STARRING: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Will Patton, Debra Messing,
Shane Callahan

2002, 119 Minutes, Directed by:
Mark Pellington

The wife of a Washington Post reporter (played by Richard Gere) dies of a rare disease after a car accident involving a mysterious moth-like creature.

Years later, still stricken by grief, the reporter arrives by accident at a small American town where more sightings of the moth-like creature have been reported. It is obvious that the reporter is there for a purpose – but what can it be? And what exactly are these ominous moth creatures? Aliens? Supernatural beings?

The Mothman Prophecies purports to be based true events, but this is a statement that should be taken with more than a mere pinch of salt, in much the same way one would regard UFO sightings. Instead of a docudrama, The Mothman Prophecies is more of a supernatural thriller than anything else. Think of it as an X-Files episode stretched over two hours but without the catchy theme tune and you’ll have a better idea of what to expect.

Mothman Prophecies cranks up the atmospherics and unexplained going-ons with those arbitrary cinematic flourishes designed to make audiences jump in their seats. There are sudden shots of mysterious images set to jarring sound. In the cinema this type of tactic may work, but on DVD or home video it is lost. (In fact, in the UK the Spider-man movie received a lower age restriction on home video than in the theaters because similar such “fright” scenes on TV involving the Green Goblin was judged to be less intense for small children than would have been the case on the big screen.)

Ultimately, Mothman Prophecies boasts a few scary moments, but horror fans would be better off checking out the creepy The Ring instead, while sci-fi fans would probably be better off watching any episode of The X-Files. At least X-Files boasts Agent Fox Mulder’s droll quips while Mothman Prophecies has a stony faced and oppressive Richard Gere instead. Oh, and there’s Gillian Anderson too . . .



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