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The Mothman Prophecies
Sony Pictures, VHS, DVD, 2002, Rated PG-13, 1 hr. 59 min.
The Mothman Prophecies is definitely a creepy movie, but beyond that, it's hard to say anything good about it. It has an overall dark and eerie feeling, but you never quite connect with the characters and I found myself looking at my watch far too frequently.
A big problem for me was that, in trying to build the suspense, the writers waited too long to tell the viewers what the Mothman Prophecies are. Now, some will argue that it's a well-known fact what the Mothman Prophecies are, but I didn't know. For those of you as uninitiated as I was, the Mothman is a creature whose sightings, some believe, precedes tragic events. Not knowing this, I spent the first part of the movie thinking I had missed something.
This film centers around reporter John Klein (Richard Gere), whose wife Mary (Debra Messing) is badly injured in a car accident moments after seeing the Mothman. In the hospital, Mary begins drawing disturbing figures - the Mothman - right before she dies.
Distraught over her death, Klein finds himself on a drive to nowhere from his home in Washington, D.C. He ends up in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. The only problem is is 400 miles from where he thought he was. He discovers strange happenings in the little town, which he thinks could be connected to Mary's drawings and, with the help of Connie Parker (Laura Linney), the town Sheriff, he stays in the town to investigate.
I've never been a big Richard Gere fan, finding his emotional range like that of an orange. And I was not proven wrong here. Whether it was the writing or his acting, Klein never really came alive for me.
Will Patton is great at Gordon Smallwood, a man being torn apart by strange sightings of the Mothman. I have always liked his performances, especially in No Way Out with Kevin Costner. He brings his "man on the verge" performances to life and makes you worry about his sanity by just looking at him.
Laura Linney is a great actress who deserved better character development than what was given here. As Connie Parker, she is an attractive and single woman who immediately opens herself up to Klein - very predictable. According to most movies I see now days, all you have to do if you're looking for love is travel to a small town. Apparently, single, attractive, and trusting people are all abound waiting for you to ride into town and fall in love with them... Even though Parker has been experiencing strange phenomena in her town, I find it a stretch that she would just believe and trust Klein and his non-conventional theories immediately.
I would have liked to see more of Debra Messing as Klein's wife, but she dies almost immediately in the movie.
All in all, I think there was a real opportunity here to tell a fascinating and gripping story about the Mothman, but it just didn't happen.
While I agree with the majority of the Hauntmistress' review I found The Mothman Prophecies to be extremely scary and engrossing. Perhaps my previous exposure to the Mothman story affected my perception but I don't think so as it wasn't what I envisioned it would be going in. Even so, I was thoroughly spooked by Pellington's vision of the Mothman and found the fact we are initially left in the dark as to what is happening really sucked me into the story. I'm not normally a fan of Richard Gere either but I thought he did an outstanding job. I really believed his portrayal of a man on the edge, locked into a mystery he can't solve.
If there is a fault it would be the Hollywood touch. I've said it before and I'll keep saying it.... not every story has, nor needs, a love interest! Now having said that the romance between Connie and John actually works to develop the story. We get to see deeper into John's compulsions and how truly odd and disturbing the events of The Mothman Prophecies are to both the people in the center of the mystery and those viewing it from outside.
One more thing I would like to point out, the Hauntmistress and I watched the movie independently. I was off doing other things as she viewed it. Needing something in another room I had to pass by the room where she was viewing the movie. I was immediately called into the room and asked to watch with her as she was completely spooked by The Mothman Prophecies. This, in and of itself, is enough for me to urge everyone to go out and rent this wonderful movie but it's also genuinely scary and engrossing. Rent The Mothman Prophecies today, you won't be disappointed!
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Reviewed by: Hauntmistress 9/01/2002
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