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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 Erik Childress

"One Helluva Frustrating Thrill Ride"
4 stars

The Mothman Prophecies that will likely rivet audiences in their seats for a full two hours and then leave them frustrated for the remaining 22 and then some. For the bulk of its running time, viewers will be treated to mysterious goings on in a small Midwest town. Clues will be dropped, the enigma will increase and just when the tension couldn’t reach a higher mountaintop, the film ends and you’re left to fend for yourself. Of course I’m not complaining, because ambiguous resolution and all, I was glued in and along for the ride.

Based on the book by John Keel, the film supplants versions of allegedly true events that occurred in Point Pleasant, West Virginia from Nov. 1966-Dec. 1967 into present time. Richard Gere plays John Klein, a reporter for the Washington Post at the peak of his life. The career is successful and he’s just bought a new house with his lovely wife (Debra Messing). But fate can be such a wicked prankster when an unexplained accident leads Klein to a disheartening discovery and personal tragedy. With his life shattered, he’s only just about to realize he’s on the road to his own personal Twilight Zone.

Traveling to Richmond to do a story on the Governor, Klein’s car breaks down on one of those barren poorly-lit roads. When he knocks on the nearby home of Gordon and Denise Smallwood (Will Patton & Lucinda Jenney), the good head on his shoulder is nearly blown off; treated as if he’s been the one terrorizing the couple the past two nights. If that’s not enough to tip his weird-o-meter, Klein has also wound up in Point Pleasant, some 400 miles from where he was headed. Spooooo-ky.

Unable to shake these weird happenings, Klein, convinced these phenomena have something to do with his late wife, obsessively starts doing a little snooping with the help of local constable, Connie Parker (Laura Linney). Turns out that many of the townspeople have had frequent sightings of a being dubbed as the “Mothman”. This winged creature that looks human leaves his Blair Witch-like markings in his wake and seems preceded by loud, screeching phone waves. It also likes to share predictions about impending tragedies, begging one to wonder if it was responsible for Devon Sawa’s plane dream in “Final Destination.” But who or what is the Mothman? Is it human or alien? Flesh or spirit? Good or evil? Real or Hoax? Or part of a general madness shared by Klein?

The answers will not be revealed here, nor are they clear in the movie. The story is designed to intrigue and raise questions without formulating the solutions. Imagine watching “Vanilla Sky” without the climactic tell-all or a David Lynch version of an Outer Limits episode without all the pretentious “this is a work of art” nonsense. Director Mark Pellington reaches into a bag of tricks that include sudden shocks with the soundtrack going to 11, but like his previous effort, “Arlington Road”, slowly infuses the film with a growing sense of dread and mystery until delivering a finale that will shake and stir audiences right out of their seats. Pellington (who appeared as a commercial director in Jerry Maguire and a bouncer in Almost Famous) is a truly a director to keep an eye on.

Richard Gere, who for every “Primal Fear” does a “Red Corner”, an “Autumn In New York” and an “Intersection”, is back on good terms here delivering a perfectly subtle performance that balances curiosity, terror and sadness. His “Primal Fear” co-star, Laura Linney, is also on hand, continuing to show that acting lessons have eventually paid off since her early days as an unwatchable pretty face. Will Patton is one of those insta-smiles associated anytime his name is in the credits and Alan Bates as spook researcher Alexander Leek (“Keel” spelled backwards) provides solid support.

It’s always refreshing to see a solid thriller in the sci-fi/horror realm which has seen somewhat of a resurgence since the release of “The Blair Witch Project” and “The Sixth Sense”. Movies like “Stir of Echoes”, “The Others” and “Donnie Darko” make it worthwhile to seek out titles in the genre even when we’re discouraged after sitting through true cinematic horrors like “13 Ghosts” and “Valentine”. The Mothman Prophecies respects the full attention of its audience and allows them to make their own investigation into the material. Though boasting its “based on true events”, the film is dipped in a pool of dramatic license (many of Mothman’s prophecies were quite off) that reminded me more than once of 1993’s “Fire In the Sky” about a “true life” alien abduction. Stay clear of reminding yourself that it’s a “true story” and you’re likely to have one helluva time at the movies. If you’re frustrated when you’re walking out, don’t blame the Mothman, because you can’t say that I didn’t warn you.

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originally posted: 01/25/02 12:33:21
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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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