a critiQal film review The Mothman Prophecies (2002)

Plot: Distraught by the death of his wife (Messing) two years ago, John Klein (Gere), a Washington Post reporter, finds himself in a small town in West Virginia with no idea how he got there. Found by a local police sergeant (Linney), he soon learns many of the town's residents have seen a "moth-like" creature, identical to the one his wife said she saw before she died. Now he must convince the sergeant that calamity is about to come to this small town, and nothing can stop it. Based on actual events.

Reviewed
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  • ...Gere's best film since Primal Fear keeps the terror factor high throughout.

The fact The Mothman Prophecies is based on actual events make it more terrifying than your usual fare. I hadn’t heard of these events, so I’m not sure how much is true and how much is Hollywood magic.

Richard Gere is excellent here as Klein. In fact, The Mothman Prophecies is probably his best movie since Primal Fear. You can tell how much he misses his wife, and he plays a confused yet obsessed man very well.

The other characters – including good performances by both Debra Messing (“Will & Grace” (TV)) and Laura Linney – involve you in the storyline. Will Patton also does a great job as a villager of Point Pleasant who begins to get deeply involved in the events occurring around him.

The plot of The Mothman Prophecies is great. You can see the obsession creeping up over Klein, and the confusion and terror building in Point Pleasant. It’s great to watch the tension build, but a little creepy at the same time, since this is based on true events. The movie keeps you guessing until the very end. I thought the movie was going to end, and then they had another surprise coming, the biggest yet.

The special effects were great. There were a lot of quick, jerky shots in The Mothman Prophecies, but that’s typical of supernatural movies. They also did a great job with the camera work and lighting effects, and they played an important role in keeping the tension building.

The DVD leaves a bit to be desired, though. With only a music video and a theatrical trailer as special features, it is lacking in this department. One would expect, since this is based on a true story, to have a background of the real events. Nope. Maybe a behind the scenes featurette? Not there either.

With The Others (2001) competing for the supernatural thriller crowd, this one stands out. The terror starts very early on, and doesn’t let up throughout the film.

The Others (2001) was a disappointment, but The Mothman Prophecies more than filled in the gap, even with the lack of features on the DVD.

My prophecy: rent it for now – and buy it when the Special Edition DVD hits stores.

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