Review of "Mothman Prophecies, The"

published 24/01/2005 | chunlex
Member since : 21/02/2004
Reviews : 17
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About me :
Pro Creepy like you wouldnt believe
Cons Some 2D characters
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"X Files a la David Lynch"

The Mothman Prophecies is a 2002 film based on the book of the same name written by John Keel about the events which unfurled during the year of 1966-7 in the sleepy rural town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Keel has spent forty years chasing aerial lights, big hairy beasties and other freaks and the book covers countless examples of weirdness which makes fascinating reading. The film condenses the many streams in the book down to one - the 'Mothman' a seven foot tall humanoid with bat wings and bright red eyes which scared the bejesus out of the local townsfolk. The 'prophecies' in the film are not covered in great detail, Keel was supposedly in contact with assorted 'space people' who's clairvoyant skills were mixed to say the least. The film glosses over this, focusing on the main protagonist's (unsuccessful) struggle to find out what is going on... It stars Richard Gere as John Klein, a successful political journalist with beautiful wife (Debra Messing) who seemingly has everything until fate intervenes and takes her away from him.

Cut to a year later, Klein has rebuilt his life, the wounds are still healing but his career is still riding high. However, fate conspires against him again, following a late night drive he ends up in Point Pleasant, a town on the Ohio border in the middle of some strange goings on... I wont say any more...

Ever the sucker for a good story, Klein dives in to try to suss out what is going on. The eponymous Mothman makes a showing, it turns out he has a name 'Indrid Cold' and the journo has a telephone chat with him in his motel room (imagine HAL9000 done by David Lynch) - a five minute sequence which is one of the creepiest things I have seen in my life. Amongst the strangeness visited on local folk (late night blinding lights, garden pests which need to be seen to be believed) Klein nearly bumps into his ex-wife who is keen to engineer a reconciliation from the afterlife. Add into this Lara LInney's homely sheriff and you've got a love triangle the likes of which you have never seen before - the Philadelphia story it aint!

Visually the Mothman prophecies is stunning. The soft focus on streetlights and interior building illumination give a sense of un-solidness and evanescence in the characters' surroundings. The run up to the Klein's car accident is suitably dreamlike and unclear, you can tell something is about to happen, behind the scenes forces are conspiring for something to happen for what particular reason is unclear. Mothman can be scene lurking around in the background, slow down one scene in Klein's hotel room and you can see its silhouette disappating in the wardrobe mirror - and he is one creepy looking character. The soundtrack is genuinely creepy, low key accoustic stuff with whispery, barely heard lyrics, something of the order of Angelo Badalementi's offerings on the Twin Peaks soundtrack. The first half of the film is genuinely very creepy, something of the order of Twin Peaks again - forces beyond our understanding getting up to crazy stuff for their own inscrutable motives. You never see the Mothman though, his POV is much like a slo mo out of the Evil Dead movies, slow but relentless and unearthly.

Where does the film have its' shortcomings? Well the supporting cast are a little flat, they just exist to encourage the plot along - you feel very little empathy with them. The farmer who 'welcomes' Klein to the neighbourhood gets an introduction to Mothman and suffers a whole load of problems - the viewer just sees him as a plot device for the Gere character to try to get to the bottom of what happens. There is a happy, if open ended, ending which doesnt do the book justice - Klein simply gives up investigating goings on and gets the girl (sorry to spoil that for you). However if you want a scare, watch it at night, with curtains closed and the lights off you'll be impressed. You wont want to go out along down those dark country lanes at midnight and suchlike but this film will unsettle...

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Comments on this review

  • salem_witch published 25/01/2005
    I loved this as well. I'm going to have to watch it again soon!
  • MUFCboi published 24/01/2005
    absolutely love this film - seriously creepy !
  • martint1983 published 24/01/2005
    Sounds like my kind of film. cheers for the review
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Listed on Ciao since: 27/03/2002