John Rollins is a down on his luck farmer and family man struggling to make ends meet thanks to his poor corn crop at the hands (or rather, beaks) of crows. He and his wife share strong religious values but it’s clear there is some distance between them.
When Rollins’ custom is rejected at the local store thanks to his financial circumstances, he decides to hunt out an old scarecrow from the barn, and that’s when his problems begin. Or rather, that’s when everybody else’s problems begin, because Rollins finds his luck miraculously changing for the better.
So while dead crows are falling from the sky and angry loan sharks are turning up dead, Rollins is finding money in his crop, befriending the neighbours and finding himself able to pay the bills.
This film works in a very A-Z way, according to horror logic. We begin with a mysterious woman being chased through a field before blood splatters and we’re introduced to the main characters. Rollins clearly has issues with his wife and is not being satisfied in the bedroom department, leading him to wander, as all sexually frustrated males inevitably must.
It’s clear from the start that the scarecrow is evil, both because its face is a menacing scowl, and from the insistent way in which a child declares it is “bad news”. So it’s only a matter of time before people start getting picked off and we all know who the killer is. Oh, and on top of that we have the scary little children singing and running in between the corn stalks, caught in glimpses, and constant ‘DUH!’ music when it’s just a friend tapping someone on the shoulder.
It’s also quite clear this film was made by a teenage boy, or at least a man with the mentality of one. A completely nonsensical scene involves a mysterious woman appearing on the farm in broad daylight, whereupon she begins to unbutton her top, take out her breasts and pour bottled water all over them, cooing seductively … for a second you think you’ve purchased a soft-core porn film, it’s that bad. Rollins witnesses this bizarre moment, which gets him all fired up and drives him to near-rape his wife as a means of expressing all that frustrated sexual energy.
On the positive side, the film manages to avoid the dreaded MTV-style fast-cut, and features only a small amount of annoying spinny camera trickery. But really, there is little to say in the positive about Messengers 2.
The central premise of a man’s luck suddenly changing once he erects a spooky scarecrow is quite a decent one, and it feels as if it could have led to a good, enjoyable film. Perhaps if it had cut out all the porn talk and dire ‘sexy’ moments and played up the inherent B-movie-ness of a haunted scarecrow…
Messengers 2: The Scarecrow is out now.