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Overall Rating

Awesome: 29.41%
Worth A Look35.29%
Average: 16.81%
Pretty Bad: 5.88%
Total Crap: 12.61%

5 reviews, 89 user ratings

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Mothman Prophecies, The
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by Scott Weinberg

"The Weinberg Prophecy: You'll nod off halfway through this one."
3 stars

Skipping clumsily between 'creepily interesting' and 'downright boring', Mark Pellington's schizophrenic The Mothman Propecies is a solid 100-minute thriller. Unfortunately, the actual running time is well over 2 hours.

I'm predicting big things for young director Mark Pellington. As evidenced in his two big-budget movies, this one and the underrated Arlington Rd., this is a director who has a distinctive style, has a knack for extracting solid performances and provokes his audience as much as he entertains. Having given the proper credit, I must counter by saying that the flaws in The Mothman Prophecies come mainly from its rambling, scattershot and overall unsatisfying screenplay.

Most of the jolts go like this:

"What do you mean you just talked to Pete? He's been dead for 12 days!"


"I just drove 400 miles in one hour? Weird!"


"There's no way you just saw my wife! She's been dead for 2 years!"

You get the picture. Plot holes are everywhere, several sequences feel like remakes of scenes from 25 minutes earlier, and the half-handed attempts at explaining the psychological phenomena are lazy at best. (It's not fair for a screenwriter to have his characters say "There IS no explanation", as it makes the audience all itchy and annoyed.)

Based on the book by John Keel, this movie tells the tale of Washington Post journalist John Klein and his efforts to find meaning among all the unsettling precognitions he's been experiencing. Two years after the tragic death of his young wife, Klein finds himself curiously driving into Point Pleasant, West Virginia. It's in this sleepy little burg that John hopes to discover the mysteries behind his wife's death. Suffice to say that things get considerably more complicated than that.

It seems that several of Point Pleasant's citizens have been seeing visions, lights, signs, harbingers, etc. If it's potentially creepy and basically unexplained, these poor folks have gone through it. John's explorations cause him to cross paths with a comely policewoman, a beleaguered backwood couple and several other confused individuals. As far as I could tell, the "Mothman" is an entity that (for one reason or another) informs random people of future events, only the reports come out quite jumbled. That such a compelling concept is steeped amidst several uninteresting plot turns is among this movie's biggest disappointments.

Richard Gere plays John Klein in full-on "Richard Gere Mode", while the rest of the cast acquit themselves quite nicely. Though a bit miscast, Laura Linney (Congo) delivers a solid performance, and Will Patton (Armageddon) is as entertaining as ever. The movie's best performance is (irritatingly) its smallest, with Alan Bates (Gosford Park) taking full command of his every scene. Also quite impressive is the lovely Debra Messing as Klein's ill-fated spouse. If you're familiar with this actress mainly from TV's Will & Grace, you'll be pleasantly surprised at her acting chops in this one.

Pellington's camera is seemingly always on the lookout for the cleverest way to depict the action, and The Mothman Prophecies is full of quirky little touches that easily showcase the director's burgeoning directorial skills. In the movie's more intense momemts, The Mothman Prophecies threatens to become a GREAT film, yet these moments are uniformly followed by sequences both ponderous and dull.

Worth seeing for fans of Gere and Pellington, this one seems destined to become an 'acquired taste'. Despite its attempts at a half-hearted twist ending, the best moments in The Mothman Prophecies (aside from a killer finalé) come early on. In this case, the journey was infinitely more involving than the destination.

Beware of the horror flick that purports to be based on "actual events", because nothing REALLY thrilling ever happens in "actual events". That's why we go to the movies. While it's definitely not an AWFUL film, The Mothman Prophecies could have been greatly improved by a more heartless editor and a lot more intensity.

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originally posted: 01/25/02 16:59:26
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User Comments

1/09/17 Bents Good portrait of grief, just ok as a drama/thriller 3 stars
10/30/16 morris campbell eerie and entertaining 4 stars
4/20/11 The Big D Weird. Strange. Offbeat. Uncanny. Eerie. Bizarre. Unsettling. Unnerving. Perplexing. 5 stars
2/17/11 Wes Gates Agrees throughtly with Rob Gonsalves, good insights. 1 stars
9/18/10 Ritty Horton Terrible movie 1 stars
3/08/10 Steve Herrick Compelling every viewing.Real feel to this.Erie 5 stars
7/08/09 *Holy_J@lapeno* Some very slow parts but for the most part keep you wanting more! Some intense moments!!! 4 stars
5/26/09 gail s. 2 hours wasted on a weak finish! 2 stars
5/15/09 Quigley One of the creepiest, most unsettling films ever made 4 stars
3/02/08 Pamela White suspense and lots of questions to be answered before the movie ends good ending 4 stars
2/02/08 David Cohen "Based on actual events" Bwa-hah-hah! 2 stars
5/09/07 William Goss Hokum that works better than it should, complete with a rather tense climax. 3 stars
1/21/07 David A. It hovers between intelligent horror and science fiction--outstanding picture 5 stars
12/29/06 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 3 stars
10/22/06 Dillon Directed with style. Eerie and intriguing. 5 stars
7/07/06 margarette GREAT..I LIKED IT... 5 stars
4/10/06 Dillon A creepy, visually stunning thrill ride 4 stars
9/17/05 R.W. Welch Agreeably spooky yarn with some factual basis. Has a few loose ends. 4 stars
8/18/05 ES I thought this would be the first movie with gere I'd like= I was wrong 2 stars
7/23/05 John Jones This movie was quite possibly the worst movie I have ever seen, really, it simply is crap! 1 stars
6/17/05 Bluto Kinda creepy, liked the concept 4 stars
4/01/05 failingloser waaay too long 3 stars
3/18/05 indrid cold A rare thing, a horror/thriller that actually gets under your skin. 4 stars
2/05/05 Jeff Anderson Everything spooky & scary that THE RING lacked. MARK PELLINGTON IS AN AMAZING DIRECTOR!!!!! 5 stars
2/01/05 Graves Meh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2 stars
10/26/04 Steve Newman Excellent film, deep,dark and keeps you interested 4 stars
8/22/04 gcc confusing plot - but eerie atmosphere/sound effects very scary 4 stars
8/21/04 R.W. Welch Paranormal thriller is eerie enough but rambles around too much. 3 stars
2/01/04 john it has some creepy ideas in it but it just never makes any sense 3 stars
1/26/04 Eric Bruce Willis instead.Could have been better 3 stars
1/20/04 Jack Sommersby An original, cannily creepy masterpiece. Pellington's work is smashing! 5 stars
1/15/04 Samuel john, you can't call something pretty crappy because it was over your head 5 stars
12/11/03 john doesn't make much sense 2 stars
9/17/03 Obi Wan Loved it . . Gere's finest work since Primal Fear 5 stars
9/03/03 Charles Tatum Pellington finally finds a winning script 4 stars
8/11/03 Joesco Well done but confusing - Gere standard - Linney good 3 stars
8/04/03 Double G who made this crap 1 stars
7/21/03 dirtyharry i liked it i thought it was pretty good.. 4 stars
6/14/03 Alice Unique movie, very dark... 5 stars
6/05/03 Shadaan Felfeli I was quite engrossed through the film. Worth a watch 4 stars
5/07/03 Flounder Bone chilling. This is one of the most intriguing movies I have seen in a long time! 5 stars
4/11/03 RaboRon Beautyful fotographic movie with an 'X-file' like story 4 stars
3/21/03 Jack Sommersby A new American classic. Eerie, suspenseful, exciting, and emotionally affecting. A+ acting. 5 stars
3/12/03 Bill Gates Fucking shit. No ending...Signs was better. 1 stars
2/04/03 Pinkline Jones I thought Gere danced better in Saturday Night Fever 2 stars
1/31/03 The Talking Elbow This was a GOOD fucking movie. 5 stars
11/19/02 Massive Johnson I thought movies were supposed to have a point? sucked. 1 stars
9/23/02 y2mckay (who saw it TWICE) Actually, she saw the mothman in the car crash, died of tumor later. Dumbass. 4 stars
9/20/02 tigguhtoo worth the rental, I had to see what was "true" after watching. his wife did die of tumor. 4 stars
9/09/02 othree teaser...alot of hype, predictable ending 3 stars
8/30/02 Someone Who Saw The MOvie Hey y2mckay ... His wife died in a car crash not a brain tumor fool 5 stars
8/17/02 AJ One of the best horror/thriller movies 5 stars
8/05/02 Jim Fairly creepy monster movie leading up to a tragic denoument. "Wake up, #37!" 4 stars
7/29/02 Kyle Meh. I've seen better horror based on a true story. 3 stars
7/28/02 christina really liked the movie 5 stars
7/25/02 palaboy101 One of Mark Pellington's best... Stylish and creepy 5 stars
7/19/02 Indrid Cold This movie is a thinking man's movie. Don't see it if you expect to be spoon-fed. 5 stars
7/16/02 JesseL Makes Blair Witch look like Citizen Kane. 1 stars
7/04/02 gary vidmar My wife couldn't sleep for weeks after seeing this 'true strory' thriller. 5 stars
6/24/02 Joe Very creepy movie!!! Worth owning on DVD 5 stars
6/23/02 David A. Intelligent, terrifying look into the unexplained. Richard Gere at his most mature. 5 stars
6/11/02 ^Elendil^ Fun. Geer is always terrible, and a bit too much fast-blurry-lights a la The Extraordinary. 3 stars
6/07/02 stud scary 5 stars
6/07/02 Joe Levy Vidmar you loser. This movie is based on a true story you moron! Go to hell! 5 stars
6/04/02 Chris This is a well made movie. It is not, however good because it has no tangiable villian. 3 stars
6/03/02 sd one of the best 4 stars
4/26/02 J Lyons Not bad, but reminded me of blair witch. 4 stars
4/10/02 Natalie Stonecipher If a true story, it's truth stranger than fiction; as fiction, just too strange 3 stars
3/30/02 DirtySocks A pure entertainment film. No artistic b**sh*t. Oh, it was creepy too! 5 stars
3/20/02 ^ZuLu^ The ending was much too Hollywood-like.But still very scary. 4 stars
3/17/02 Yono Oko A wild ride. A must see for x-files type people! 5 stars
3/12/02 spaceworm Happy while watching; won't need the DVD. 4 stars
3/10/02 indrid cold when all other possibilities are exhausted, what is left must be true 5 stars
2/24/02 Spanky Due to the lack of intelligent comments below, I will let my rating speak for itself 5 stars
2/24/02 Gadzooks! Hey PeteFountain, you asshole. 4 stars
2/22/02 Shish-Ka-BOB Maddeningly creepy. 5 stars
2/22/02 Dino If u don't think this story is true, look up the police reports from 1967. It happened. 5 stars
2/18/02 Reverend Krule They shoulda called it "The Sony Prophecies" 2 stars
2/17/02 Devil Boy B Best Scares I've Had Since Blair Witch Project 5 stars
2/15/02 GGG absolute garbage..Gere should retire 1 stars
2/15/02 Ziggy Stardust If this movie was any less scary i would have fallen asleep driving home 3 stars
2/14/02 Hotaine As if it wasn't a good enough movie on it's own, I also got to stare at Debra Messing. 5 stars
2/12/02 PeteFountain The entire audience gasped when he saw his dead wife in bed 5 stars
2/05/02 Jimmy James . 4 stars
1/29/02 rogue a bit bewildering 4 stars
1/28/02 Dick Many events make even less sense than no sense at all. 1 stars
1/26/02 John Rufi Freaky, Freaky, Freaky! Mothman has also been see before the chernobyl meltdown 5 stars
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  25-Jan-2002 (PG-13)



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