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The Messengers

Imagine Oklahoma! done as an tuneless pastoral spook show
By JUSTINE ELIAS  |  February 7, 2007
1.5 1.5 Stars


Twin directors Danny Pang and Oxide Pang Chun explored the supernatural downside of cornea transplants in The Eye; in their first non–Hong Kong horror movie, they unearth ghosts of the Northern Plains with stylish but unfrightening results. Imagine Oklahoma! done as an tuneless pastoral spook show. In place of corn, droopy sunflowers grow as low as an elephant’s shin — trouble for a family of city folk turned Dakota homesteaders as well as for the story’s poorly hidden phantoms, who crouch beneath the bad harvest. As farmer dad Roy (Dylan McDermott) sits astride his tractor, a sinister stranger emerges from the golden haze: virile, shotgun-toting hired man Burwell (John Corbett). Only dark-dreaming teenage daughter Jess (Kristen Stewart) and her toddler brother, Ben (Evan and Theodore Turner), perceive a threat. Wearing a “Sweet & Toxic” T-shirt, Jess is raring to confront the knee-high source of her anxiety. Too bad the juju jolts get too silly and muddled, way too soon, to afford her that chance.

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