Review of "Mothman Prophecies, The"

published 19/12/2002 | pattiemason
Member since : 25/11/2002
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Pro gripping supernatural thriller
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"Gere Battles Giant Moth"

Well, not quite, but that might be the tabloid headline! The Mothman Prophecies is, as the name suggests, about a large moth/man who appears to predict tragic events. “How ridiculous”, was my initial reaction on reading the blurb about this film, a slightly larger than normal man who looks a bit like a moth? Please, with all the money floating round Hollywood could they really not think of anything a little less storybook horror and a little bit more convincing? So why did I even pick it off the shelf? Well apparently it’s based on true events, and my curiosity got the better of me.

John Klein (Gere) is a Washington Post reporter whose life is turned upside down when his wife dies from a brain tumour shortly after having been involved in a car crash. The words that haunt him, and the viewer, for the rest of the film are spoken by his wife as she lies in hospital “You didn’t see it, did you?” she asks him, referring to a strange giant moth like figure she had glimpsed just before the crash. After her death he discovers her notebook filled with sketches of the same eery looking figure, a mothman.

One night driving from Washington to Richmond in order to interview some politician, his car inexplicably breaks down on the edge of a deserted country road (where else?). The engine cuts out, his mobile phone packs up, and strangely his watch has stopped too. Whilst most normal people would be out of such a place before you could say “Fortean Times”, Gere is soon booked into the local hotel and with the help of the local cop (Laura Linney) trying to get to the bottom of the strange goings on that are taking part in the town. Sightings of the Mothman, weird phone calls, strange hallucinations, people hearing voices. It’s all most disconcerting.
What does it all mean? Is the Mothman warning people? If so what about? How does he predict things? Does he really exist or is it just some sort of collective madness? Is he human or spirit? Good or evil?

The film answers none of these questions, and after a quite spectacular ending cuts to the credits, leaving you a little bit baffled. When it came out it was compared to the X-files and there are certain similarities. The small town spookiness, the very intangible nature of these occurrences, the perpetual half darkness (there never seems to be a sunny day in Point Pleasant), the deserted roads and disused factory out of town. And of course the unanswered questions, when I watch the X-files I often end up thinking “What went on there then?”, and this is the same. But then real life is often like that, there are no neatly packaged solutions and answers to anything, except crosswords.

I started off sceptical about this film, but I was surprised by how gripping it was. Watch it with an open mind and then sleep with the lights on.

Running time: 119 minutes

Director: Mark Pellington (Arlington Road)

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Comments on this review

  • JVL published 09/01/2003
    I was pleasantly surprised by this film, it wasn't at all what I was expecting... well worth watching.
  • ndf9876 published 19/12/2002
    That op has answered a few questions I had about the film - looks like it might be one to watch. At least it does leave you with unanswered questions - unlike the X-Files movie which, I thought, spelt it out nicely to even the sleepiest cinema-goer.
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