December 3, 2011

The Mothman Prophecies (Mark Pellington, 2002)

Richard Gere plays John Klein, a reporter who loses his wife Mary (Debra Messing) after a series of mysterious events transpire. Soon after her death he is lured to a small West Virginia town where he teams up with the local sheriff (Laura Linney) to try to solve a string of mysterious happenings there.
The premise of the film is picked up from true events that happened in Point Pleasant, West Virginia in 1966 and 1967. Residents there claimed to have see a mysterious figure known as The Mothman.  These stories were brought together in the book The Mothman Prophecies (John Keel, 2007) where the mysterious force is seen as alien and tied to UFO phenomenon. The bridge collapse which occurs at the end of the film is a real event that occurred with cause that still remains a mystery.

The movie does not dwell so much on the UFO possibility, but rather leaves the viewer asking: What is the mysterious force? Is it demonic? Is it alien? Is it a force from another dimension? Is it some human mutation? There are definite ties to technology as the key conduit by which the force communicates. This trick me of Japanese horror films like Ringu or Suicide Club.

I find it interesting that more and more, horror films are downplaying the spiritual aspects of these types of mysterious incidence. In the Paranormal Activity series psychics and experts in the paranormal are brought in, but no priests. In Insidious a minister friend is brought into the discussion but quickly dismissed, there too it is a psychic friend who ultimately is able to help. In Mothman it is actually a former scientist who Klein turns to for help.

Lots of loose ends in this film. The relationship between Klein an his wife is not built up enough in the beginning; an his relationship with Linney's character is implied, but not built up much in the storyline. There are several other chinks in the plot that keep this film from earning higher marks.

Worth seeing if you're a fan of horror or sci-fi genres.

Rating: 5/10

Questions to ask while watching: What are you afraid of? What would scare you? Do you believe in the supernatural? On what do you base this belief? Do you believe in God or not? How does that impact your viewing this film? Do you believe in the possibility of alien life? This story is based on a true story. Plausible? If so, why? If not, why?