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The Mothman Prophecies (2002)

  Directed by: Mark Pellington
Starring: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Debra Messing, Will Patton
Links: The Mothman Prophecies on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack, Buy on Video
Genre: Based on True Story

This movie gets: 5.33 (3 ratings)
nofreelist.com Ranking: Ranked 152nd of 187 movies (2 ratings minimum; see full chart)

The Mothman Prophecies (2002) is also mentioned in andy-j's review of Bully (2001).

"Atmosphere and unanswered questions" - a review by andy-j

Two years after his wife's rather mysterious death, John Klein finds himself stranded in a small town named Point Pleasant. He was meant to have been driving to Richmond, but somehow ended up wildly off-course. He knocks at a local's door and asks to use their phone, only to be accused to have done the exact same thing for the last two nights in a row. For you see, strange things are happening everywhere in Point Pleasant, and that is only the beginning. You're well advised to stay right away from Point Pleasant. Right away.

The Mothman Prophecies has atmosphere. Watching this movie was quite a frightening experience for me. Director Mark Pellington (who also directed Arlington Road (1999)) knows how to keep you on the edge of your seat. I reached a point where I was uncomfortablely scared, yet was caught up in what was happening, and I found myself unable to look away. This movie kinda touched the whole interest in the supernatural thing that I have going. But when that happens, it usually doesn't make for a great film. It relies on it too much. Ultimately, there wasn't an awful lot to it. There were lots of scares, and that kept things moving along.

I liked the ending... it made things real. The whole time the movie focused on the supernatural, but the ending turned everything around (just like Arlington Road). But at the same time, I HATED the end. It was just SUCH an anti-climax. There was a huge build-up in the last 20 minutes where the scare-factor was played right down, and then... well... that's it?

I found the way that the film was left open and unresolved was interesting. I can appreciate the open ending in one sense. It was very effective because it plays up the mythology facet and makes the movie all the more real and unsettling (i.e. The Mothman is still out there)... but in another sense, I don't care about that. I want more. I have questions and this film doesn't give the answers. It teases. And that makes the movie come off as thin.

I give it a 7 because it scared me and no movie has been able to do that to me in a long long time.

P.S Richard Gere looks very young doesn't he? Do you think he's had work done?

andy-j gives this movie 7 out of 10.
Review created on Tue 4 Jun 2002

"A prophecy: you'll wish you'd seen something else" - a review by jud

Okay. Before I get into the review, let me just say - the name Richard Gere makes me think "handsome aging actor, the ladies love this guy". So going in, not having heard a single word about the film - I'm already thinking Pretty Woman 2, or something along those lines. Now don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against Pretty Woman (1990), it's just not really my thing. You know?

Right, so anyway. Washington Post star-reporter John Klein (Richard Gere, handsome aging actor and star of Pretty Woman) finds himself investigating strange happenings in the sleepy town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. The good church-going folk there have been seeing things, most notably a 7-foot winged creature known only as Mothman (think The Grim Reaper's cousin, you'll not be far wrong).

Our intrepid reporter, still reeling from the death of his wife (Debra Messing, from some TV show I don't watch) in a bizarre accident some two years earlier, hooks up with local cop Connie Mills (Laura Linney) who together try and get to the bottom of things. This quickly leads them to the discovery that Mothman sightings do not bode well for the town (well, duh) and that a major catastrophe is imminent.

The remainder of the film (a good hour, at least) is spent teasing the disaster, with the occasional plot twist and turn thrown in for good measure. The pay off however (and yes, there is a pay off), delivered only a fraction of the impact I was expecting. I wanted the three course meal, and all I got was a lousy peanut. And I don't even like peanuts.

I have to give credit to director Mark Pellington (Arlington Road (1999)) though, who gave the film a really good atmosphere and delivered some great moments. Full points for effort, but it wasn't enough to save this.

This movie, like TV-series X-Files, deals with paranormal activities. I say if you want paranormal activity, do yourself a major favour and rent Ghostbusters (1984). I give The Mothman Prophecies a thumbs in the middle.

jud gives this movie 5 out of 10.
Review last updated on Tue 4 Jun 2002

"How to make a movie by joining the dots" - a review by pearly

In The Mothman Prophecies, Richard Gere plays John Klein, a journalist who, following the death of his wife, tries to discover the secret of the "mothman" - a supernatural force that haunted his wife's last days. The film contains sections of dream-like sequences which, when coupled with the strange occurances of the rest of the film, leave a blurred area where the difference between dreams and reality should lie.

For a film that's based on a true story, this plays off like a story out of the mind of someone like Stephen King. For me, this was quite distracting. I found myself sitting there wondering "how much of this is as it actually happened, and how much is exaggerated in an attempt to make this a good film?". And, furthermore, how much of the stuff that supposedly happened actually happened anyway?

I don't suppose that the filmmakers set out to have their audience believing every minute of the story, and part of the charm of Mothman is probably meant to be the questioning of beliefs, and the expansion of the mind. But for me, it all seemed just a little far-fetched, and this didn't have me questioning anything except the ticket price.

Director Mark Pellington does an okay job with the suspense/horror element - the most enjoyable part of the movie was a section where John's dead wife appears beside him on the bed - this shocked some people in the cinema so much that they screamed out loud, but the screams were followed by uncontrollable laughter from most of the audience for the next few minutes. This is why it's great seeing a movie at the cinema. However, the film obviously wasn't aimed at an intelligent audience, with too many things being spelt out (case in point, the repetition of "wake up, number 37").

I think you'd be better to try Pellington's earlier film Arlington Road (1999) than this - it has the same level of suspense, but is more believable. And it's not based on a true story. Go figure.

pearly gives this movie 4 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 3 Jun 2002

Movie review statistics

Number of reviews: 3
Average rating: 5.33
Lowest rating: 4 (by pearly)
Highest rating: 7 (by andy-j)
 
Rating Percentage
1 
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2 
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3 
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4 
 33%
5 
 33%
6 
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7 
 33%
8 
 0%
9 
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10 
 0%

Reader comments

  1. MOVIE WAS GREAT...THE MYSTERY
    WAS SLOWLY EVOLVING.HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THE UNEXPLAINABLE?
    THE BRIDGE SCENES, WATER AND LIGHTS,SUDDENLY THE TRUTH SHOCKS EVERY ONE.IF I TRAVEL THROUGH POINT PLEASANT I WILL
    BE LOOKING OVER MY SHOULDER!

    Rating given: 8

    A comment from BARB on Thu 30 Oct 2003 08:56 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 8.00 (1 rating)

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