Coming to DVD Tuesday, July 21st
Norman Reedus as Rollins
Heather Stephens as Mary
Claire Holt as Lindsey
Richard Riehle as Jude
Directed by Martin Barnewitz
A DVD sequel to a not-exactly-beloved original is a prime opportunity to remedy the problems in the first and have a little fun. The Messengers was not exactly beloved. After an OK opening weekend it faded away quickly, and rightfully so. Itâs a generic and dull effort. Messengers 2: The Scarecrow should have been much more entertaining than it is. The final product is nearly as pedestrian as its predecessor. The phrase “much ado about nothing” comes to mind. It builds and builds and builds to an inadequate payoff.
While you might think this is a horror movie, the end result doesnât really resemble one. It plays out more like a psychological drama with a few random horror elements thrown in for good measure. Sadly none of it is very compelling. Horror vet Norman Reedus plays John Rollins, a farmer who has fallen on hard times. Crows are destroying his crops, he is in danger of losing his farm and his marriage is in trouble. A man of faith, Rollins is losing his a little bit at a time.
A potential savior shows up in the form of a decrepit scarecrow. After putting it up, Rollins soon discovers dead crows and replenished crops. Something is not right though. He begins hearing and seeing things, including a girl who clearly is no longer among the living. Making matters worse is the mysterious deaths of people who in one way or another meant Rollins harm. Could the scarecrow be behind the girl and the deaths?
Technically a prequel, though overall that fact seems fairly irrelevant, Messengers 2 is too lifeless. It plods along and then ends right as it gets mildly interesting. For well over an hour nothing much happens. There are three deaths, with one occurring before the credits (itâs basically filler) and one off screen. There is no gore and very little blood, which wouldnât be such a big deal if the drama worked even a little. It does not. The scenes between Rollins and his wife, Mary (Heather Stephens), are awkward and obvious. He is distant, he doesnât put his family first, he is losing his mind, etc. Some odd tonal shifts in the middle of their bickering makes matters worse.
A better lead might have made the movie more tolerable, but Reedus is simply awful. He lacks the charisma required of someone in essentially every scene and delivers nearly every line in a lethargic way. Not for one second is he convincing as either a farmer or a husband and father in distress.
During what turns out to be the final minutes, the titular scarecrow finally emerges. By then it is too little and too late. The design, resembling a withered corpse, is uninspired and not frightening. Plus, the creature poses little threat and doesnât get to do much. A scarecrow rampage of some kind would have livened up the proceedings a tad. It wasnât meant to be. This is an all-around phoned in effort, a competently made but unsatisfying horror flick with far too little horror. Even a DVD sequel shouldnât be such a bore.