Review of "Mothman Prophecies, The"

published 04/01/2003 | utero
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"Moth To A Flame"

Horror films can come in many different forms, most of the time you'll associate the genre with a crazed madman or supernatural being intent on tearing up the screen with some slasher style carnage. However in recent years there has also been an increase in the subtle horror film, the kind that actually have a degree of intelligence and create a mood to spook rather than just jolt with obvious jumps and scares.

The Mothman Prophecies is such a film that can be compared to the likes of The Sixth Sense, it's themes are more supernatural and spiritual and therefore require the viewer to have a lot more restraint and patience than usual.

The film is based on true events that have gone down in urban legend. The events in question occurred between November 1966 and December 1967 in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Richard Gere plays John Klein, a reporter who loses his wife after a car accident uncovers a tumor. His wife's last days were spent in a hospital where she fills a notebook full of drawings depicting a strange creature. Two years later and Klein finds himself in Point Pleasant although he can't quite figure out how he got there. Whilst in town Klein meets the local police sherrif Connie Parker (Laura Linney) and hears stories of how the locals have put in reports of a mysterious moth-like creature. Soon Klein is investigating the story and is given reason to believe that somehow his appearance in Point Pleasant was not by chance.

I've read reviews about this film that dismiss it as an over-long episode of The X-Files. I remeber Johnathan Ross slating the film purely because there was no Mothman in sight and he expected a chilling special effect of a winged creature to appear. Well Mr Ross go back to those Adam Sandler comedies that you rate so highly. I would agree that this film is paced very slowly but I didn't find it a problem. Director Mark Pellington creates a mood that slowly draws you into the mystery and eats away at your mind. The possibility of perhaps seeing this mothman creature is always apparant throughout the film but I was always waiting to see where the movie would go. Thankfully it doesn't go down the road of turning into a creature movie. This is a film that requires some thougt and the way it is shot gives you little glimpses where you think that you've seen the mothman.......if it even exists.

Gere is great in the lead role, as the film progresses I found myself wondering if this was a portrait of a man depresssion over losing his wife or not. Linney as well is also solid and there is an impressive supporting turn from Will Patton as a troubled member of the community. The film is very well shot and Pellington seems to be a director to look out for after this and his first feature Arlington Road, both of the films have made me think and that's what good movies do.

If you can keep with the slow burning pace of the film then you'll be rewarded with a thrilling climax that makes the two hours very worthwhile indeed.

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Comments on this review

  • JVL published 08/01/2003
    Good op - I saw this film a little while ago, and it wasn't at all what I was expecting. Well worth watching though...
  • Baywatch_Fan2002 published 04/01/2003
    Good op! I saw this at the cinema and it scared the life out of me, then I saw it at on DVD at home and it didnt scare me at all, perhaps because the screen was smaller so the action bits didnt flash as much
  • Sarccyslayer published 04/01/2003
    This is right up my street...off to amazon i go....
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