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on January 23, 2002
I caught this film at a sneak preview (the film won't be out until 3 days from now in my area), and I got to tell you I was very impressed. I have seen almost every horro/supernatural film, and I like to say I can predict them all very easily.
The movie challenged me. I had no clue what was going to happen. Richard Gere and Laura Linney (who were so great together in "Primal Fear"), have great chemistry on screen, and it was a joy to see the two of them together again. Richard Gere plays a Washington Post journalist who, after getting in an accident with his wife, finds his life turned upside down. Winding up in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, he encounters a man who claims (well, I don't want to ruin the surprise). Staying in town to research the strange claims that the locals have made, he finds an ally in local cop (Linney) who explains that for the past couple of months, "strange things have been happening", with even the most upstanding citizen claiming to have seen "something". The film puts you off kilter with its eerie shots, dark nights, and even the ringing of the telephone is enough to put your nerves on edge, because you know something strange is going on, but what is it? The climax of the film was very intense, and I found myself with my knees drawn up to my chin (thank God for stadium seating). If you want to see a different type of thriller that focuses more on story and atmosphere than blood and gore, then go see "The Mothman Prophecies"
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Certainly "The Mothman Prophecies" reminds me more of "The Blair Witch Project" than any other film I have seen. Both films become almost oppressive in their use of cinematic cues that something is about to happen (a feeling propelled mainly by the ominipresent eerie music in "Mothman") and you are not quite sure what the hell happens in either movie. Director Mark Pellington definitely does a nice job of putting the audience into the perspective of the protagonist, John Klein (Richard Gere) as he tries to unravel this mystery.
The hook for this film is a car accident in which a sudden mothlike image startles Klein's wife, Mary (Debra Messing). The resulting accident is not fatal, but leads to the discovery of a brain tumor that proves to be. Klein is haunted by not only Mary's death, but her dying wish that he be happy and her frantic question, "Didn't you see it?" After her death he discovers she has drawn pages of disturbing mothlike images.
We then jump ahead two years to the line. Klein, a political reporter for the Washington Post (and therefore a cynical skeptic by occupation if not temperment) leaves at 1 a.m. for Richmond. But at 2:30 he finds his car breaking down near a house in Point Pleasant, West Virginia--400 miles away--with no memory of how he got there. Curiouser and curiouser, when he knock on the door of Gordon Smallwood (Will Patton), he is threatened with a shotgun and told this is the third night in a row he has come knocking on the door.
The sinker is Connie Mills (Laura Linney), the local cop who saves Klein from Gordon and who admits that strange things have been happening in this neck of the woods for quite some time, usually having something to do with disturbing mothlike images. You might think that there is an inevitable romance to be had here between Klein and Connie, but whatever attraction exists between the two is nothing in the face of the growing mystery.
One of the reasons "The Mothman Prophecies" creates such a sense of disquiet in the audience is that we are not sure exactly how to read the film. Should we be thinking straightforward gothic horror or something more along the lines of science fiction? Eventually I came to the conclusion that part of the dynamic of this film was that we were not supposed to figure it out; indeed, you cannot. I watched the film a second time specifically to try and make pieces fit (no, did not read the book, but am interested in doing so given the comments of other reviewers), and I could not do it. Nor could I really lay out the powers of the Mothman in a way that would be particularly helpful. Indeed, I became so wary in this film that I was unwilling to believe phone calls were from the characters we heard unless we actually saw the person talking to Klein on the other end of the connection.
Gere's character is trying to proceed in good old journalistic fashion, but is constantly left befuddled by the people he talks to and the events he witnesses. Linney provides the stability in the film, not just to Gere's character but to the entire situation. The emotional heart of the film is Patton, as the local guy caught up in events beyond his wildest imagaintion, although Lucinda Jenney, playing his wife Denise, provides wonderful support (her scene in the hall of the hospital where she offers her husband total support is the small acting gem in the film).
"The Mothman Prophecies" is not a conventional horror film, and I suspect that those who have the most trouble with it will be those least satisfied by unconventional films. Ultimately, this is a film (and a story) where the questions are more important that the answers. The fact that those answers are virtually nonexistent only underscores the point that we are not supposed to know what is going on. Actually, there is something to be said for a film that reduces both its main characters and audience alike to asking themselves "What just happened?" and "What does it mean?"
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on June 22, 2002
If you read The Mothman Prophecies you may be disappointed in this movie. While it has some elements of John Keel's story, it is a total departure from what supposedly really happened.
I first heard about the Mothman in some obscure UFO rag in the 1970s. It is an interesting story of a town visited by a giant flying creature, the real Men-in-Black, and an alien (Indrid Cold) over a period of time. All this strangness culminates in a bridge collapse that killed a number of people. Afterward, life returned to normal for this small town in West Virginia.
John Keel heard of the sightings at the time they were occurring and visited the town and befriended a number of people who witnessed the various phenomena. There were many strange things going on indeed, phones ringing with mechanical voices on the other end, UFOs being seen, cars being chased at 100 MPH by a huge winged creature and strange looking men in black suits asking people weird questions. Keel himself experienced some of the weirdness when a phone started ringing that was not plugged in. He also on numerous occasions heard someone banging on the wall, even though there was no one there.
The movie, with a present day timeline (VS the 1960s) casts Richard Gere as Keel's character. So right off from the start the movie strays from the "real" story. There are some elements that are supposedly true. The Mothman was seen by numerous people on roofs and in yards like in the movie. Gere sees a strange light in the sky and has "missing" time. There were strange lights seen in the sky during the Mothman time period. Indrid Cold, an "alien" appeared to at least one individual in the real story. In the movie he is calling Keel and almost is used like a fusion of the real story of Indrid Cold and the MIB seen all over town.
The movie has good acting and you do get this feeling of something weird is going on. It definately has a creepy atmosphere, probably due to most scenes being shoot in winter with overcast skies or at night. I have to say that without a doubt this DVD has one of the best Dolby Digital 5.1 sound tracks of any DVD I have seen (including the Matix, ID4 and Armageddon). I had seen this at the movies and when I got the DVD I watched it in broad daylight, with the volume turned up a notch, and the first scene with the Mothman/car crash still made me jump out of my seat.
If you know the story and realize that this movie only touches on a few aspects of it you most likely enjoy it. If you have no clue to what the "real" story is but like creepy movies, I think you'll enjoy this movie too.
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on June 14, 2002

(USA - 2001)

Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 (Super 35)
Theatrical soundtracks: Dolby Digital / DTS / SDDS

Following the loss of his wife in a fatal traffic accident, a successful journalist (Richard Gere) is strangely drawn to the small town of Point Pleasant in West Virginia where sightings of a weird moth-like creature appear to foretell a devastating tragedy...

Mark Pellington's portentous drama claims to be based on actual events surrounding a disaster on the Ohio River in 1967. Stylish to a fault, the film develops a keen sense of foreboding as Gere's world is transformed by his wife's mysterious death, leading to a series of genuinely creepy episodes as soon as he arrives in Point Pleasant (eg. Gere's 'first' encounter with Will Patton, his 'telephone conversation' with the Mothman, etc.). Apparently, neither Gere nor director Pellington were interested in making a conventional 'monster movie', opting instead for a series of bizarre plot twists and sudden shocks, linked to various glimpses of the title creature in a number of clever disguises.

Scripted by Richard Hatem (UNDER SIEGE 2) and based on John A. Keel's non-fiction book (an overview of the entire Mothman phenomenon), the film exhausts its sleight-of-hand trickery around the halfway mark and subsequently loses some of its forward momentum, despite a welcome cameo appearance by acting heavyweight Alan Bates as a grizzled professor whose personal encounters with the eponymous Mothman have reduced him to a shadow of his former self. Elsewhere, the movie is lifted by an explosive climax, but this remarkable sequence seems a little hollow and inconclusive, despite the elaborate pyrotechnics, perhaps because the characters have been kept at arms-length throughout the narrative, playing second fiddle to the unfolding mystery.

For all its drawbacks, however, THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES - clearly inspired by the recent popular success of like-minded chillers THE BALIR WITCH PROJECT (1999) and THE SIXTH SENSE (1999) - is mature, intelligent, and often deeply unsettling, and both Laura Linney (TALES OF THE CITY) and Debra Messing ("Will & Grace") are excellent in crucial supporting roles. Good title, too.
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on April 10, 2002
In this movie, Richard Gere plays a journalist whose wife dies mysteriously after some bizarre entity strikes their car. Two years later, still grieving, he is driving from Washington to Richmond one night but finds himself mysteriously transported to the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. There he finds the town in an uproar over bizarre sitings, the suggestion being that they are encounters with an entity not unlike what led to his wife's death. There he meets a small-town cop, played by Laura Linney. Their interaction is at first quite hokey. She's utterly paranoid that he will stereotype her as a country bumpkin, deeply resenting what she suspects. In so being and doing, she stereotypes him at least every bit as much as she's suspecting him of stereotyping her. Fortunately they get over that potential impasse in time for the movie to have a lot of suspense and drama as the polt unfolds. In the process we learn some about the title prophetic entity. The characters face some dangers and there is a struggle over who will survive the rampage of "Mothman". Otherwise little about that being is made clear, but what does happen, once the action gets wound up, is entrtaining.
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on July 24, 2002
Okay: this is a movie that I had been avoiding for quite some time because of all the poor word-of-mouth it seems to have received. I'm not a fan of Richard Gere, and I do not care for modern fare such as "I Know What You Did Last Summer" or the countless Jason and "Halloween" re-hashings. I am, admittedly, a person that is VERY difficult to please in the whole "horror" experience. That said, I REALLY enjoyed this movie. A lot. Perhaps the fact I wasn't expecting much helped me enjoy it more, but I honestly feel the film's merits had more to do with that than any state of mind I may have been in. This is the first movie in quite some time that has genuinely creeped me out to the point where I actually turned the lights OFF so that I could revel in that all-too-seldom experience. I did not find it slow, or overly-long, or boring in any respect. And I'm not even claiming ownership of a wider than average attention span. My honest opinion as to why so many people seem to have been turned off by this movie is the fact that at some undiscernible point in the movie, it stops being a horror movie and starts becoming something else. A bold move, in my opinion, which unfortunately seems to have alienated the movie-going throngs hungry for your typical violent, bloody, lame climax. "The Mothman Prophecies" is a movie that should satisfy anyone with an imagination who longs for the days when scary movies were actually scary, and should rightfully displease those whose idea of a good scare is only equivalent to the splatter-content therein. Those are my two-bits, thanks for listening.
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on January 8, 2002
This is a movie based on things that happened in real life, sighting that people have seen of a monster, lots of the information provided here was taken from many sources!!!The Mothman saved some from the hands of death and sent others to an early grave. For 3 years a dark apparition terrified a sleepy West Virginia town, many citizens claim they saw him, is it true? What The Mothman is we will never know, though he hasn't been seen in a long time. From the first time the Mothman appeared in Point Pleasant, West Virginia in early 1964, people have been supplying their own theories about what 'it' was, where he came from, and what his purpose was. Some thought the Mothman was an angel or a devil. With all the UFOs people spotted in the skies, some thought it only natural to assume the Mothman was an alien. Others believed he was the terrifying climax of a 200 year old curse. The truly skeptical decided it was nothing more than a bird and a dose of wild imagination... until the Mothman appeared to them. But in the absence of hard evidence, one guess is as good as another and we may never know...
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VINE VOICEon December 17, 2007
Few movies are as creepy as this one, mainly because there's quite an element in truth to the horror. Compare it to "The Exorcist" or maybe "Ghost Story" (with Fred Astaire).

It's all about the people in a small West Virginia town on the Ohio River who suddenly become plagued with sightings of a VERY scary entity, The Mothman. A big-city newspaper reporter gets on the story and finds a lot more than he bargained for.

The Mothman is supposedly associated with an old Shawnee Indian curse on the whites as a result of The Battle of Point Pleasant. Given that basis for the appearance of The Mothman, The Silver Bridge, which spans the Ohio River, fell on a cold December night during the rush hour and many people were killed.

This part, anyway, is true... on 12/15/67 The Silver Bridge DID actually fall and 46 people were killed! That's what makes this movie so creepy, in part. The Mothman was blamed by many for the tragedy. I recall clearly the night that this bridge fell and actually had a close friend who had crossed the bridge about an hour prior to the disaster, so this movie is really personal for me.

The other facet of creepiness in this film is that it is simply well-done, brilliantly directed and perfectly cast.

This movie has been a real sleeper and if you haven't seen it, do so. But be ready for the fact that you might not sleep so good on the night that you do!
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on January 26, 2002
Richard Gere plays Washington Post writer John Klein who's wife Mary Klein, played by Debra Messing, suddenly sees a strange creature and gets in a car accident. A few days later she dies of a suposed brain tumbor, which plagues John's mind still two years later. Suddenly John ends up in a small West Virginia town called "Point Pleasent", which at the moment is being plagued itself by numerous sightings of a so called "Moth Man", a creature that looks to be half man and half moth. Slowly John is drawn into the sightings, trying to figure what is going on, and in the process falls in love with a local police officer, played by Laura Linney.
"THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES" is based on true events that happened in Point Pleasent, West Virginia in 1966 - 1967, obviously the film is updated to these times to make a bit more modern. The tone of the film stays in the same tone throughout the film, with all the intensity and drama at an always high. All the cast give great performances, especially Debra Messing who has the smallest role in the film. The film has been dubbed a thriller but with all its creepy moments and its terrifying climax, I can assure you the film is nothing but horrifying.
Grade: A+
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on September 28, 2015
One of my all time favorite movies, I don't care what anyone says; the transfer is excellent and the special features (making of, etc.) are also excellent. Knowing the background of this movie and listening to the author of the book it's based on is somewhat fundamental to understanding and knowing what this movie is based on (factual events). It's pretty amazing to me that this actually happened and that people (LOTS of them) really saw the 'Mothman'. As often as this happened over the centuries and has rarely been reported on makes this movie even more of a mystery. If you haven't seen it, you owe it to yourself to purchase and watch this movie. The acting is GREAT and the production and filming are superior to most movies I've watch. HIGHLY recommended.
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