Just out on DVD from Metrodome is this British supernatural thriller that has been called a grimmer, grittier version of THE SIXTH SENSE.
Jack (Robert Sheehan) suffered a trauma in his childhood that means he can now see ghosts of the recently deceased. They can also see him, and more importantly they can communicate. Perhaps needless to say, all they want is for him to convey a message to their recently-bereaved loved ones. Understandably, said loved ones tend to be unimpressed when someone they have never met turns up at the funeral to ‘pass on a message from a ghost’. Getting repeatedly beaten up and constantly harassed by the recently dead has not been good for Jack’s state of mind, and it’s just possible that everything he believes he is seeing is in his head anyway. When he’s contacted by Mark (Jack Fox) the dead lover of a television celebrity (Tamzin Merchant), Jack finds himself drawn into a case that looks initially like suicide but might turn out to be murder.
The best thing to call THE MESSENGER is a supernatural thriller. There are ghosts, but there are no shocks, very little blood, and nothing in the way of out and out horror. What we do get is a well-acted, thoughtful, sympathetic drama about not just the divisions between this world and the next, but the divisions that exist in society as well. Robert Sheehan is excellent as Jack, the tortured soul who can't keep the ghosts out of his head, and he’s ably supported by Lily Cole as his sister, and a reliably gruff performance by David O’Hara as the police inspector investigating Mark’s death. Joely Richardson pops in as well for a turn as Jack’s psychiatrist. It’s all top quality drama, filmed with a gritty, cold and at times highly imaginative feel by director David Blair.Metrodome’s DVD comes with featurette interviews with eight of the cast members (including Sheehan, Cole and Richardson) as well as David Blair.
THE MESSENGER is a thoughtful, subtle, quite sublime ghost story, and is just the sort of thing to show to someone who ‘doesn’t like horror films’ so they can see the kind of maturity the genre is capable of.
THE MESSENGER was released on Region 2 DVD by Metrodome on 2nd November 2015