Messengers 2 is a straight-to-vid horror film, ostensibly a sequel.
Given that definition as your preamble, the quality is about what you
would expect, or maybe a bit better. Nothin' special.
On the other hand, the story behind
the film's origin is quite interesting. This same script was submitted
years ago as the basis for The Messengers, but by the time that project
was completed, the script had been rewritten so many times that the final
film was completely unrecognizable. Therefore, the original script was
still available to be made into another film that would not seem to be a
remake. That is this very film. Not only is it not a remake, but it
doesn't seem like a prequel or a sequel to the other film either, despite
the title, because just about the only thing it has in common with its
predecessor is some common characters. For various reasons, the incidents
in Messengers 2 could not have happened either before or after the events
in The Messengers.
Norman Reedus stars as a corn farmer who is really down on his luck.
His banker says that the bank will foreclose if he can't deliver his
current crop, but he needs to water his fields in order to salvage the
corn, and he can't afford to replace his broken water pump. The bank won't
lend him the money for the water pump because they want him to fail and
get foreclosed. They have a buyer for the property. The farmer's problems
are further compounded by repeated foraging from a large and particularly
predatory flock of crows.
The farmer is about to abandon hope when he finds a terrifying old
scarecrow behind a hidden door in his barn. The scarecrow looks like a
decaying corpse so the farmer is repelled by it, but he nails it up in his
field anyway, mostly because he figures he has nothing left to lose.
His luck suddenly takes a turn for the better. The crows all die off.
The old water pump mysteriously starts working. The sleazy banker is soon
run over by a truck, and the farmer's other enemies start to die off.
Meanwhile, the farmer's own behavior shows ever-increasing indications of
insanity. We are led to believe that he is committing the crimes, but he
keeps insisting that the murderer is his rotting scarecrow.
This film works up a pretty nifty little mystery involving the farmer's
erratic behavior and the deaths of his enemies. Some of the scenes are
chilling and ominous, while other scenes include some good "boo" scares.
Toward the end of the film we are led to believe that he has begun to
consider his family to be among his enemies and will therefore add them to
his victim list. All in all, it plays out like The Shining, except that
the events happen on an isolated farm instead of the isolated Overlook
Hotel. In fact, some scenes may make the film seem too similar to The
Shining, especially a "here's Johnny" moment, but the derivative
familiarity doesn't seem irritating because Messengers 2 delivers some
genuinely scary moments. I'm willing to call it a homage to The Shining
rather than a rip-off.
Unfortunately, there's some bad news. The script just doesn't make a
lot of sense.
Although all the other (non-supernatural) characters in the film are
convinced that the farmer has gone Jack Torrance on them, it eventually
turns out that the farmer has not committed the murders. He has been
telling the truth and the crimes really were committed by a giant
scarecrow. In one sense that had to be the explanation all along, because
if the farmer had been the murderer, what could explain thousands of dead
crows, the miraculous water pump, and a supernatural overnight turnaround
in the crops? And yet the farmer is also shown to be insane. We have seen
with our own eyes how he, in true Torrance style, talks to people who turn
out not to be there. His wife has also seen this, and has seen him claim
that his ordinary, dog-eared, and image-free family bible is actually a
book of black magic, complete with scarecrow illustrations.
Moreover, the powers of the scarecrow are inconsistent from scene to
scene. At times he seems omnipotent and immortal, but at other times he
can easily be pushed under a tractor. And if burning him to ashes didn't
work in the middle of the film, how can he later be killed by merely
getting run over by a farm vehicle?
And why did the wife just return to the farmer's arms at the end, as if
the scarecrow's guilt somehow meant that she hadn't just seen her husband
talking to non-existent neighbors and doing other crazy things.
The author of this script needed to decide beforehand who caused the
deaths - farmer or scarecrow - and he then needed to make sure that all
the details meshed with that eventual solution throughout the preceding
exposition. If his answer was "scarecrow," he needed to figure out
precisely how powerful the scarecrow was, then to maintain that level of
power throughout. As the film stands now, it seems that the screenwriter
didn't really know the identity of the murderer until he actually got to
that moment in the script - and he then discovered that Torrance wasn't to
blame, right along with the rest of us, right there in the last minutes of
The Rural Shining.