The Messengers parents guide

The Messengers Parent Guide

Overall C-

Life on a North Dakota sunflower farm turns out to be anything but serene and peaceful for the Solomon family when teenaged Jess (Kristen Stewart) and her little brother (Evan and Theodore Turner) begin seeing ominous apparitions--that appear to be invisible to adults.

Release date February 1, 2007

Violence C-
Sexual Content A-
Profanity C
Substance Use A-

Why is The Messengers rated PG-13? The MPAA rated The Messengers PG-13 for mature thematic material, disturbing violence and terror

Run Time: 90 minutes

Parent Movie Review

The Messengers is loaded with all the typical bits and pieces necessary for a classic horror film—an abandoned farmhouse, a flock of cackling crows and plenty of creepy images darting here and there.

Years after a multiple massacre takes place in the old, deserted two-storey, a carload of new inhabitants pulls into the driveway. The Chicago family (who knows nothing about the murders) is moving to the remote North Dakota farm to plant a sunflower crop. Their young son Ben (Evan and Theodore Turner) seems content to be transplanted, but their sullen teenage daughter Jess (Kristen Stewart), is sulking because she’s been ripped from her friends in the big city and deposited in the middle of nowhere she wants to be.

From the minute Jess enters the musty, old house she senses the sinister shadows and disembodied voices that haunt the hallways. Going out to the barn or down to the cellar also prove to be a nightmarish experience for the girl who has disturbing visits from dead people clawing and grasping at her with their pale, veined arms.

While Ben is able to see these apparitions as well, the adults can’t. And of course, no one over the age of twenty is ready to believe the troubled sixteen-year-old’s wild stories about ghostly manifestations. In fact, her assertions only inflame the lack of trust her parents (Dylan McDermott, Penelope Ann Miller) have in their unhappy daughter. And even a seemingly understanding homeless handyman (John Corbett), who shows up on the farm looking for work, doesn’t appear to believe everything he hears about the paranormal activity that troubles Jess.

Mixing realistic scenarios with ghoulish appearances, the script scrapes up just enough storyline to string together a series of jump scenes. Relying on sudden appearances, scurrying characters and the ominous feeling of someone watching your back, the best scares in this movie come from what the audience doesn’t see. Despite the fact that the film includes its share of gore, it doesn’t focus solely on the decaying souls of the slaughtered family.

Still, these phantoms that follow Jess as she wanders around a dark house in the middle of the night are hardly family friendly. And though the spine-chilling sound effects, menacing musical score and agitated crows are all ploys that have been used before, they may still be upsetting enough to cause young viewers to crawl into their parents’ bedroom for a message of reassurance.

Starring Dylan McDermontt, Penelope Ann Miller, John Corbett, Kristen Stewart. Running time: 90 minutes. Theatrical release February 1, 2007. Updated

The Messengers
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Messengers rated PG-13? The Messengers is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for mature thematic material, disturbing violence and terror

The film opens with the death of a woman and two children, one of who whimpers in a dark, cupboard before being dragged out by an unseen being. Abandoned farm implements and even tractors take on an ominous aura as a new family moves into the empty farmhouse. There are plenty of jump scenes caused by creaky floors, ill-omened forays into dark buildings and foreboding music. Doors, furniture and other household objects move on their own. The gory ghosts of the deceased family members scurry around the house and try to pull living characters into the cellar. Outside of the house, a flock of crows repeatedly attack the humans while inside a crazed figure attempts to kill others with a pitchfork. After a fierce struggle a man drowns in sewage-like liquid. The script also includes some infrequent vulgarities, a revelation about a drunk driving accident and brief sexual comments made by a married couple.

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More parents' guide for The Messengers after the break...

The Messengers Parents' Guide

Because of a past incident, Jess and her parents have some communication issues. How does this factor emphasize her sense of isolation when she begins to see things at the farmhouse? How can trust be reestablished once it has been broken?

What formulaic things does the director use to set up the horror scenario? Why is a remote location often a factor in this kind of film? Could this same thing happen as effectively in the middle of a big city?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of The Messengers movie is June 4, 2007. Here are some details…

DVD Release Date: 5 June 2007

All the secrets are revealed with the DVD release of The Messengers. Actress Kristen Stewart provides an audio commentary, while seven featurettes take you behind the scenes. The later include: Pang Vision, Script Evolution, Constructing the Set, Kristen Stewart—Rising Star, John Corbett -Unexpected Villain, Meet the Crows and Exploring Visual Effects. Besides the DVD format, The Messengers is also available in Blu-ray and Sony Playstation Portable (PSP) presentations.

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Children also have an uncanny ability to see things that adults can’t in The Sixth Sense. John Corbett (who plays the handyman) takes an entirely different role as a pastor in the romantic comedy Raising Helen.