'Messengers 2: The Scarecrow,' 'Skeleton Crew,' 'Bundy'

The sequel bar sinks lower and lower. Why would you make a sequel prequel to a movie our own Scott Weinberg called a "stunningly inert, painfully derivative, shamelessly cheap and aggressively dull ghost story"? I agree with all those points, yet The Messengersmade $50 million worldwide, which is more than enough justification for Messengers 2: Scarecrow, out today on DVD.

The only glimmer of "maybe" lies in writer Todd Farmer, who may not be a poet but knows enough horror cliches to stand a few on their head, as evidenced in his scripts for Jason X and the My Bloody Valentine remake. He got credited for the original story on the first Messengers, and the new one is rated "R" -- for repetition? I hope not. And it is a prequel, rather than a sequel. Norman Reedus stars as a farmer with problems: too many crows, not enough money, and a restless wife. Then he finds a scarecrow in the barn, and things start to improve ... until they get worse. Martin Barnewitz (Room 205) directed.

Shot in an actual operating mental institution in Finland, Skeleton Crew follows an American film crew preparing to make a horror movie ("like Saw or Hostel," the director says), based on a legend that snuff films were made on the grounds by an evil doctor. When they discover the actual snuff footage, the director is inspired to make a much more authentic movie. The trailer looks good, so this could be worth a rental. Written and directed by Finnish filmmakers Tommi Lepola and Tero Molin, but shot in English.

categories Dvds, Horror