The Mothman Prophecies (2002)

PG-13   |    |  Drama, Horror, Mystery

The Mothman Prophecies (2002) Poster

A reporter is drawn to a small West Virginia town to investigate a series of strange events, including psychic visions and the appearance of bizarre entities.




  • Debra Messing in The Mothman Prophecies (2002)
  • Richard Gere in The Mothman Prophecies (2002)
  • Mark Pellington in The Mothman Prophecies (2002)
  • Richard Gere in The Mothman Prophecies (2002)
  • Laura Linney in The Mothman Prophecies (2002)
  • Richard Gere and Dan Callahan in The Mothman Prophecies (2002)

See all photos

Get More From IMDb

For an enhanced browsing experience, get the IMDb app on your smartphone or tablet.

Get the IMDb app

Reviews & Commentary

Add a Review

User Reviews

24 March 2012 | eytand94
| The Mothman Prophecies: True Horror That Brings On Some Serious Chills!
While several horror movies advertise themselves as being "based on true events," they are usually just fabrications of the actual material. "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre's" brutality and nightmarish setting make the movie's inspiration(the Ed Gein murders) something to look into, especially since the events inspired "Psycho" and "The Silence of the Lambs." "The Amityville Horror" is a question of truth or myth. Was that house haunted? We don't know, mostly because Hollywood had to exaggerate everything. However, 2002's "The Mothman Prophecies" comes along, and when one is knowing of the real story and John A. Keel's book, the movie makes you think differently about "true story" horror. Music video director Mark Pellington has given us a movie that not only interests genre fans, but actually pulls through on bringing you a big case of the creeps.

Washington Post writer John Klein is happily driving with his wife Mary one night after going house hunting. Suddenly, something catches Mary's eye and the car swerves and crashes. John visits Mary in the hospital before she dies, and one of the last things she asks him is "You didn't see it, did you?" We ask ourselves, what exactly did she see? We don't know. Strangely, John finds himself in the West Virginia town of Point Pleasant within hours, where weird things are occurring. Lights are flashing across the sky, John is getting strange phone calls, and people are reporting that they've seen a large winged creature with red beaming eyes. John teams up with Point Pleasant sheriff Connie Mills to discover what is going on in this town. What is the moth-like creature attacking this town's locals? What does it want? Is it intending to do harm or is it an omen of things to come?

When faced with the observations presented in Keel's book, "The Mothman Prophecies" only makes a few minor changes, including the time the actual events took place. The story shifts from the 1960's to present day. But otherwise, it stays very true to its source material, which leaves the audience completely in awe. Director Pellington and screenwriter Richard Hatem refuse to let the story be fabricated, and we love them all the more for it.

This supernatural chiller keeps its suspense factor high by not treating the audience like idiots. It doesn't stick to any of the usual horror standards. No one says "I'll be right back." The film doesn't succumb to boobs and gore. The script keeps the relationship between John and Connie from turning the movie into a sappy love story, which makes the leading characters more sympathetic and pure at heart, thanks to Richard Gere and Laura Linney's great performances.

What really gets to you about "The Mothman Prophecies" is that you are left questioning right up to the end what this creature's motivations are. You never know if the apparition exists to warn people of future disasters or to bring fear into the hearts of the townspeople. We're also not really sure if the Mothman is actually real. What if it's just a figment of imagination, what our minds want us to see and believe? We're always more frightened when we don't know what we're supposed to be scared of. A nice addition is Pellington's decision to stick to the "less is more" formula, and he does it extremely well. He never shows us the monster, only flashes of light in varied colors and what we our told of the creature's appearance. Only true fans of horror will appreciate this.

All of the tension builds up to a perfectly staged and nerve-rattling climax that poses more questions. The film builds slowly to produce this giant ball of supernatural horror. This may test the patience of moviegoers who take their horror with ridiculous explanations and CGI effects. But the story of "The Mothman Prophecies" was always meant to leave you with questions. The movie is scarier that way. By the time the credits have rolled, you are emotionally devastated, stunned, and ultimately freaked out. What could have been an "X Files" wannabe turned into something much more horrifying than anything "The X Files" could have created. "The Mothman Prophecies" is truthful horror at its finest. Watch it at night with the lights off, and prepare to be spooked.

Metacritic Reviews

Critic Reviews

Box Office


$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,208,851 27 January 2002

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:


Contribute to this page

The Best Book-to-Screen Adaptations in the Works

From summer reads to classic works of fiction, here are some of our most anticipated book-to-screen adaptations on the horizon.

See the full list

6 Shows Everyone's Still Talking About

It's not too late to join in the conversation on the buzzworthy shows that IMDb users can't get enough of. Catch up with our recommendations.

Watch the video

Around The Web


Provided by Taboola

More To Explore

Search on