The Mothman Prophecies

Today’s movie is a disappointment. I’m so sorry and I understand if you want to go and watch Maru videos. I’d do that too, if I didn’t have to write about this movie, The Mothman Prophecies. I’ve been calling it “The Little Movie That Could” because it could have been so much more than it was. It’s a meandering, not terribly scary, supernatural thriller that follows a man’s encounter with the Mothman and his attempts to figure out what the Mothman is and what he wants.
For the uninitiated, the Mothman is a cryptid from West Virginia that was first spotted in 1966. People reported a flying man with giant moth wings. The sightings predated the collapse of the Silver Bridge, and there were no sightings afterwards, so some people think the Mothman was trying to warn people. Skeptics argue that the Mothman was probably a sandhill crane or barred owl. As far as cryptids go, this just seems kind of lame. Although, I’m spoiled since my state has its own devil.
Richard Gere stars as John Klein, a reporter for The Washington Post.
Watching this movie made me realize two things. One, why is that Muppet made of leather?

Two, is Richard Gere related to David Duchovny? Because there is definitely something Duchovney-esque about his face.
He’s driving home with his wife, Mary (Debra Messing), when they get into a car accident. She says she saw something. In fact, we see it too, and it looks like terrible CGI.
Mary gets an MRI because of the accident–well, we see her head going into the MRI coils but the machine they put her in is a CT scanner–and it turns out she has a glioblastoma, a malignant brain tumor. That’s shaped like a moth!
Mary dies and, while going through her things, John finds creepy pictures that she drew of the thing she saw.
Two years later, John is driving to an interview when he arrives six hours away from where he was going, in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, with no memory of how he got there. His car breaks down so he walks to the first house he sees. The owner pulls a gun on him and claims that John has been knocking on his door for the past two days. Police officer Connie Mills (Laura Linney) shows up and defuses the situation. She later confesses that odd things have been happening around town.
John is intrigued and stays in town. People have reported seeing something similar to what his wife saw and there are pictures that are close to his wife’s drawing. Gordon (Will Patton) tells John that he heard a voice from the drain and wrote down what it told him. As a rule, I ignore all voices that come from drains.
I think that Gordon teaches a class at The Learning Annex about how to write creepy serial killer notes.
They later see that a flight crashed in Denver, killing 99 people. Is the Mothman warning people of these tragedies or is he causing them? John’s work life starts to unravel as he seeks these answers. He finally contacts a professor, Alexander Leek (Alan Bates) who warns him that pursuing the matter could ruin his life.
Here’s a random fact; the man who wrote the book that this movie is very loosely based on is named John Keel. They used an anagram of his name for Alexander’s character. In one of the few really creepy moments in the movie, Alexander tells John, “You noticed them and they noticed that you noticed them.” Ok, that’s clumsily worded but it’s a creepy concept that there may be entities observing us, who may be as advanced as we are in comparison to ants, and they may intervene in our world. So what does the movie do with this creepy potential? It uses it for a maudlin, ham-handed happy ending.
This movie feels like it’s composed entirely of missed potential. It’s never really scary or tense. It meanders from plot point to plot point. At first it seems like it’s going to be an eco-horror and a critique of pollution but then it becomes spiritual. It’s too long at two hours. It’s a shame that a good cast was wasted on such a clichéd script. I especially liked Will Patton and Alan Bates’ performances. I was hoping that Alexander Leeks would become a guiding, Donald Pleasance-like professor but his screen time was way too limited.
That being said, I enjoyed the soundtrack. It was mostly creepy, ambient music. There are some cool shots. The director seemed to like shots that mimicked the symmetry of moth wings and glowing insect eyes.
I also liked how the director played with perspective, especially with the use of mirrors.
Unfortunately, the bad outweighed the good and this movie ended up being a chore to watch.


About scarina

I like scary movies a little too much. I thought I'd share my obsession with you.
This entry was posted in 21st century, creatures, supernatural, thriller, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to The Mothman Prophecies

  1. frc ruben says:

    Right? Like, “oooh, I saw a Moth Man! Ooooooooh.” Please,s top makign things up Mothmannies.

  2. Thomas Duke says:

    I didn’t notice the eye motif when I saw this one. Good eye (he he).

    I dug this except for the ending. I did find it creepy that Gere was trying to wrap his head around the weirdness.

    This was another thing that was featured on Unsolved Mysteries before the movie came out:

    • scarina says:

      I see what you did there, sir.
      I think that the ending is what killed the movie for me.
      Day-um, Unsolved Mysteries brings back memories. I used to watch that to freak myself out, until I discovered the show Sightings.

  3. Crypticpsych says:

    I haven’t seen Mothman Prophecies myself yet, but everything I’d heard made it sound disappointing. I don’t know, it always seemed like it wasn’t really ABOUT the Mothman. Like, say you make a movie about a Chupacabra and you actually have the chupacabra kill things. Or say you make a movie about Bigfoot and have him kill people in it. Fine, great, those are interesting. But from your description, it sounds like it’s about the Mothman’s effects, not the Mothman itself…which leads back, of course, to it being a lame Cryptid (speaking of better Cryptids, I can’t think of a really good Jersey Devil movie of the top of my head…really I can’t think of any at all. Do you know of any?).

    Also, I’m curious how Laura Linney was as a cop….the casting just doesn’t seem right in my head there, and I’m curious if she pulled it off. Like I don’t see Laura Linney in that picture up there and think “Yeah, I totally believe her as a cop”. I could be wrong, though, so I’m genuinely interested to know.

    Also, OF COURSE you don’t listen to voices from drains! Especially if they offer you balloons or little newspaper boats.

    • scarina says:

      It should have been called The Mothman Effect or something. I just read a review of The Barrens, it’s about a family going camping in the Pine Barrens when they maybe experience the Jersey Devil. Or maybe the Dad is just going crazy. There are also an X-Files episode about the Jersey Devil, creatively called “The Jersey Devil.” That’s about all I know.
      Honestly, she wasn’t bad. Her performance was like Clarice Starling-lite. You really don’t see her doing a lot of cop stuff, but she’s pretty ok when she does.
      A generation has been scarred by that movie!

  4. Amiee says:

    Eep I suppose it’s too much to ask for a disclaimer before the evil clown is shown? I haven’t seen this one either but I find Gere kind of swarmy in general.

  5. Moga says:

    The Mothman Prophecies motion picture is as much of a horror film as it is a romantic comedy (which it obviously isn’t). It tries to be a “supernatural thriller.” Whether is succeeded in that respect is up for debate. But it wasn’t trying to be a horror movie.

    • scarina says:

      Yeah, but a supernatural thriller can fall under the horror umbrella. I decided to watch it b/c several of the horror blogs I follow either love the movie or hate it. I think it’s main problem is that the movie didn’t seem to know what kind of movie it was trying to be.

      • Moga says:

        Agreed. The book that it was based on carries too much information to be converted into a faithful movie adaptation. I think that’s a possible reason why it doesn’t follow any specific path.

      • scarina says:

        Interesting. I’ve never read the book so I only know the bare bones of the source material. Thanks for the comments, btw.

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