Review of "Mothman Prophecies, The"

published 16/07/2017 | CelticSoulSister
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Good
Pro Well-acted, interesting concept
Cons Intrusive music, film too long, misplaced focus, poor special effects
exceptional
Did you enjoy it?
Story
Characters / Performances
Special Effects
Soundtrack

"Lepidoptera phantasmia!"

RELEASED: 2002, Cert. 12

RUNNING TIME: 1hr 59mins

DIRECTOR: Mark Pellington

SCREENPLAY: Richard Hatem

PRODUCERS: Gary Lucchesi & Tom Rosenberg

MUSIC: tomandandy

MAIN CAST:-

Richard Gere as John Klein
Laura Linney as Connie
Will Patton as Gordon Smallwood

(also features many other cast members portraying less significant characters such as Alan Bates as Alexander Leek)

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FILM ONLY REVIEW

Pleased with having bought a new house, John and Mary Klein are driving along a road at night when Mary, who is at the wheel, sees a mysterious figure which causes her to swerve the car and crash. Mary ends up injured and in hospital, where it is determined that she has a rare kind of brain tumour which was present before the accident. Mary dies and John is devastated, but also concerned to discover that just prior to her death, she’d been drawing strange pictures of disturbing, huge moth-like creatures.

Two years later a still grieving John, who works as a journalist for the Washington Post, is driving to a location where he is to make a report on something, but he strangely and without explanation finds himself in Point Pleasant, a small West Virginian backwoods town. John has no idea how he arrived at Point Pleasant and is disturbed to find that odd things are happening in the tiny community, which may be connected to his late wife.

Gordon Smallwood, at first unforthcoming with information, reveals that he has been seeing a moth-like creature for some time and that this creature warns him of forthcoming disasters. After their initial uneasiness with one another, John and Gordon form a friendship of sorts, whereby Gordon nervously provides information which causes John to delve even further into the strange happenings in Point Pleasant, largely revolving around huge, portent-bearing entities that resemble huge moths.

Both watched and assisted by Connie who is the local policewoman, John becomes increasingly worried to the point of paranoia as he discovers more about the moth creatures and what, if any, connection they have to his dead wife.

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Apparently (and I’d guess very loosely) based on a true story, The Mothman Prophecies is a sort of a sci-fi tinged mild horror film I decided to try out as I’d heard very good reports on it.

I found the initial part of The Mothman Prophecies easy to get into, covering the car accident which happy couple John and his wife have just after buying a new house, then onto her death when it is revealed by a member of the hospital staff that she’d been drawing pictures of eerie, moth-like creatures. That introduction drew me in quite well, but my concentration levels were disturbed by the loud, intrusive musical score which is electronic in content and continued at this level – plus higher here and there – throughout the film.

As the storyline progressed, I can’t say that I felt particularly involved or even intrigued, but for me the acting was more than acceptable. I’m not in the usual way the world’s greatest fan of Richard Gere, but he gives a decent performance here, adopting many suitable facial expressions appropriate to a man who desperately misses his dead wife plus who is becoming fearful and paranoid as he uncovers a huge mystery in a small backwoods West Virginian community…..Laura Linney is fine as Connie, the local cop, but although there was nothing wrong with her output, it didn’t move me in any way.

However, my favourite actor (the whole cast giving decent performances) turned out to be Will Patton as Gordon Smallwood, a watchful yet humble man who at first is suspicious of John’s presence in the small town, yet gradually opens up to him, sharing his own experiences with the strange moth-creature plus his fearful uneasiness as to what its presence predicts for not just Point Pleasant, but surrounding areas.

It was quite interesting to observe John’s grief laced with his lapse into a borderline paranoid state as he gradually uncovers and worries about becoming a victim of The Mothman’s powers/antics. However, I would have liked to see more of a connection between John and Connie, although the scenes involving John’s and Gordon’s interaction for me formed one of the more interesting parts of this film.

Whilst watching, I felt my brain being bludgeoned by the much too loud, highly intrusive musical score….some of which is moderately tuneful, but most being electronic noises. This music really needed to be toned down and pushed far into the background, in order to blend in with the storyline and dialogue rather than completely overtake the proceedings. For me, music to a film should be an atmosphere enhancer – no more. Each time I tried hard to concentrate on a couple of the more subtle aspects of the storyline of The Mothman Prophecies, the music overtook and filled my mind to the point where I could focus on little else.

The concept of The Mothman as an entity and what it both can and can’t do is quite an interesting one, but I felt this wasn’t pushed forward enough, it largely being represented by some borderline stupid special effects. I do feel with the technology available for film-making at the time The Mothman Prophecies was made, something much more convincing and startling could have been created. If the makers of the film weren’t able to come up with something more imaginative, I’d have preferred the scenes involving The Mothman to be presented in a fleeting, subtle way as skilfully handled, such could have greatly increased the creep-factor and aspects of the story which are intended to be disturbing.

I did feel there to be some quite sizeable stretches within The Mothman Prophecies that are boring and coupling those stretches with the highly invasive music, I found my attention drifting away quite a lot of the time whilst watching. I didn’t lose track of the storyline as it isn’t difficult to follow, but I wanted to hurry the whole thing up as in addition, I felt that too much time was spent on insignificancies rather than delving more deeply into the paranormal (if it is in fact supposed to be paranormal) entity content.

Something happens towards the end of The Mothman Prophecies which for me could have been handled a lot better than it has been, and this incident left me unimpressed, unexcited and rather flat – it coming across as a letdown rather than what it should have been….e.g. an impressive situation that makes a viewer gasp in fear, horror or whatever other emotion it may evoke, but it didn’t do anything for me at all.

The Mothman Prophecies for me is one of these films which does have some good things to offer, e.g. the general concept of the storyline plus much of the acting (particularly that from Will Patton as Gordon Smallwood), but overall I felt it to be too long, with mis-placed focus and the pounding music almost completely drowning everything else out. Also, I felt the special effects to be particularly unimpressive. Such is a shame, because I feel that handled differently, The Mothman Prophecies could be an extremely good and gripping film, but it left me rather cold.

However, I don’t want this to be a film that I’d completely slate as it does have its merits and I was able to watch until the end even if my attention did drift from time to time. I’m not sorry I’ve now seen The Mothman Prophecies although this for me is a once only viewing situation (e.g. I don’t want to see it again) and as for my recommendation, well I’d rest in the middle as I can imagine quite a few people feeling similarly to the film as I do, but on the other hand I’d hazard a guess that it could have wide appeal and many people would be impressed.

I guess overall The Mothman Prophecies is a film together with its storyline that has enormous potential, but for me in this instance it wasn’t properly or effectively tapped – the makers tried, but maybe they needed to shift the areas of what they put the main focus onto. Also, the music really needs dubbing right down into something subtle, plus the special effects do need some serious work.

I will award three stars to reflect the mixture of good and not so good in The Mothman Prophecies plus the likely appeal it would have for quite a lot of people, but at the end of the day it didn’t impress me as much as I was expecting.

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At the time of writing and on Amazon, you can expect to pay up to £21.90 for a new DVD of The Mothman Prophecies and up to £1.98 for a used copy. The standard delivery charges apply, although often postage is free within the UK.

Thanks for reading!

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Comments on this review

  • euphie published 19/07/2017
    e :o)
  • justarube published 19/07/2017
    Great reviiew
  • kiss_me2070 published 17/07/2017
    Good review.
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