Messengers 2: The Scarecrow
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. On the other hand, the story behind the film's origin is kinda 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
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
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.
Darcy Fowers shows off an
excellent body (T&A) as the sexy neighbor who may or may not be there. (The
videos are mine. Pretty good quality. Some samples below were produced by Mr.
Catch the deluxe
version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles,
Sean Young film clips. Samples below
Blue Ice is kind of a forgotten spy story from HBO
films, starring Michael Caine, Sean Young, Bob Hoskins, and Ian Holm. It
was directed by Russell Mulcahy, who is probably best known for having
helmed the cheesy cult hit Highlander, and its widely detested sequel,
Highlander II: the Quickening.
Caine played a retired spy running a jazz club; Young
played the oversexed wife of the American ambassador. They established an
intimate relationship and formed a bond of trust which prompted her to ask
him for a favor on a matter involving the last guy she had an affair with.
Caine then used some old contacts to track the guy down in a flophouse,
but before the men could talk face to face, bodies started piling up
around Caine, including the bodies of some of his friends.
Throughout 95% of the film Caine had no idea what was
going on and, frankly, neither did I, but I know that it involved British
Intelligence, renegade British ex-Intelligence agents, American
Intelligence, and Scotland Yard, and a lack of co-operation between said
parties. I'm not sure how Caine fit into the whole thing, but everyone
kept telling him to stay out of it, which really made no sense because he
never wanted to get involved in it in the first place, and didn't even
know what "it" was. In fact, he would ask, "Stay out of what?" He never
did get a very good answer, but everyone seemed to think that he knew
something about something, so he was regularly beaten and tortured for a
while by people trying to persuade him to "talk."
With a couple of his best friends dead and his own life
in danger, Caine finally decided to fight back, and started evening up the
body count. His pursuit led him to ... well, does it matter? It's
difficult to feel rewarded by the answer when the film never really
explains the question.
Despite the top stars, Blue Ice is a weak "Who knows?
Who cares?" story which was produced for HBO films back when HBO wasn't
yet the top drawer organization that they are today. According to
Citizen Caine, "This was the first film from Michael's own production
company, M&M Productions, which he formed with Martin Bregman. The
intention was to develop projects for Michael Caine to direct and/or star
in. Due to the lack of success of the film, this was also the last film
from M&M Productions."
Oh, well, so the film isn't a world-beater, but it does
have a good cast and offers a few moments of entertainment:
- The pianist/singer at Caine's club is played by the
legendary Bobby Short, and he does snippets of several numbers. That's
either a great treat if you're into his sound, or a complete time-waster
if you're not.
- Sean Young does a nude scene, mostly from the rear,
although a wayward breast does fly by for a second here and a frame
there. She also shows off her long, shapely legs in several short and
- The denouement is a creative chase scene which
meanders through the London docks and involves some odd cargo-hauling
vehicles. It ends with quite an entertaining shoot-out between Ian Holm
and Michael Caine. Holm is carrying an automatic rifle when he is hooked
by a cargo crane, but he is uninjured, so as he spins wildly in mid-air,
he continues to unload round after round in Caine's general direction
until Caine finally gets off a fatal shot with his pistol.
- Bob Hoskins provides some good moments and a couple
of laughs playing his usual role as the tough, seedy, working class guy
who is really kind of nice. I guess Hoskins is sorta like the older,
British version of John Leguizamo.
Oh, yeah. The title ...
According to the script, Blue Ice is the frozen mass
that falls from the blue sky when jet airliners unload the waste material
accumulated in their toilets.
What does that have to do with this movie? Beats the
shit out of me.
And my airliner.
Andrea Ugarte in La Senora
Christina Aguilera - spectacular see-through from 2006
Drea DeMatteo in a bikini
Lady Gaga. That's GOTTA hurt
Jennifer Love Hewitt in The Truth About Love
Katja Herbers in Amsterdam
Marie Vinck and Hilde van Mieghem in Amsterdam