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  • The Mothman Prophecies is a solid thriller. It's supposedly based on true events, but even if it weren't, it would be worth a look. Richard Gere stars as a Washington Post reporter who inexplicably finds himself in a small West Virginia town where a series of strange goings-on have been happening. His wife was killed two years prior in a mysterious car accident, and there seems to be a connection between her death and the strange happenings in Point Pleasant. Holding the key behind the mystery seems to be a large moth-like creature who tends to show up in places where the loss of human life is about to occur. Gere meets up with several locals who claim to have seen the Mothman, and after a while this creature begins communicating with him. The creature warns people of tragedies about to strike (plane crashes, earthquakes), and Gere thinks this creature can even put him in contact with his dead wife. Gere is given a warning about an upcoming tragedy near Point Pleasant, but can he act in time to stop it? Or should he even try? The film is very moody and sullen. The direction and photography are top drawer, and they enhance the mood greatly. The acting is terrific, as well. I usually can't stand Gere, but he's great in this film. Laura Linney would seem miscast as a local cop, but by the end of the film, she will have proved how truly talented she is. Will Patton is outstanding as a local resident who has several run-ins with the Mothman until it drives him crazy.

    What exactly is the Mothman? According to this film, he's some type of oracle. He can see bad things that will happen, and he can even see through to the other side. Does he cause these tragedies? The film would seem to argue not. Though he may have caused the fatal car accident that took Gere's wife early on. Apparently the concept of the Mothman has been around for a while, but this film gives a pretty good explanation of it for those of us who had never heard of it before.

    The film came up short of its $40 million budget in theaters. I blame this on a terrible marketing campaign, and some bad reviews from the big name critics. Don't let their reviews scare you away. This film is very good. I was hooked after seeing only a couple minutes of it. It was the very effective scene where Gere and Patton first meet up at his home one evening. That was well done! Be warned, however. The film will likely leave you feeling very mortal, and maybe even depressed. There is a really cool new-age rock song during the credits that also adds to the mood.

    Consider this film a thinking man's Final Destination. The climactic scene at the end could have even wandered in from one of those movies. The Mothman Prophecies is worth about 8 of 10 stars.

    The Hound.
  • Based on actual events that occurred in the 60's. John and Mary Klein are a happy couple who have just purchased a new house. The excitement over their new place is short-lived when they have a car accident following the purchase. Mary winds up in the hospital with a head injury, but the CT scans reveal that she has something far worse wrong with her. She eventually dies, leaving a devastated John to discover that she had been drawing sketches of moth-like figures during her time at the hospital. A year passes, and John is scheduled to do an interview for his Washington Post job. On his drive to the interview, he mysteriously winds up in Point Pleasant, West Virginia with no recollection of how he got so far out of his way. Mysterious events are plaguing this small town, events that may be connected to what happened to his wife.

    I first saw this way back on opening night and loved it. As someone who is really into the unexplained, myths and legends, this film is right up my alley. The story of the Mothman is one of the most fascinating I've ever come across, and while The Mothman Prophecies takes a great deal of liberty with the story, it's a terrific film all the same.

    I've never cared for Richard Gere, but I fully admit that he's very good here. He nails the confused, distraught mental state of John Klein, and is very believable in the role. Laura Linney is also solid, though that's no surprise. The standout, though, is Will Patton. One of my favorite character actors, his portrayal of the rugged Gordon Smallwood, an individual who seems to have a deep connection to the Mothman, is absolutely perfect. This guy rarely fails to impress the hell out of me. He just has an awesome screen presence.

    The abnormal occurrences throughout the film certainly produce an unsettling atmosphere. Coupled with eerie imagery and surreal filming techniques, they help the film become quite nightmarish. The use of sound is most effective as well, with all sorts of bizarre noises being heard, including the odd screeching noise that the Mothman was said to have made in some of the real accounts. We also get a moody score that's a perfect fit for the film. Just listening to the soundtrack is guaranteed to give you chills. I know from experience. Speaking of chills, one of my favorite scenes is when Klein speaks with the Mothman entity, having dubbed itself Indrid Cold, on his motel room's phone. It's a wonderfully tense scene, and Cold's voice gets under your skin.

    The effects of the occurrences on the small town of Point Pleasant are well explored, as many different aspects and accounts are introduced. The town itself comes off as a bleak and unnerving place. Almost lifeless. The occurrences have basically killed off the town's livelihood. Gere's John Klein becomes increasingly paranoid the longer he stays in Point Pleasant, and when his dead wife appears to the sheriff, he becomes increasingly tortured. It isn't long before he's driven to a distant and isolated state of being, much like Gordon before him.

    The climactic scenes do not disappoint either. The scene where Klein realizes what is really going to happen makes for a powerful moment, and the final scenes on the Silver Bridge are as tense and suspenseful as they are exciting. It's a very well-done climax, both dramatically and from a technical standpoint. A fine way to finish the film.

    Overall, this is a deeply eerie, surreal piece of work. Nightmarish really is the best word for it. It also has interesting characters and some emotional moments. I'm a big fan.
  • Nightman8523 December 2005
    Bizarre, well-made supernatural thriller is all the more chilling for the fact that it's rooted in actual events.

    Washington reporter ends up in a small West Virginia town where a strange entity is foretelling of a disaster.

    Although many critics harpooned this film for its seemingly aimless storyline, it's really a forgivable thing since Mothman is such an atmospheric and slickly-directed film. The direction is artistically stunning, with lots of colorful and frightening visuals. The atmosphere is solidly dark and mysterious, with a number of truly spooky sequences - particularly Gere's phone call from the Mothman. And despite the fact that everything is not explained to us up front, after all who could place logic to this strange true story, the film is a pretty decent gripper. The grand climax is especially dramatic!

    The cast is fairly good, star Richard Gere probably being the best as our bewildered hero. The filming locations are good and the moody soundtrack is quite effective.

    For those who like their thrillers a touch on the X-Files side, The Mothman Prophecies is a terrific choice.

    *** 1/2 out of ****
  • dfranzen7011 June 2002
    John Klein (Richard Gere), a Washington Post reporter, finds himself somehow drawn to a small town in West Virginia. In fact, his car dies, along with his cell phone and watch. He knocks on a nearby house to call for help, and the man who answers the door attacks him, saying Klein's been around three days in a row. But has he?

    Two years earlier, John's wife died from injuries sustained in a car wreck, and before she died, in an apparent delirium, she had been etching weird drawings. Could her drawings have some connection with this town?

    Based on true events, The Mothman Prophecies follows John through his search for the truth. People in the town report seeing a strange being - are they lying, or are they misinterpreting? Are they simply seeing UFOs, or is there more to the story? Intrepid reporter that he is, John wants to know more - although of course his thirst for knowledge is accompanied by a need to know what happened to his wife (why did the car crash?).

    Thrillers such as this one are hard to come by. It's not exactly a horror movie, but there are more than enough creepy moments to send a few chills reverberating through your body. It's a film that relies less on special effects than on such quaint ideals as character motivation and development and atmosphere. In fact, this movie's just brimming with atmosphere. We've all seen those cheesy movies in which a car runs out of gas along a desolate country road, and then BAM - some serial killers make dinner or belts out of the hapless occupants. But in this case, the monster is hardly ever seen, thereby heightening the scares.

    At the centerpiece is Gere as Klein. I've never, ever been a Gere fan; it seems to me he has one expression. He's never been terribly emotive and has been known in recent years more for the age disparity with his female costars than for anything else (they get younger, he stays the same old dude). Call him ruggedly handsome if you will, but vacuity is never really appealing.

    But this is not your typical Gere at all. He definitely turns in the best work of his career. Sure, he was appealing in Pretty Woman, but it was Julie Roberts' movie. Officer and a Gentleman? Ok, but that was Lou Gosset Jr.'s movie. Primal Fear? Red Corner? Runaway Bride? No, no, no. This is acting on a ledge for Gere. It's a true departure from the romantic comedies and the sly psuedo-mystery/dramas. Ordinarily, I would think such a movie would expose Gere for the terrible actor he is. But I would be wrong. This movie was so well written and directed that Gere rose to its level, rather than sinking it. That's a huge credit to him as an actor.

    Now, I need to differentiate between good acting and appeal. An actor can look good or be charming in a role and still be a bad actor; by contrast, an actor can look uncharming and turn in a great performance. But what's key is how the actor draws the audience in - do they sympathize with his plight? Are they on his side? How good of an actor he is will answer that question.

    Gere's Klein starts out as an average joe, and then we get to see him slowly descend into madness - we even descend a little with him. That vaunted atmosphere is so vibrant and realistic that we turn when he turns and feel things he feels. This is an absolute hallmark of excellent filmmaking (by Mark Pellington, whose only other big film was 1999's Arlington Road). The writing is crisp and eminently believable, and the acting in addition to Gere (including Laura Linney, Debra Messing, and Will Patton) is simply superb. And don't forget the prophecies part of the title, either; this "Mothman" entity issues warnings to whomever it deems worthy. Which sounds good, as long as one can interpret them correctly. Apparently, many have not.

    The story is based on actual events that took place in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, but this is no Amityville Horror story. With Amityville, one could distance oneself from the experiences of the family involved; we could say that it would never happen to us, it was only a movie. This is a little trickier with The Mothman Prophecies. It's a creepy, tingly movie that gets under your skin and crawls all over your heart.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I don't quite class it as horror, but more of a supernatural mystery thriller. Fascinating that this thing is based on real life reports. It gives it more of the creepy factor. That aside, it's just a really good nail-biter.

    It was very atmospheric. Great cinematography. I think the premise could have made for a great TV show. There's such a Twin Peakish, Lostish, feeling about it, tho not the weirdness. I like that people were reporting strange going ons and they were taken seriously.

    Richard Gere, Laura Linney, and Will Patton played their roles perfectly. I recommend for people that like Twin Peaks, Lost, and X-Files, and are looking for something with that similar type of mysterious feeling.
  • 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.
  • This gets high marks for suspense alone. It is a very tense movie, guaranteed to keep the first-time viewer glued to his/her seat. It might even raise a few hairs on the back of your neck!

    Dramatic music also helped with the suspense. In addition, we get some fine acting performances from Richard Gere, Laura Linney and Will Patton.

    Don't be fooled, however, with the "based on a true story" tag line. It might be "based" but that could mean only a very, very small part of this film was actual; the rest presented for dramatic purposes. This film is a good case of that, from what I've read.

    Nonetheless, it's interesting, has good visuals and decent sound and some genuine creepy moments. This definitely a film to have on DVD, as opposed to VHS, although I suppose at this point, few people buy tapes anymore anyway. Those looking to curl up on the couch with a good thriller: give this movie a look.
  • (**** out of *****)

    What a wonderful and rich role for Gere who should maybe experiment more in movies that deal with the realms of the unknown.

    A much respected reporter for the Washington Post John Klein (Richard Gere) is about to have his life turned upside down when his wife dies in an automobile accident that seems to have been caused by a mysterious flying creature which he never did see himself. The plot takes Gere to the Ohio/West Virginia border where he meets with the local residents who all seem to be having their troubles with strange lights, weird phone calls and a bird like creature which they call the Mothman. Klein investigates the mystery at the cost of his own sanity and career.

    The film is very scary but lacks the pace and fibre that made the John A. Keel's book an awe inspiring read. There are no Men In Black, UFO's, alien impregnated women, phone tapings or a clear resolution to some of the character's fate. In fact only about 10% of the book is actually reproduced in the film. The other 90% seems to have been plucked from an episode of the `X-files'... but what a good episode it is! This is a film that has high production values. The lighting, camerawork, sound and editing are always on top form which is something that prevents the movie from disappearing into the ranks of science fiction B movie hokum. `The Mothman Prophecies' looks simply `weirdly' gorgeous on the big screen.

    There is not enough Mothman revealed to the viewer but country folk Gordon Smallwood (the well cast and superbly acted Will Patton) creates a much needed conduit into the effects that the Mothman has on the people of Point Pleasant and this is what the film is really all about - The consequences that the supernatural can have on the psyche of a small backward town's population. Although the ending is Mothman free it certainly does jolt the emotions and evokes a sort of belittling sympathy for the human beings of this planet.

    Watch this film and then go read the book for a much better look at really went on. All in all, the film is a spine-chilling riveting stuff and well worth repeated viewing even though it never truly escapes its `X-Files' feeling.
  • I just got back from the first showing of the first day of release of The Mothman Prophecies, and I am left with only four short words:

    Go see it. NOW!

    Simply put, The Mothman Prophecies is the scariest horror movie since RING, Since many Americans won't be able to see RING for quite some time, they should consider tasting another slice of the terror pie with "Mothman". It's already a strong candidate for best horror film of 2002...and even as a hardcore genre fan, I'd have to put it on my list of favorite horror movies of all time.

    I had been fascinated by the Mothman myth since 1995, when I first read of its existence in a book of legends and folklore. Since then, I've often thought about making a horror film based on the story. And as you might guess, some one clearly beat me to the punch! The film takes some bizarre, allegedly true events that occurred in the mid-60s in Point Pleasant, West Viriginia and updates the strange phenomena to present day using a somewhat fictionalized story.

    Richard Gere plays John Klein (a character that I assume is based on real life author John Keel), a Washington Post reporter whose wife dies of a brain tumor shortly after a bizarre, seemingly unexplainable car accident. After she dies, he finds pictures she drew during her final days, pictures of a bizarre looking winged creature with glowing red eyes.

    Flash forward two years. Klein is on his way to meet the governor of Virginia, when his car breaks down. He goes to get help (I won't reveal the creepy details of this sequence) and learns that he is nowhere near his destination. Rather, in the space of 90 minutes he has somehow managed to travel 400 miles to Point Pleasant, West Virginia. There he encounters Sgt. Connie Parker (played by Laura Linney), who tells him of the many strange going ons in the town...specifically, the accounts of a bizarre creature from witnesses who are by all accounts reputable. She shows him a sketch that one witness drew of the creature, and it is nearly identical to the bizarre drawings Klein's wife had done before her death.

    You can probably guess where the film is headed from this point; in fact, that's part of the beauty. Astute viewers will always be one step ahead of the characters onscreen, and one step behind...The Mothman, or just director Mark Pellington. Each is pretty damn good at scaring people.

    Pellington his his second feature, Arlington Road, a top notch thriller along the lines of Rosemary's Baby. Here he goes for a more Twilight Zone approach, with the "did it really happen?" factor of films like The Amityville Horror, Snuff, and Cannibal Holocaust thrown in for very, very good measure. Pellington has been gaining quite a bit of critical attention for this film, and rightfully so. If he keeps up, one can see Mark Pellington, Victor Salva, and Alejandro Amenbar doing for the horror/thriller genre what John Carpenter, Wes Craven, and Dario Argento did for it in the 70s.

    Some critics have been apt to attack the film for its reliance on classic horror movie if this is a bad thing. It's quite ironic, considering that it is the film's good old fashioned sensibility that makes the proceedings so overwhelmingly effective. It does not rely on cheap scares, post-PC "gore", or loud sound effects to jolt its audience. The film's power is rooted in its fundamentally chilling story, and taken to another level thanks to Pellington's assured direction. He never condescends to the audience, and he never goes for anything less than the extreme. He knows how to push audiences to the edge of their seat...and fortunately for horror fans, he does not know when to stop. Hitch would certainly be proud.

    Yet the best element of The Mothman Prophecies is that, like the films of Hitchock, it is intended for its audience, and continues to engage them long after rolling the end credits. The film has a wonderfully self-reflective structure, and a haunting ending (Owen Gleiberman's comparison of this film to Nicholas Roeg's Don't Look Now is much deserved). However, many questions are left unanswered. Many plot threads still hang. Like Bob Clark's unnerving Black Christmas, The Mothman Prophecies does not provide the closure that most mainstream audiences would demand. The audience is forced to think about the film, and what it means, long after it's over. Mark Pellington insures that the Mothman's glowing red eyes will indeed stay fixed in our brains alongside the film's other haunting imagery. So remember, grown ups and young people alike....sleep with the light on.

    My Grade: A
  • SILV3R19 September 2002
    Starting off promisingly with X-Files creepy events (deaths and visions) this young persons horror movie has a suitably tense edge. Based on a myth last discussed in great detail in the 60s, this is a modernised version of the legend of the Mothman, a mysterious figure who comes to people to foretell disastrous events. There is an air of Saturday night channel 5 about this film, but don't let that discourage you as its in the upper echelons of b-movie fair.

    Richard Gere is surprisingly entertaining as someone who essentially doesn't say much and just gets creeped-out. A lot. His character isn't that challenging for any actor, so there won't be any Oscar gongs headed his way for this. Laura Linney is excellent as the town sheriff, like someone straight out of Twin Peeks. The other characters are pretty much just there to move the plot along, rather than to catch your interest.

    The first half hour or so is entertainingly tense, but then the film lulls for the plot in the middle. The ending is satisfyingly and beautifully tidy, with a wonderful action sequence that clears up the vast majority of the weirdness from earlier on. The tight ending, while pleasurable and final is also one of the reasons that the movie isn't better than it is. There is no sensation upon leaving of question or edge. No concerns about turning the next corner for fear of what might be there. This is perhaps why this movie feels like Channel 5, and perhaps why its a 12 not a 15. Essentially its a creepy movie and not an out and out horror.
  • In 1966-67 a series of weird, supposedly supernatural, events occurred in or near Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Much of what happened centered on local residents' purported encounters with UFOs; confrontations with "men-in-black"; phone calls from entities whose voices sounded electronic (or metallic); and sightings of a winged, semi-human creature that came to be known as "mothman". A few locals also were made privy to future predictions (prophecies), some of which in fact did materialize, but others didn't. One of the alleged predictions was a December, 1967 disaster that did occur, and which this film dramatizes.

    Available literature suggests a high probability that some, though by no means all, of the Point Pleasant events were the resulting activities of a practical joker, a prankster, by the name of "Barker" (who died in the 1980s). Other events appear to have been too bizarre and too widespread to be attributed to a lone carnival barker (pun intended).

    "The Mothman Prophecies" is not a very good factual account of the Point Pleasant events. Indeed, the film's setting is the present, not the 1960s, a fact which the film slyly evades. The filmmakers evidently decided to use part of the historical record, and then dramatize it, in a way that would have cinematic appeal to today's audiences.

    And so, the film aims to be a supernatural thriller, a suspenseful study in the theme of what is real vs. what is not real. There's lots of dark atmosphere with offbeat, gyrating camera shots, ominous music, and dialogue to match. The overall effect is one wherein unseen forces are lurking in the shadows.

    For some viewers, this supernatural tone thus provides intense escapist entertainment. For me, the hocus-pocus factor was too high, and the film exuded a sense of forced melodrama. Further, the film did not lead to any satisfactory resolution. What it did lead to was a nicely staged reenactment of the real life December, 1967 disaster.

    Maybe someday someone will make a documentary about the men-in-black element of the Point Pleasant events. If the underlying research is honest and thorough, the resulting film could illuminate a 1960s drama that, while not supernatural in nature, had, and still has, implications that are as scary as they are real.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The Mothman Prophecies is a film like no other I have seen, but is often held to a standard and expectation of your typical horror or thriller, from which most criticism for it unjustifiably surfaces.

    First, The Mothman Prophecies is a very sincere film. Most horror films are ostensibly slapstick, caricatured and full of overstatement of a very broadly recognised fear; death. The vehicles for this fear are usually monsters, murderers or disasters of which the victims are helpless; though these do the job of shocking us out of our seats, their effect, given their near ridiculousness, rarely lingers. The intensity of The Mothman Prophecies, however, is based from the outset on the loss of a perfect love, and our very limited nature in the grandness of existence, despite all other things that happen supernaturally, this is what truly haunts our protagonist. It is in this, that the helplessness which brings about fear finds its vessel.

    Another interesting point, is that these supernatural moth-like beings that turn up before a disaster are not trying to kill anyone, yet they are (or should I say Indrid Cold is) utterly terrifying. When Klein receives THE phone call (you know which one!), I felt the very world-view that keeps me feeling safe very much under attack. Whenever I am in a dimly lit room, alone, I wonder how shaken I would be if such an event happened to me. The explanation for this, that there may be things beyond our primitive nature and capability to understand, is profoundly reasonable...

    Which brings me to my point: Most horror films are sold on the merit that they make you jump (sudden knife attacks, monsters leaping out, etc). The horror in The Mothman Prophecies is something entirely different, something profound, poignant, existential. It is a film that will reward the insightful, reflective and empathic individual (not the thrill-seeker), and will continue to scare and compel such individuals long after viewing ( for these reasons, I would recommend watching this by yourself).

    It is the departure from your typical horror/thriller which I believe warrants a 10 for The Mothman Prophecies. It is a film that adds something unique to the rich cinema tapestry. I could talk about the competent performances, the strange cinematography or the alleged origins of the story, but what really sets this film apart is the way it scares like no other in the genre by which it has been defined.
  • The film is simply terrific, fantastic special effects, good plot and a really shocking and surprising ending! This is really a horror film mixed with a thriller that has respected my own perspectives. I suggest it to all the people who liked films like "The sixth sense" and "The others"...It's almost a masterpiece of his genre!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    May contain spoilers

    Some people, perhaps most people go through life not really wondering about much. They go to work, punch the clock and then go home and do it all again the next day. But what about the ostensibly small percentage of people that seem to think, like Neo from the Matrix did, that there is just something not quite right with the world we inhabit? These people have a slightly askewed perspective of what is right, what is wrong and how it all comes together. These are the people that are always asking why? Why does something happen and in the greater scheme of things, how does it all matter? Is there really a reason for everything or do some things just happen....because?

    The Mothman Prophecies is a riveting story about how some people seem just slightly ahead of the rest of us. It is a story of trusting your feelings and not going mad or getting committed in the process. And finally it is one of the scariest films I have ever seen. Make no mistake about that.

    Based on true events.

    I read an article that stated that this is a film that Hollywood actually had to tone down. In most cases, when film makers get a hold of material, they have to beef it up to make it more palpable for an audience. But this is just the opposite. Mark Pellington had to simmer some of the events in the film because he felt that if they actually filmed what was purportedly claimed, the audience would not believe the absurdity those events. If that is the case, it frightens me to think what was left out because as it stands, this film is on the brink of utter temerity. There is a head first slide into the bizarre and the film never fails to literally chill your bones. No film that I can think of, and that includes my favourites like Jaws, Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street, has made me feel as helpless, insignificant or as small as this film does.

    Richard Gere plays John Klein, which one can only assume is really a character based on the novelist John A. Keel, who wrote about the events the film is based on. He is a Washington Post reporter who has just bought a new house with his wife, whom he loves very much. After a horrible car accident, his wife is hospitalized and just before she dies, she draws numerous pictures of what can only be described as an evil looking moth like creature, or perhaps even the Angel of Death. She begs the question to John, "You didn't see it did you?" Which begs the question to us, why not?

    Soon after, John ends up in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and has no recollection of arriving there. Here he meets Sgt. Connie Parker, played by Laura Linney and Gordon and Denise Smallwood, two of the locals. Soon after he arrives, strange things begin to happen and shortly he and Connie become entangled in an imbroglio with mysterious implications. Many of the locals claim they have seen something similar to what John's wife drew just before her death. And Gordon, played with pure twilight zonesque manerisms by Will Patton, seems to be the most affected by this phenomenon. He begins to hear voices, predicts future disasters, and finally claims to have met a mysterious figure. All the while Klein begins to see and hear unexplainable things. And here in, in my opinion, lies the key to the film.

    Mark Pellington, John A. Keel and screenwriter Richard Hatem, seem to explore the subliminal irrational workings of the unknown. There are too many subtle, yet distinct elements that show up in the film. But they are not at the surface, they are just beneath. They're in front of our eyes the whole time, but only if you look hard enough. Much of this film deals with paranormal activities and the paranoid revelations of the people in one town. But it doesn't stop there. Klein is from a town six hours away and eventually he seeks the opinion of a man in Chicago who wrote a book that claims he felt the same things. So there are people that have experienced these unexplainable phenoms all over the country. And this is where the film goes off into a level that I have never seen before.

    In order for people to have seen this figure or to be able to comprehend it, the film suggests that there has to be an open mind. As an old proverb once said, "the mind is like a parachute, it only works if you open it." Klein seems to have his eyes and mind wide open after his wife's death. He hasn't quite let go of her and this somehow enables him to communicate with whatever it is that is out there. There are times when whatever it is seems ripe with duplicity but more times than not, whatever this figure says, what he predicts, what he prophecises, it comes true. Klein's wife's death marks the nascency of his exploration into the abnormal.

    The theory of the unknown is what is dissected in such infintismal but succinct ways, that on a first viewing, you may not recognize them. We hear stories about people being committed to psyche hospitals because of their failed attempted interpretations. We hear of people that claim they are being watched by a higher being, but feeling this is not really God-like and not really evil. It is just an entity. We see people predict future disasters, we see dreams that prophecize death. And all the while, these people are looked upon as being pariahs. It is much easier to get up, go to work and watch television than it is to think and perhaps accept the fact that there is something just beyond our control that lurks in murky places in our minds. There is even further sublime evidence that the director and writers feel this way. There are constant anomalous images filmed with an ethereal glance. These are images that we now take for granted without batting an eyelash. Things like phones, televisions, pictures and electricity are all given to us in metaphoric and literal glimpses. The creators of this film seem to be telling us that if we can believe in the use of technology, technology like capturing a moment in time on a piece of paper or if we can receive someone's voice transmitting hours away through a few cords and wires, then why is it preposterously inconceivable that Dark Angels or Mothmen really do exist? Perhaps, like the film tells us, they only exist to those of us that can open our stagnant minds a little more than the next person.

    More times than can be counted, horror films insult us with loud computer generated noises and blood that seeps from the walls and CG monsters that chase characters that no one cares about. It is easier to make a horror movie like the modern version of the Haunting or the modern version of 13 Ghosts. Those are paint by number horror flicks that require no thought and no effort. But when you get a master like Shyamalan and now Pellington, creators that are intransigent in their beliefs and vision, it creates pictures that not only scare you to your very soul, they create pictures that open your eyes and minds to whole other possibilities. Mark Pellington has now proven to me that he is a master. Arlington Road was a surprising film that left you paralyzed with fear and your mind spewing questions long after the curtains came up. The Mothman Prophecies (especially for horror fans) will invoke discussions long after the lights come on. I realize this review may be a little long but this is the tip of the iceberg when it comes all that can be discussed in the film. There is a whole other religious element to the movie that hasn't even been explored. For instance, notice that both major events in the film happen on Christmas Eve. Why?

    One final note to critics that lambaste this film for all of it's so called short comings. True, this film does not offer an explanation or a true conclusion to what took place. But isn't that just the perfect note for it to end on? According to the prophet-like character, Alexander Leek, you are not supposed to understand this phenom. He tells Klein that you will go mad trying to figure it out. This is the only way to end the film. In a lesser film with an inferior director and writer, this film would have culminated with Klein and Connie finding some ancient manuscript in the basement of the library that tells them how to destroy it. They would have went to hallowed ground and summoned it and gotten rid of it. But this is not the tenth sequel of Friday the 13th and this certainly isn't ( with all due respect to Miner and Cunningham) Steve Miner and Sean Cunningham. This is an astute director teamed with a cunning and observant writer who believe in the pulchritude and darkness of the story and give it the respect that it deserves. This is not only one of the best horror films I have ever seen, it is one of the best films I have experienced in my 30 years. This is the pinnacle of film making from all parties involved.


    ***One final note. I just wanted to give special mention to the entire sound crew who did such a brilliant job with this film. Pellington and Hatem collaborated beautifully to give me one of the most harrowing experiences I have been privy to in a theater, but the film would not have been quite as pulse pounding if it weren't for the sound team. Kelly Cabral, Pud Cusack, Claude Letessier, David Parker, Ross Simpson and Mark Jan Wlodarkiewicz working with musical composers Tom Hajdu, Andy Milburn and Jeff Rona created some of the creepiest sounds and musical overtures in quite some time. When you think of great music and sounds from the horror genre, you think of Carpenter's eerie piano piece from Halloween, Charles Bernstein's dream-like haunting score from Nightmare On Elm Street and John Williams ominous cello from Jaws. This is on par with all of those. And even though this team of musicians may never know it, your work is appreciated by all of who love horror films. Thanks.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    If you're a fan of a good psychological scare, this film will stick with you for a long time. Richard Gere stars as John Klein, a Washington newspaper reporter who encounters a moth-like apparition driving home with his wife late one night. His wife dies mysteriously after the ensuing car accident and Klein becomes convinced this apparition was to blame. When he hears of similar sightings (a tall, thin, humanoid creature with moth-like wings and red glowing eyes) in a rural West Virginia town, he becomes obsessed with finding the truth.

    Overall, this movie leaves you unsettled. The scares are like fleeting movement in the corner of a dark room. The viewer's discomfort is related to what's not seen and not understood. The more Klein tries to learn the truth, the more it seems clear he's in a losing battle. He looks like a man caught in a giant hamster wheel, running in circles, never moving any closer to understanding the reality of the Mothman. Over time, he begins to get calls from a "voice" calling itself Indrid Cold. These are some of the creepier phone conversations you'll ever hear. Is this really the Mothman contacting Klein with strange prophecies? Or is Klein just losing his grip on reality?

    The film is very loosely inspired by John A. Keel's book describing actual events that happening in West Virginia some 30-40 years ago. Other than the Appalachian setting and the general Mothman mythology, the film doesn't share much in common with the book. The book is far less interesting. Keel was essentially a UFO conspiracy theorist and associated the Mothman appearances with many UFO sightings that occurred during the same period. The movie is much more sophisticated (although highly fictionalized) and keeps the Mothman's origins far more mysterious.

    This film is for viewers who aren't afraid to be left with a lot of questions. It's clear early on Klein has become involved with something that's probably beyond human comprehension. The physical manifestation of the Mothman is never clearly seen or understood; it's more like a dark, malevolent shadow hanging over the small town. The atmosphere is relentlessly dark, creepy and unforgettable. You'll definitely be worried about a pair of red, glowing eyes appearing outside your window at night.
  • jwillcox-27 June 2006
    This was a great "throwback" film that did quite a bit to your imagination without showing you everything. Best work Gere has done and the audio effects were fantastic. I do business in Ohio and plan to visit Point Pleasant out of the curiosity that this film caused for me. Great soundtrack too, especially the ending song for credits entitled "Half Light." The use of light in the shooting of the film was brilliant, with everything seeming to happen at dusk, especially the collapse of the bridge at the end. This was an excellent cross between a mind thriller and a horror movie. The use of the strange phone calls was very clever and quite chilling, especially the scene in which Gere is asking the entity what he is holding etc. while on the phone with him.
  • The Mothman Prophecies is a creepy thriller that doesn't make as big as an impact as you would expect. Based on true events, the film examines a series of inexplicable occurrences through the eyes - and mind - of one man played by Richard Gere. The plot sounds creepy and the fact that its based on true events sure makes it more engaging. The film looks and sounds scary as well and there are a few scenes that are bound to get underneath your skin. The film is still kind of disappointing as they don't really explain the movie so well and your left with too many unanswered questions. Sometimes its hard to take the movie seriously as there are some scenes that don't make sense or that the scene kind of feels like a joke. Like said before though, the film should still creep underneath your skin. Richard Gere stars and he gives a very good performance. He makes up for starring in that awful film called Autumn in New York. Laura Linney also does a good and these two really keep the film moving. Mark Pellington directs and he does a good job of keeping the film at a nice pace and making the film look creepy. The ending was done decently and it sure makes you think about what happens. The Mothman Prophecies will leave its mark on you and you may have trouble getting it out of your head when its time to go to sleep. The film is almost two hours long so you may start to get bored if you find the film to be stupid. Pretty much if you like the X-Files or The Forgotten then you should enjoy this thriller. The Mothman Prophecies may not be top notch thriller but its still worth checking out and will make a good rental to watch at night. Rating 6.7/10 a sometimes scary thriller that's worth checking out.
  • buzznzipp199522 December 2006
    With a story that has events taken from real life, it always has a higher chill factor. Again, I don't get-off, on slasher or horror flicks. The thing that does get to me and always has, is, things that could or did actually happened. The acting, albeit I am not a real, Gear fan per say, but the character that he played was done to the bone. This is the story of John and Mary Klein, newlyweds.

    I felt the hair stand up on the back of my neck, in 2002 when I went to see this. It was the perfect time of year for a story of mystery and horror. It was set right in fall, turning into winter. Debra Messing was a young and beautiful wife to Richard Gear's character, they seemed at very least, to be the perfect little young couple. From, the house hunting mission that they were on, to the trip back to their home, when the first symbol appeared, it was very chilling. The type of scare, that is deep settling and the onset of an abrupt frigidness encompasses your body. The man that he John went to meet in regard to the 'phone-call' played by the very talented Will Patton, (Gordon Smallwood) was an eerie outing, that proved deadly for Patton's character. The Priest that met with Klein, to explain some of the occurrences, but not all.

    Right on down to the drive that should have taken four or five hours, that seemed only, twenty minutes to the primary character, played by Richard Gear. I can say I have felt that I have been in that situation before. A sort of 'time' mystery traveling. I walked out of the theater, with a thoroughly washed out emotional chill factor inside of me. It was strange. The real stuff always is to me though.

    A couple years later, I saw it again in 2004, at home after renting it and with the lights out, at 12 midnight, the chilling effect doesn't grow weaker! This film, whether some are impressed or not, is a solid 'spine-tingler'. I rarely get moved by a film with shocking, or even scary stories, but as this one was told, I have to say, this was brilliant in it's execution.

    The players, were convincing, with these people at the helm of the story, it came across feeling cold and real. The hairs on my neck stood up a couple times! For me thats quite an accomplishment. The temp in my home seemed cooler, as the story went on. The fact that there were no phony-phony looking effects of ghoulish, slasher type action, in the story made it hit home even deeper. This was a highly well crafted thrill cast.

    I recommend this for anyone looking to be mesmerized by a well-told

    story,that will intrigue just about anyone. (***)
  • There is much discussion about how much of this film is factual and how much is made up for the fun of the film. I am a West Virginian who visits Pt. Pleasant often because it is an interesting town with Revolutionary War history and such, and I can say that this film is mostly fiction, but that's okay!

    The true facts are these: Many different people saw the mothman creatures in the late 60's in the Pt. Pleasant area. There were no direct warnings or communications, simply specters without explanation. These phantoms were taken seriously only because--as noted by Laura Linney in the film--they were seen not by flakes or freaks, but by responsible members of the community.

    The Silver Bridge did collapse after a period of the mothman sightings, and they were never seen or reported again in the region since.

    It should be noted that in this, region the mothman sightings and the bridge collapse are seen as two separate incidents. People around here really don't perceive the mothmen as auguries of the bridge collapse. However connecting those dots for the book and film creates for a clever scenario--barring any disrespect to those who died in the bridge collapse.

    That most of this film is a trumped up version of the actual events shouldn't matter. The film is merely exploring the scenario, and by using a real town with a real story, it draws us into the sense of community and fear that could pervade if such things did occur.

    The film is very well done and very effective in its use of paranoia and our fear of the unknown. There is no axe murderer roaming the woods; no monsters shown with giant fangs. Only the brief, fleeting images of the mothmen and their unexplained presence.

    Director Mark Pellington is great at using very few tricks to accomplish a lot of atmosphere. He is respectful to the people of Pt. Pleasant and West Virginia, and never takes the low road of playing the people off as rubes. It is that smart decision which makes this film work. If we didn't respect the community, we would never be drawn into this world.

    Richard Gere gives his usual excellent performance, and continues to be one of the most under-appreciated actors when it comes award time each year. He is the definition of a rational and intelligent man drawn into a situation that overwhelms him.

    Laura Linney is also excellent, and as a West Virginian myself, I must say she plays a Mountaineer (our parlance for West Virginian) better than any actors I can think of since those in "Matewan." She never condescends to the character, and employs an excellent dialect which is just as subtle as the dialect one would find in Pt. Pleasant, instead of the overbearing hillbilly dialects other actors often employ. Linney continues to amaze with subtlety and I am always looking forward to more of her work.

    Debra Messing has a brief role, but she does make a mark and get a chance to show that she has dramatic acting chops which she refined onstage in roles such as "Angels in America." I would like to see her in more dramatic work since I enjoy her comedic work on "Will & Grace" each week.

    I also thought Alan Bates made a marvelous turn in the film as a professor (in more sense than one) of the mothman. He has some great lines, including, when Gere asks why the mothmen don't explain their presence if they are superior creatures: "You are superior to a cockroach; do you ever bother to explain yourself to a cockroach?"

    At the end of the film a title says that the cause of the bridge collapse was never known. This is a classic example of Hollywood having fun, since the cause was never a mystery at all. The bridge was designed with what was called an I-bar, which meant the entire bridge was held up with one single joint! It rusted and snapped under the weight of stopped holiday traffic (as shown in the film). Because of this, such bridges all over the nation were shut down and subsequently replaced. The Silver Bridge collapse remains the worst bridge disaster in American history. The collapse scenes are terrifying, yet respectful of the actual tragedy.

    Kudos to Pellington and his marvelous cast for making such a thought-provoking and engaging film.

    It should be noted that Pt. Pleasant has a great sense of humor about the mothmen, and they even have events for people to come and enjoy the lore. If you are in the region stop by downtown and find some fun paraphernalia.
  • Director Mark Pellington has Made Two Very Interesting and Offbeat Movies that are Underrated and have a Unique Style that seems to be an Uneasy Fit with Mainstream Audiences and Critics. Arlington Road (1999) and The Mothman Prophecies.

    This One is a Creepy, Haunting, Freaky Paranormal Story based on Real Events and John Keel's Book of the Same Name (1975). The Book is an Underground Classic and a Staple in the Investigations that are Sometimes Categorized as Alternative News.

    This is a Great Interpretation of the Book and the Events and the Director took a High Style Approach and it Fits Perfectly. There Really is No Monster or Creature Except on the Edge. The Image Appears in Blurs and just Inside the Frame and Inside the Mind with some Physical Imprint Remains, like on a Tree or the Grill of a Car.

    Nothing is Ever Clear or Precise. The Cinematography is Excellent with a lot of Patterned Transitional Out of Focus Shots, Perhaps could be called Psychedelic, that Convey the Fuzzy Encounters of The Mothman by the Citizens of Pt. Pleasant. This is a Beautiful, Colorful, Surreal Movie that is Subtle and is Presented with Chills and Hair Raising Situations that are Moody and Heart Wrenching.

    This is not a Monster Movie or a Horror Film Per Se. Recommended for Fans of the Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, The X-Files, and the Paranormal. Sure to be a Cult Movie because this One is Decidedly Different.
  • There's a good 5 minute story buried in this subjectively shot movie that tries too hard and utterly fails to scare. I was filled with dread as the credits appeared over a meaningless running shot of office fluorescent lights and close-ups of everyday, irrelevant, inherently unscary objects. As the film progresses we get more irrelevant close-ups, disorienting angles, hand-held camera shots, rapid editing and fast drum-beat soundtrack. And more close-ups. Soon you'll be wishing you took some dramamine. The movie tries to make EVERYTHING scary, with the result that nothing seems scary. There are a few standard "jolts" when something appears out of nowhere - the usual filmic way of saying "Boo." But after a dozen times of the now-cliche camera zooming to and away from a character, the panicked look he's left with seems probably caused by a sudden camera in the face rather than a ghost. The creepiest-potential moment when Indrid Cole (aka Kindred Spirit?) phones our hero is dissipated by the excessive layering of visuals. Soon any plot or sense of realism is lost - what about our hero's job? what day or night is it? what does he do most of the time in Point Pleasant? why and how does his initial meeting with a young couple happen at night in the quarry instead of the day, and do they really mention all the sexual details we see as they relate their mothman encounter? All the irrelevent camera shots encourage the viewer to ponder irrelevent questions: Is that little guy in the sound lab making a music CD of his glass-lip rubbing? Do ethereal mothfolk really leave slime when hit by a car, and are there accident attorney mothpeople that represent them in mothcourt? To make something creepy or uncanny you need some realism to subvert, as one can see in "One step beyond" and "Xfiles." By becoming more and more erratic, this movie not only seems unbelievable but manages to undermine the credibility of the real events.
  • Mothman Prophecies brought for me that genuine emotion of "the unknown". Brilliantly executed cliffhangers and screenplay made it all the more worthwhile. Gere & Laura Linney were great, Will Patton's character symbolises from the viewers point of a person from the outside looking in. The steady cam shots really boosted the films performance in general.

    Having never read the book and knowing very little about the real events other then a couple wikipedia searches, I was thrown into a whole new world in terms of the subject matter. Even though I don't believe in ghosts and the ending credits rolled I was left with a question whispering in my head "could it be real?". And that I think must've have been director Mark Pellington's intention because wow; it's been a long time since I've had the opportunity to see a film that although styled like a horror - really brings out the human aspect of fear rather than a dramatical gore fest with no real back story.

    One last thing, the score and choice of soundtrack has to be heavily credited; there's some scenes in this film where you start becoming unconscious of your own breathing and really dive right into what's being thrown at you. So, in conclusion this is definitely worth adding to my collection. Whether true or fictitious The Mothman Prophecies definitely delivers quality entertainment with a twist!
  • One common thread seemingly shared by all those who did not like this movie, aside from the fact their brains never developed beyond puberty, is their total incapacity to verbalise WHY they didn't like it or what aspects they believed should have been bettered, not to mention, HOW they personally would have gone about this reformation themselves? It is of little consequence I suppose - cerebral implosion has always interested me as a physiological condition. That this great film has inspired a universal rating of only 6.6 bears testament to my belief that today's viewing audience are, for the most part cretins - or getting there! I realise also that these comments most likely condemn this review never to be published, since the IMDb frowns heavily (and funnily enough I agree with this policy) on the slating of other IMDb reviewers. This particular film however incites my anger towards these negative and terminally limited people, like no other I can recall!

    Together with RED CORNER, AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN, PRETTY WOMAN and PRIMAL FEAR (not necessarily in that order), THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES is up there with Gere's best work. It's up there with ANYONE'S best work! In essence a brilliant movie length episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE, it was always going to be a failure to those expecting MOTH MAN to be leaping out of the screen with slavering maw (the cretins better look that one up!), rancid breath and flesh-stripping claws. This is no "action" movie as one cranially displaced reviewer complained. It is a film that you must work WITH, listen TO and build upon! Mark Pellington directed his guts out with this one and he has produced an unequivocal winner, vastly superior in my view to even ARLINGTON ROAD which though interesting was a bit "iffy" towards the conclusion I thought.

    The briefest of plot outlines follows. Gere is a reporter for the Washington Post. He is very much in love with his wife. Following an auto run-in, she is hospitalised and diagnosed with a rare form of brain tumor. Before she dies she leaves several extremely strange sketches of "something" on a notepad. Gere later finds himself on a road to Pleasant County having no idea how he got there (and wishing to divulge nothing further) comes across many uniquely odd and supernatural turns. He is convinced some terrible tragedy will strike the township. Does it? Is he one step short of a psycho ward? Is this the greatest suspense movie of all time? Maybe you had better watch it!

    Will Patton gives an absolutely riveting support performance but there again - EVERYONE here is just about out of their tree. Cinematography, script, production values are ALL just superb. Despite what others may say, there is not one boring moment in this film if you have ANY awareness at all! The conclusion (and let's forget the minority who think they "saw it coming" - THEY DIDN'T) is so well done. both emotionally and effect wise, it lifts the film so far above others of its ilk its not funny! Blows THE SIXTH SENSE, THE OTHERS etc out of the water.

    If you're reading this Richard, thanks for a superb and thoughtful performance, for me personally, it was the film of the decade!
  • I'm not usually afraid of horror movies. Startled - maybe, distirbed - by some, but never actually afraid. This film utterly terrified me. Without any use of cheap scares, overly produced effects, clichés and so on. It builds a thick atmosphere of dread, of looming demise, which never dilutes until the end credits, just by character building, amazing sound design and soundtrack. It made me unbelievably tense, not because I was waiting for a jump scare (there aren't almost any, and none felt cheap, unearned or meaningless), but because of that overwhelming sense of pure terror and imminent tragedy, that culminates in an amazing ending. I was very close to tears during most of the runtime because of that atmosphere. I might be exaggerating, and you might not react to this movie the same way I did, I am just sharing my experience. I'll leave you with this - the event in the ending actually happened.
  • I just saw this movie tonight and I wasted my dollar (it was at a discount theater). By the end of the movie with its extremely predictable tie-it-all-together ending I was crying out loud for the movie to end. Even though it is about two hours long it felt like three and a half. This might be a result from the terribly slow beginning (which never picks up). I read the happy review of this movie on this webpage and went in with some decent expectations. NOPE! *make bomb dropping sounds here* I kept waiting for something to happen. Maybe that was the real sitting on the edge of my seat feeling that the supporters of this movie had. Blah. I was not scared. I was not forced to think about "what if we arent alone or we dont control everything!" OH MY! Dang I can't bash this movie enough. I think I am going to make my own website like to really tell you people what I think. ARRRGGGHHHHH!!!! I feel so empty. I need a hug and someone to tell me everything is alright. I hope the mothman doesnt get me.....
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