The Mothman Prophecies (2002)
Review Date: January 22, 2002
Director: Mark Pellington
Writer: Richard Hatem
Producers: Gary Goldstein, Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi
Richard Gere as John Klein
Laura Linney as Connie Parker
Will Patton as Gordon
A reporter whose wife gets into a serious car accident after seeing "something" really scary in front of her, finds himself running into various other people who claim to have seen the very same apparition and other disturbing things. It isn't long before the man himself also begins to experience some inexplicable events and things only get creepier from there. By the way, this movie is based on real events which occurred around the small town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia in 1967.
A really creepy movie which doubles its creepy quotient by actually being based on real-life events...now that's scary! But not "scary" in the every day sense of the word, more like an overall feeling of dread, a sense of unease all around, a brooding something or another...sitting up there...somewhere...watching over our shoulders. In fact, the film really gives you a great overall package of mood, style and the unexplained, a lot like a solid X-FILES episode but on the big screen (Gere even looks like Mulder in a few scenes). Moments of fright, goosebumps here and there, darkness, lights, sounds coming in and out...all very effective, but does it all add up to a superlative ghostly/horror/thriller? Not so sure about that. Which is strange because it does have an interesting story that never bored me, decent actors doing decent work and directing, that is overly stylized, but in the case of this film (centered on the paranormal), very complementary to its off-kilter feel. In fact, what's even more original about this particular chill-ride is that it didn't rely on goofy over-the-top Hollywood special effects to provide for its moments of tension and escalating fear. It created that atmosphere all on its own, with a deliberate pace, heavy visual tricks and the always scarier ability to not show the terror on the screen, but imply and embed it throughout.
But in the end, even though I definitely enjoyed the movie, I didn't feel as though it was overwhelmingly successful (not sure exactly why yet). It was almost as if its final grandiose events (which are pretty awesome to witness but felt a little out of tune with the rest of the film) took away from its earlier, more mannered pacing and atmosphere. Don't get me wrong...it's a solid movie, no doubt about that, it got under my skin during several key moments, but it seems as though the sum of its parts, wasn't as impressive as were specific elements throughout (does that make any sense?). One thing that it definitely does is create a greater awareness of the supernatural world, and it certainly made me want to read more about the actual events and sightings of this "mothman" (click here for many sites on the topic). Do I smell a "Mothman Returns"? Just kidding...kinda. So if chills and an engaging tale of a real-life "boogeyman" is what you're looking for, this film should definitely be on your list of "to dos" this coming Friday. In fact, I get the feeling that it's the kind of movie that I would need to see a few times to truly appreciate (in the dark, by myself, crapping my pants...). It requires patience from its viewer, doesn't go for the easy "boo" scares and utilizes a lot of style to maneuver you into further unease. But don't expect any concrete answers here folks...this is a mystery ongoing. And oh yeah...Gere is in his patented suits again. Natch! PS: I love Debra Messing.
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian