Red dumb

“The Messengers”Columbia PicturesDirected by the Pang BrothersWritten by Mark WheatonStarring: Kristen Stewart, Dylan McDermott, Penelope Ann Miller and John CorbettRated PG-13/84 minutesOpened Feb. 2, 2007Two out of four stars

The following real-estate ad was originally featured in The North Dakota Herald, submitted by an eerie wisp of ghostly, revenge-seeking vapor that identified itself only as “Grrroooaann.”

For clarity’s sake, this ad could also be considered a review of the movie “The Messengers,” in case you were desperately looking for one.

Do you love wide, open spaces and a gorgeous view of the rolling, North Dakota mountains? Are you looking to transplant your soon-to-be-resentful family from their comfortable city life to a lonesome life of plowing fields far, far away from anyone who could hear them scream? Are you just plain asking for it?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then do we have a house for you! Located dozens of miles from the nearest town–but centrally located in the deepest, darkest, most despairing pit of the supernatural–is a lovely fixer-upper. Don’t mind the snaking ivy and foreboding crows that cling to the outside of the house like a death shroud–the inside will delight your inner Vincent Price! Perfect for an unsuspecting family of four, which might include a father (Dylan McDermott), a mother (Penelope Ann Miller), a rebellious teenage daughter (Kristen Stewart) and a 2-year-old boy (Evan and Theodore Turner) with a talent for seeing angry specters.

Such a talent might come in handy, what with all the strange noises and doors that open of their own accord in your new home. Your rebellious teenage daughter may even claim to see ghosts–the rotting, wheezing, gray-skinned ghosts of a mother and her two children who were brutally murdered by her whacked-off-his-gourd husband–but your duty as a good parent is to simply ignore her terrified state. After all, your daughter’s probably just having nightmares about some stupid horror movie she watched the night before, like “The Grudge,” which has a plot that sounds awfully identical to what she claims to have seen.

This house of the damned also comes complete with a wandering mountain man (John Corbett) who will lend a hand with the farm work, but shouldn’t be readily trusted–unless you’re a moron. Are you a moron? Morons don’t consider moving into creepy houses in the middle of nowhere with their vulnerable families, so, no, you couldn’t be one. But, gee, that wandering mountain man sure seems to know a lot about the house and the land, doesn’t he? If this were a movie, wouldn’t his convenient appearance be a little–oh, I don’t know–obvious?

If you’re ready to take the plunge into your terror-iffic new life, call the Agitated Apparition Housing Association at 1-800-HAUNTED for a free tour. For those wishing to move overseas, we also offer very similar models in Japan.

“Look, honey, crows-big, nasty, stinky, foreboding crows. Do you think they baby-sit?” Dylan McDermott ignores horror film mechanics in “The Messengers.”