Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Let’s start off the review of this movie from the Pang Brothers with a SPOILER – And there are spoilers all up in this review so close the page if you want to be ‘surprised’.  But first, the Pang Brothers need to get on the first plane back to Singapore or Hong Kong or Thailand before they lose all of their cool points to the American Cinema Machine and are no longer taken seriously as filmmakers ever again.  I know these Hollywood cats throw money around likes its nobody’s business, but Danny and Oxide, you got your loot, now go on back home and resume the business of making ‘good’ movies.  So in this remote country house where this film takes place there are ghost coming out the walls, decaying children climbing on the ceilings and biting people, the basement turns into a swamp with decaying hands trying to pull folks into the muck and actually does pull down our crazed insane family killer, who I’m fairly certain only went crazy because he lived in the house in the first place.  And at the end the end of the movie, despite the ghost busting out of the walls and a morphing swamp basement that is still to this day filled with dead people, our movie family STILL CHOOSES TO LIVE THERE!  Does that make any sense to you?  Not to mention the offer to buy the damn house is still on the table.  I know this house is wicked beyond all reasonable belief sweetheart, but I think we can make it work!  It sure didn’t make any damn sense to me.

The Solomon family is in need of a fresh start due to daddy Roy (Dylan McDermott) losing his job as a lawyer on ‘The Practice’ and heads to North Dakota to become sunflower seed farmers.  I’m just telling you what the movie says, and the movie says he’s going to North Dakota to become a sunflower seed farmer.  Along for the ride is mommy Denise (Penelope Ann Miller) baby Ben (twins Evan and Teddy Turner) and

rebellious teen with the bad attitude Jessica (Kristin Stewart).  In a situation that only happens in movies, they drive up to this completely broke down, obviously haunted house and proceed to move in.  The weirdness starts early as baby Ben, and us of course, can apparently see stuff that nobody else can see, and he would tell you about the decaying dead folks but he can’t speak.  We’re assuming whatever Ben is seeing has something to do with the slaughter of the family that used to live there x number of years ago, as this was presented to us in the films opening minutes.  Also making a cameo is William B. ‘The Smoking Man’ Davis as a bank officer with the ability to materialize out of thin air with documents, offering to buy the land, plus 15 percent, that daddy Roy just purchased days ago.  He tells the Smoking Man to go to hell because there’s sunflowers that needs a growing.

Soon Jess, the teen with the bad attitude, starts to realize that baby Ben can see stuff and stuff soon starts making themselves noticeable to Jess too by grabbing her in the basement, tossing her around the crib and wrecking the house, only to make everything totally nice when she runs scared to her disbelieving parents who already hate her rebel ass.  Then there are the crows that are everywhere and attack people for no good reason, and there’s also the wandering migrant Burwell (John Corbett) who ends up working for the family but is way to nice a guy to be up to any kind of good.  Will the mom and dad finally believe Jess that the house is haunted or will they die in a sea disbelieving ignorance.  We should be so lucky.

Who were The Messengers that this movie was about anyway?  Was it the crows?  And what was the message they were trying to deliver?  If you grow sunflower seeds here we will peck you to death?  Also, one second it’s a big old empty field and like in the next scene our sunflower farmer is lording over the biggest bumper crop of sunflowers in the history of North Dakota.  Either indicate the passage of time guys, or let us know that our farmer is working with Ortho Magical Instant Seed Grow.  In another scene Jess is explaining to a local boy that her parents don’t trust her because mom sent her to pick up baby Ben one day and the rebellious teen, who was drunk at the time, picked up the boy and crashed the car which resulted in the boy having a head injury robbing him of his ability to speak.  Then she said “they can’t let it go”.  Asshole parents.  And why is the smoking man appearing out of thin air with documents?  Is he mystical too?  They show a flashback of him appearing out of thin air offering documents to the previous owner too.  So he must be mystical because if he really wanted to buy the house it’s been available for a while, right?  In another scene after the cops arrived just after Jess got attacked by the evil spirits, Burwell, who slaughtered his family a few years back, gave a statement to the cops.  I mean this town is like microscopic so shouldn’t the cops recognize this dude just a little bit as the clown who used to be in this very same house with the dead family oozing from the walls?

There’s was really nothing really good about this movie as it had no suspense, wasn’t scary or creepy, Dylan McDermott and Penelope Ann Miller are to farming just the same as Eddie Albert and Zsa Zsa Gabor are to this honorable vocation, only ‘Green Acres’ was funny.  I thought ‘The Eye’, as directed by the Pang Brothers was a fine film, and the sequel a little less so, but it did have Shu Qi in it so it gets a free pass.  There was nothing in this movie that was unique or special in anyway that warranted importing a pair of directors when there are plenty directors locally who can create crap just like this.  And they are still living in that damn house.

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