Movie Review: The Mothman Prophecies (2002)

Synopsis: Two years after his wife sees a moth-like creature before dying from a brain tumor, Washington Post reporter John Klein somehow manages to make a 6-hour drive in just 90 minutes and ends up in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. While there, he learns about strange occurrences that had been happening around town, including multiple people spotting the same creature his belated wife did. As he investigates and even has a conversation with the creature, which seems to have the ability to predict the future, it's clear something very bad is about to happen to the town.

Who's in it? The movie stars Richard Gere, Laura Linney, David Eigenberg, Debra Messing and Will Patton.

Review: My wife and I had some free time last night since none of our shows were on this week. As a result, when I came across this movie on one of our premium channels, I decided to watch it with her.

I've only seen this movie once or twice before. The first time, it scared me. The second time, it intrigued me. This time around, six years separated from the last time we watched it, I still found it entertaining.

I think the thing I like best about this movie is the mystery surrounding the Mothman. Nobody knows what it is but its ability to predict tragic events before they happen, giving clues in riddles and premonitions, adds quite a bit of mystery. When you throw in the connection between the creature and Klein's (Gere) deceased wife (Messing), it only makes the mystery more interesting, especially since Klein himself seemed to be on the verge of insanity.

One thing I found I appreciated about this movie was the way the two main characters, Klein and the police sergeant, Connie Mills, were able to work together and have a friendship without necessarily having their relationship become romantic. Yes, there were hints of that happening eventually, but I feel like a full-blown romance between the two would have detracted from the overall plot and the ominous tone the movie was setting.

I also liked the supporting character, Gordon Smallwood (Patton) because he added a bit of a wild card element to the movie. Plus, since he had been interacting with the Mothman (who called itself Indrid Cold) longer than Klein, he gave a possible foreshadowing to what the reporter might end up acting like.

I do feel like the movie does have a tendency to drag things out a bit. It's nearly two hours long and probably could have cut 15-20 minutes without any impact to the plot. This is especially true early on in the film, when the focus is on Klein's wife. That was part of the story that could have easily been told through brief flashbacks.

I also thought it was somewhat interesting the movie would choose to use a real tragic event in a real town but, rather than have the film take place at the same time as the event, instead have the movie set in present time. I could understand that on some level, wanting to take some liberties for the sake of the film. However, if you're going to do that, then why not make up a completely fictitious town/tragedy? In any case, the decision did leave me with some mixed feelings.

Final Opinion: Looking back, I'm not completely sure why this movie scared me the first time I saw it. Since it was one of very few movies that do, I'm going to just assume I was having an off night. Overall, I no longer think of it as a scary movie but do think it has quite a bit going for it in the mystery category, especially if you haven't seen it before.

My Grade: B+


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