The Messengers

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
The Messengers Movie Poster Image
Creepy haunted house flick is nothing new.
  • PG-13
  • 2007
  • 84 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 32 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

References to Jess' previous "mistakes" (meaning her drinking and driving, which led to a car accident that injured her brother); murdered previous house owners seek revenge; parents don't believe their daughter's reports of haunting (she worries that she's going crazy).


Scary movie stuff: ghosts move quickly and make crackly noises, shadows loom, a house has creaky floors (and, in the cellar, a floor that turns into something like quicksand, with hands that reach out at grab at victims); lots of dark places, lots of close-ups with blurry, shawdowy threats in the near background; crows attack people several times, leaving them bloodied; farmer shoots his gun at the crows; family members are attacked by father with a pitchfork; attacks lead to screaming and falling; house sometimes shakes, walls collapse, pitchfork spikes slice through walls, ghosts appear through walls and under floors.


Parents joke about sex (he says he's going to do "new things" to her, he's been reading the "Farmer Sutra") and kiss and embrace in the kitchen.


Minor language, including "hell," "s--t," "son of a bitch," and several instances of "damn it."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Reference to Jess' drinking and dirving in back in Chicago.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that teens who like ghost stories may well want to see this latest creepy-scary horror film. It includes frequent jump scenes (big noises, sudden movements on screen), and its premise is based on the long-ago murder of a family. Early scenes indicate the killings with spatters of blood, rough camerawork, loud booms, and screaming. Later, gray-faced, long-limbed ghosts grab at the main character's head and ankles, and viewers see glimpses of ghosts in the walls and under floors and repeated scenes of crows flying, perching, and attacking. Violence is usually insinuated by fast editing and close-ups, though the bloody effects are visible. Minor language includes "damn," "s--t," and "hell." The movie's most disturbing theme has the parents disbelieving and distrusting their daughter, although viewers know she's right.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTV-14-DLSV Teen Boy April 2, 2012

The Messengers is Decent

The Messengers is a Decent scary movie. PG-13. I Give The Messengers 2 out of 5 stars and I RATE The Messengers AGE: 14. My Sister likes The Messengers. I T... Continue reading
Parent of a 12-year-old Written bymoveluver101 September 7, 2009

perfect for mature kids and kids who don't scare easily

I think it is a good movie for mature kids and kids who aren't scared easily it is a thriller/horror that for my daughter just keeps her watching and she l... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bymoviemaniac21 April 4, 2021

clean but has lots of plot holes

cheesy horror movie but a good mystery/crime movie. little violence, language, sexual content, and drugs.
Kid, 12 years old May 26, 2014

pretty good for horror movie fans

i liked the movie, there is no nudity but there is in messengers 2. there is some jump out parts, some disturbing images. it is dark and spooky kind of but ok... Continue reading

What's the story?

At the center of THE MESSENGERS is Jess (Kristen Stewart), a teenager whose parents can't forget that she was responsible for a car accident that injured her baby brother. The family moves into a rural farmhouse to try to put their lives back together. Their new home is spooky, which increases Jess' feelings of anxiety and isolation. Meanwhile, mom Denise (Penelope Ann Miller), dotes on little Ben while dad Roy (Dylan McDermott), spends his days working outdoors. Only Jess and Ben can see the ghosts in the house, and Jess promises Ben she'll never to let anything happen to him. When their parents go out for a night, the place erupts in supernatural fury. But by the time the cops arrive and the parents get home, the house is set right and the adults think that Jess is seeking attention. Jess' relationship to the house is exacerbated by the arrival of shotgun-toting vagabond John (John Corbett), actually listens to Jess when she describes the creepy goings-on. "I know," he mumbles sagely, "that people sometimes, especially parents, don't know how to listen."

Is it any good?

Another scary house movie, another family in crisis. Directors Oxide and Danny Pang made The Eye, among other films, which helped establish the genre's scratched-looking digital effects and moody haunting – the ghosts' faces are grey and pained, their movements scuttling in the usual J-horror way.

There are repeated opportunities for Jess to look afraid: her face half-obscured by shadows, her eye held in oppressive close-up, her willowy figure silhouetted at the top of the cellar stairs. Windows, doorframes, and cracks in doors and floors create internal frames that confine her, even as she and Ben peer beyond the camera, seeking to know what's watching them and so plainly means to hurt them. "What do you want from me?" she cries out when walking through the especially dark, huge barn. But The Messengers doesn't ever reveal what the house wants from her. In fact, it doesn't say much about anything that's new.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of ghost stories. Why is the idea of supernatural hauntings so popular in movies and other media? Do you believe in ghosts? Do you think they'd behave like the ones in this movie? Families can also talk about Jess' relationship with her parents. How does the movie show that they can't get past her mistake back in Chicago? How does that affect their current relationship? How does Jess cope with their suspicions? Are there better ways that they could deal with their issues?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate