Review of "Mothman Prophecies, The"

published 11/12/2003 | Galien
Member since : 24/03/2003
Reviews : 10
Members who trust : 2
About me :
Pro Genuinely scary, well directed.
Cons A little far fetched for a true story.
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"The Mothman enigma."

I was rooting round bored in the video shop one day when I came across one of those films you see and then forget, the one you mean to watch someday, when you could be bothered.

It was ‘The Mothman Prophecies,’ starring Richard Gere. I’ve heard mixed reports about this. I always approach every film though with an open mind, even those arthouse ones papers like ‘The Guardian’ give ninety stars out of five and says if everyone in the world doesn’t go to see it they will say ‘balderdash’ to modern culture and go to live in a cave somewhere with the collected works of E.M. Forster.

(They're normally are quite good if you give them a chance!)

Well it began slowly, probably even a little boringly. It’s a nice winter afternoon outside, I don’t have to work and I want to be entertained in the warm, comfort of my home. It took a while for things to get started and then things really did begin to happen.

Before long I was utterly hooked. For those that have heard nothing about ‘The Mothman Prophecies,’ here is a slight overview (Don’t worry, no spoilers.) In the small township of Point Pleasant in West Virginia good honest, god fearing folk began to tell tales about seeing a strange, mothlike man who appeared in lights and country roads. People heard voices and received strange phonecalls and down by an old TNT factory- now a lover’s lane –the sightings are at their most frequent. At the beginning of the film we are told that the events are based on a true story. As the plot wound on I became less and less credulous. I knew that even if it had been a true story and the film was overdramatising it a little, it all seemed a bit far fetched.

As a scary film this is genuinely a good one. The scares had me feeling creeped out even as the sun shone outside and my friends were in the room, I found the film drawing me into its intriguing story and scaring me with the shocky, jumpy bits (the staple of any good horror film.)

There is some brilliant moments from director Mark Pellington who, once it gets going, moves the pace effortlessly forward with a nice flair. I liked the way he changed many scenes, like a CAT Scan of Klein’s wife’s brain shows a tumour that fades and turns into lights under an observation deck where Gere’s character is waiting to hear the news. There is a skill in this film from a little known director that I found refreshing and a tone that is consistent and genuinely creepy.

I was a bit sceptical about Richard Gere as the lead, with the tendency to associate him too much with Rom-com Chick Flics like ‘Pretty Woman’ and ‘Autumn in New York’ –I wouldn’t even write about the latter because I don’t think Ciao would allow me to give minus stars. In ‘The Mothman Prophecies’ he goes back to the more searching, curious character of films like ‘Primal Fear.’ And he does it well, for all the grief given to him the man can act when he wants to. He stalks through this film looking genuinely haunted and you can almost feel the need he has to find out the answers.

He is well supported by Laura Linney playing police woman Connie Parker. I loved the way that her character was really scared by the strange goings on and looked really troubled in the film, not fully willing to accept that these things were really happening. I think its refreshing to see a character who doesn’t accept that voices come out of sinks every day: ‘that kind of thing just happens in movie land folks, if we sat round thinking about it all day nothing would get done.’ Her character proves that you can put a bit of humanity into an unnatural storyline.

The film picks up pace and moves to a brilliantly shot conclusion that will leave you thinking, ‘no way, that didn’t really happen.’

Well, I thought the same and afterwards I went and checked out the real story on (where else) the Internet. And….their story checks out!! These events did seem to take place, though at the end of the sixties whereas this film brings everything forward to a more modern setting. A lot of the events though have been based on the book ‘The Mothman Prophecies,’ by John A. Keel.

Keel was a writer obsessed with the paranormal and conspiracy theories, he claims in the book to have been harassed by Men in Black and links many of the occurrences in the Mothman Prophecies to strange blokes in black cars running about town. I would take a lot of what he says with a pinch of paranoid salt but still this story stuck in my head, what really did happen at Point Pleasant around that time.

This is a good film, not great by any standards, but one with a good story, good acting and enough intrigue to last just a little longer than the rolling end credits.

Directed by
Mark Pellington

Writing credits
John A. Keel (novel)
Richard Hatem (screenplay)


Richard Gere………….John Klein.
Laura Linney……….Connie Parker.
Will Patton……….Gordon Smallwood.
Debra Messing……..Mary Klein.

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Comments on this review

  • super_stevo published 08/01/2004
    I thought it started off very slow but for some reason i found it creepy near the end and it takes a lot for me to get like that. Its just it the fact that its supposed to be a true story where people have atually supposed to have seen something like this that actually makes your heart beat faster.Great review mate,stevo!!
  • Mickie26 published 28/12/2003
    I had to stop this film because it was too scary. Well.. My husband and I kept stopping and pausing the pictures then moving them on slowly if you know what I mean? If you do this you see the mothman in tree's and walls everywhere. You have to look really closely also in the bit where she's in the car and a red dot comes smashing into the windscreen if you stop this bit and play it on pause really slowly you can see the mothman. Hope that makes sense? Good op.
  • ruth_cole published 23/12/2003
    Can I watch this AND go and live in a cave somewhere with the collected works of E.M. Forster? Great op! Alex xxx
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Listed on Ciao since: 27/03/2002