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While investigating the tragic sudden death of his wife (Debra Messing), journalist John Klein (Richard Gere) is mysteriously drawn to the sleepy community of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. He meets the town's sheriff (Laura Linney) and discovers that several locals have reported seeing a strange, dark, winged moth-like creature which seems to bring death where ever it appears. Klein is shocked to discover that the local's drawings of the creature match the drawings his wife made after her accident. Could it be the same "moth-man" that caused her death? Klein goes digging for answers.

Review by Shannon J. Harvey:
If you believe everything you see, you could be mistaken for thinking The Mothman Prophecies is a spine-tingling supernatural thriller based on actual events. First of all, this is not as scary - nor as bloodthirsty - as the trailer might suggest. After all, how scary can a half moth/half man be? Secondly, when the lead characters make out in a house whilst being shown through it by a real estate agent, you have to wonder about its authenticity.

Nevertheless, The Mothman Prophecies is a nice little chiller-thriller which nonchalantly scares you without spilling a single drop of blood. What seems to be more scary (other than Richard Gere in another dramatic role) is that it's loosely based on the book by journalist John A Keel (played as John Klein by Gere). In Keel's real-life story, he investigated strange occurrences in Point Pleasant over several months in 1966, where some 100 residents reported seeing a black 2.7m high winged creature with glowing red
eyes. Some were even more spooked out, claiming the creature spoke to them and predicted disasters - all of which then came true.

Sounds like it has all the urban legend ingredients for a rip-roaring Hollywood horror movie, right? It does, and Pellington's film sits somewhere between the faux reality of The Blair Witch Project and the urban sleuthing of The X-Files. It's a pretty satisfying film, save for a built-up ending that doesn't quite have the impact it should. Some might expect more from
Pellington, who rattled us with the superb - and in hindsight somewhat prescient - urban terrorist thriller Arlington Road. Here he turns to something more supernatural inspired by actual events, which he discusses at length in his audio commentary, including its links to real life - and that's where the really spooky stuff lies.

The two-disc DVD also comes with three documentaries - which the American disc lacks. Pellington shows us his journey as a director in The Road In and The Road Out, two average-length docos where he takes us through hearing
about the myth, reading the script, casting, and shooting. The third doco, Search for the Mothman, is somewhat similar but includes cast and crew interviews, most of whom discuss their characters and what they believe about the Mothman myth and its links to Indian folklore itself.

Though the cinematography and the score add significantly to the film's overall creepiness, the picture is sometimes grainy - though Pellington might have wanted it this way. The Mothman Prophecies is thus more concerned with affect than effect, so don't expect a meaty horror movie with jump-out-of-your-seat effects. It scares you without grossing you out, and although it succeeds nicely, it's as threatening as a moth itself: a bug that flits about but can only eat holes in your clothes.

Published December 19, 2002

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CAST: Richard Gere, Debra Messing, Laura Linney, Will Patton

DIRECTOR: Mark Pellington

RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes

PRESENTATION: Dolby Digital 5.1; 2.35:1 16:9 Enhanced; Widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: Two-disc set; Audio commentary with director Mark Pellington; Five deleted scenes; Talent profiles; Original movie trailer; Bonus movie trailers; "Search for the Mothman" - a behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of the movie with cast and crew interviews; Day by Day - A director's journey: The Road In - a behind-the-scenes feature on the making of the movie; Music video 'Half Light' performed by Low

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia Tri Star Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: December 11, 2002

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