on 19 September 2002
This is a fabulous film. It's based on the true story of a "moth-man" creature seen in various sightings around the world, as a pre-cursor to disaster events. This moth-man appears before the disaster, presenting rather clouded and confusing messages to those he visits. It transpires that these messages are in fact prophecies of the impending disaster.
Richard Gere is very well cast here as the innocent guy caught up in the mystery after his wife dies after a car crash. In the seconds before the crash, his wife "sees" this awful creature lundge at the car. She dies some days later, after doctors discover a brain tumour - which would not have been discovered had it not have been for the crash caused by the moth-man.
Two years later, Richard's character is drawn into the mystery when he takes a drive in his car, only to end up hundreds of miles away from his intended destination in about a quarter of the time it should have taken to get there! He soon learns of sightings of this wierd being whom he recognises as that seen by his wife before her death.
What follows is Richard's attempts to quantify his experiences which are interlinked with an increasing number of sightings in a small American town he is drawn to.
I won't say any more as it will ruin the many twists and turns.
Suffice it to say it's a very well made film with some chilling moments (similar in effect to that famous twist at the end of Sixth Sense). It keeps you on your seat's edge guessing at precisely what is going on and why.
You are still left with questions at the end, but they retain the mystery surrounding what is a true phenomenan.
The final scenes on a river bridge are superb and just when you think you know where the film's going, it takes yet another twist.
Fine acting, a deep and fascinating story line and cleverly directed suspense scenes make this one NOT to miss.
on 4 September 2002
mark pellington's film has many strengths - a surreal atmosphere evoked by sound and light, strong performances from the cast, superb editing and a spine tingling score... but perhaps its strongest point is the films restraint. the film scares well but it doesn't use sudden loud noises, cats jumping into frame or quick editing to do so. instead, pellington builds a sense of dread from the off - something in this world isn't quite right.
richard gere is quite effective in a stoic role - indeed he reigns in a performance free of his usual facial ticks. laura linney is as good as she ever is (which is fine by me) even if her role is a little under written. in a tiny role as gere's wife, debra messing is surprisingly good and will patton gives a strong reading of a man tortured by visions of disaster.
a terrificly subtle movie that lingers in the mind - perhaps one of the best horror movies of the last few years.
on 22 March 2012
The biggest criticism of this film when it was released seemed to be it's inability to answer the questions that it posed; but that's truly the point. Mothman Prophecies comes to the conclusion that we can't truly know about death, when it comes, why, and what happens afterwards, many times throughout it's runtime. And this is a message that's presented quite beautifully, thoughtfully and subtly, the 'Mothman' (as silly as it sounds) acting as an extended metaphor for this. This immediately places the film in a far more intelligent bracket of films than most horror. However, it's not without it's flaws. The performances aren't fantastic - as brilliantly likable as Richard Gere is, his gurning becomes tiresome by the third act, whilst melodrama infects some of the lesser roles. There are also some distracting visual gimmicks - the camera washed red, fastforwarding - that just seem cheap and dated, and provide no real purpose. Overall though, the film will get under your skin, the chills masterfully and quietly excecuted - not only that but it's a horror with something to say. Oh, and it has one hell of a climax.
on 27 February 2004
Richard Gere stars as a reporter, who following the death of his wife a couple of years earlier finds himself inexplicably in a small town having travelled much farther that is realistically possible in the time he'd been on the road. His car appears to have broken down so he calls at the nearest house to phone for assistance only to be accused of having called at the same house at the same time on the previous two evenings. He hears of the sightings or visions of this strange creature nicknamed the mothman and recognises it's description as being the same as a number of doodlings his wife made shortly before her death. The film traces his efforts to get to the bottom of what is going on. It works well because by enlarge you're allowed to decide for yourself whether the mothman exists or whether it is collective hysteria or coincidence.
The Mothman Prophecies is directed by Mark Pellington and adapted to screenplay by Richard Hatem from the the book of the same name written by John Keel. It stars Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Will Patton, Debra Messing and Lucinda Jenney. Music is scored by tomandandy and cinematography is by Fred Murphy. Plot finds Gere as John Klein, who loses his wife to a brain disorder and finds himself two years later on investigating the mysterious Mothman sightings in small town Americana. It is based around actual events that occurred in 1966/7 in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.
Wake up number 37.
This film adaptation has many differences to John Keel's book, so even if you are someone who believes in otherworldly stuff? This is not a definitive account of the Keel investigations into the Mothman legend. However, that is in no way a negative for the film, with Pellington personalising the core characters, film unfolds as a compelling, skin itching experience, boosted no end by Gere and Patton's brilliantly restrained and sincere performances. Mood and imagery is everything here, a weirdness gnaws away throughout, with the director showing a knack for simmering under the surface tension. There's a mid section lull, where elongated chatter bogs things down, but once the eerie Indris Cold enters the fray the blood gets chilled and the film lurches towards its surprisingly exciting finale.
Believe the themes or not, The Mothman Prophecies is still a well thought out and intriguing movie. 8/10
on 28 January 2007
The uneasiness this film precipitates in the viewer is quite enjoyably disturbing! One cannot ascertain if the the forces at work within the story are benign or malignant and this adds to the stress it induces! If you're a fan of 'shock and gore' horror then this film is NOT for you. This is a film that stays with you long after it is over and has one ruminating about the idea of what the Mothman represents
I thoroughly recommend this DVD if you enjoy intellectually-driven horror!
on 24 August 2002
I don't think I've ever been quite so disturbed by a film as I have this one... I'm not sure if it's because I watched it when overtired and late at night, but wow... nothing has ever quite made me feel so paranoid!
The Mothman Prophecies follows Richard Gere as a reporter, who, after his wifes death in a mysterious car accident, suddenly finds himself dragged into the middle of strange goings-on in the town of Point Pleasent, Ohio. Locals are reporting stories of a giant winged man-creature to the police Chief, played by (I think) Laura Linney, their sightings causing ripples of fear throughout the community.
Richard Gere's character recognises the drawing of the creature made by one witness as that of something his wife scrawled in her hospital bed before she died, and before long finds himself communicating with it and being dragged into its insanity.
What's great about this film is that it never really shows you the mysterious Mothman. It's appearance is recounted by Gere's encounters with the locals, most distrubingly with a guy named George who unravels before his eyes as the monster prophecises various disasters.
Some may complain that the film is slow, but I think it drags you in with it's forboding atmosphere, great script and well drawn characters. It does sag a little near the middle-end, but it more than makes up for it in an amazing finalé that is a little too horrific for words.
The editing is incredibly clever, as is the cinematography and use of subliminal images. You do get the feeling that the filmmaker is paying tribute to Kubrick at some points, but it's satisfying to know that he didn't just make some bog-standard creature-feature out of what is a very well crafted plot.
The sound design is also amazingly well done... playing with your perceptions and, in the case of the voice and sounds of the Mothman himself, incredibly disturbing. I may never pick the phone up late at night again.
What is incredible is that this film is based on a book of the same name by a reporter called John Keel, which in turn is centred on real events that occured in 1966 in Point Pleasent. The 40-or-so minute documentary which comes bundled as an extra on the DVD, if a little over-americanised, is genuinely disturbing through the amount of witnesses, vintage news reportage and the fact that the events lead up to a disaster mirrored in the film itself.
Other than that, there are some bog-standard biogs, interviews and HBO Making Of's which I feel it could do without. To sum up - a clever, tense film with characters you can care for and a mysterious creature you hope you will never meet...
Unfortunately, for the survivors of the inhabitants of Point Pleasent, Ohio, they did - and apparently, many more people will...
on 27 February 2013
The Mothman Prophecies is based on the book of the same name by paranormal investigator John Keel. In my opinion the director, Mark Pellington, has done a fantastic job of cherry picking the most interesting parts of the book for this superb film. The story is set in a small town in West Virginia where a series of increasingly bizarre events took place. Richard Gere plays reporter John Klein who has recently lost his wife Mary to a brain tumor. He finds somehow himself in West Virginia and becomes engrossed in the happenings. This is a complex film which explores life after death, pre-cognitive ability and even extra terrestrials. The Mothman is barely sighted in the film which makes the story more credible. Laura Linney puts in a fantastic performance as Connie, the Town Policewoman who refuses to be intimidated by the Mothman or the weird going-ons. There is a real sense of paranoia, confusion and fear as the story unfolds. Definitely worth a second viewing.
I approached this film with an open mind but found it an ultimately disappointing experience. Richard Gere is a Washington Post reporter who inexplicably finds himself in the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia two years after the death of his wife. He encounters Laura Linney, a local police officer who informs him that "things have been a little strange here lately". It seems that sightings of a `mothman' have occurred, similar in description to the sketches which his wife had produced on a notepad prior to her death. He decides to investigate this phenomenon and begins to experience `other worldly' happenings himself. However, despite the great Alan Bates and his Basil Exposition contributions this supposedly supernatural thriller lacks both thrills and supernatural. There are hints about advanced beings but in truth, this is an unsatisfactory exploration of the `unknown'.
Two years after the tragic and mysterious death of his wife, John Klein (Richard Gere) finds himself in a small West Virginia town - a world away from his busy city life in Washington DC - whose inhabitants are plagued by horrifying visions of a 'mothlike human creature'. When John realises this is the same creature his wife claimed to have seen before she died, he becomes obsessed with finding out the truth about the so-called 'Mothman'. His journey to discover an answer ultimately becomes an obsession as the mysertious entity tells him that he will see his dead wife Mary 'in time'. As the torment increases John must decide whether the possibility of an answer is worth sacrificing his sanity, and ultimately, his life.
The Mothman Prophecies comes with a 12 certificate (if you live in the UK), but it is a film that will shatter your nerves and stay with you for months after you've seen it. There are a few factors which make this movie truly and unforgettably terrifying; we never actually 'see' the Mothman but the eerie score, special effects and cinematography all pull together to give an allusion to the elusive phenomenon; we are never given a concrete answer, because quite simply nobody has one, and the conclusion is ambiguous - does the Mothman cause the world-wide disasters, or is it simply a benign being sent to warn us? That is left up to the audience to decide, and lastly - and perhaps most notably - the concept of the Mothman is based on true events which have been recorded all over the world. The DVD comes with a creepy (if slightly Americanised) documentary exploring what or who the Mothman is, and you will see that sightings have been reported all over the world right before infamous disasters have struck (Chernobyl for example). The phenomena has even been traced back to ancient cave paintings depicting moth-like creatures.
The fact the audience is never allowed to really see the Mothman only adds to the hysteria - it emphasises the point that we are denied the answers we seek in all parts of our lives, whether it be religion or supernatural occurrences. The film poses many thought-provoking questions; is seeing believing, or is believing seeing? is the Mothman (and by extension anything nebulous) only as real as we make it? is it the evil which causes the disasters or is it a celestial being (albeit a creepy and misunderstood one) sent to warn us?
In short, the film really challenges your beliefs and makes you think about religion, faith, and the possibility of forces beyond our reckoning.
The effect of the Mothman is beautifully drawn between the two flanking characters Gordon and Connie. Gordon, a devout Catholic, is plagued by visions and messages from the elusive Mothman and becomes increasingly obsessed with it, at first terrified and then fascinated, while Connie draws her rational and grounded personality from her role as the town sheriff in whom all the victims confide in. John Klein finds himself in a tug of war between the two as his own quest to find out the truth surrounding his wife's death becomes an obsession of faith.
Consequently, The Mothman Prophecies is a spine-tingling psychological thriller that will keep you awake for many nights thinking about how we fit into the universe, and hoping Indrid Cold doesn't give you a call! I cannot recommend this film enough - don't let 'but I don't like horror movies' be your excuse - you will be sorely missing out on one of the finest chillers of the century.