. Yes sir.
Honestly? This movie is a colossal waste of time and I’m not surprised that it never earned a theatrical release. It has none of the deft touches or trademark scares of the original Pang Brothers film and it smacks of Hollywood greed by attempting to ride on the coattails of the better film.
This is a 2 out of 5 stars for lack of originality and for the sheer stupidity of the plot.
Give this one a miss.
- in love with the dead/danny pang (onderhond.com)
- Scream (1996) (mikesfilmtalk.com)
- Stitches (2012) Low Budget Clown Horror (mikesfilmtalk.com)
- Bruce Campbell on Horror Films and Great Filmmaking (geektyrant.com)
- The EVIL DEAD Remake Was Insanely Awesome! (geektyrant.com)
- sleepwalker/oxide pang (onderhond.com)