Weekend Review: The Mothman Prophecies

He’s not quite a superhero, but Mothman, sightings of whom cluster around 1966-67, has a name inspired by the Batman tv show and an origin sometimes linked to a Hulkesque science accident.

The Mothman Prophecies, a 2002 film inspired by John Keel’s bizarre and highly speculative account of the phenomenon, makes for occasionally interesting, though disjointed, viewing.

Cast and Crew

Director: Mark Pellington
Written by John Keel and Richard Hatem.

Richard Gere as John Klein
David Eigenberg as Ed Fleischman
Bob Tracey as Cyrus Bills
Debra Messing as Mary Klein
Tom Stoviak as Brian
Yvonne Erickson as Dr. McElroy
Will Patton as Gordon Smallwood
Laura Linney as Connie Mills
Nesbit Blaisdell as Chief Jarret

Full cast and crew details may be found at the imdb

Available at Amazon.com


After the death of his wife and the sighting of a bizarre creature, a man finds himself drawn to a small town with more than its share of weirdness.

High Point

The earlier scenes work best in this film. The Mothman Prophecies features a promising opening, and Gere’s character receives a memorable welcome to the small town. Pellington’s often effective use of colour and shadow work best at the start; they seem overused later on.

Low Points

Based on a True Story has become an excellent excuse to present a mystery without a real solution and hope people mistake pointless ambiguity for depth. At the same time, this film features a very pat conclusion.

The Review

Originality: 3/6. It’s a loose adaptation of existing material which pulls out all the familiar tricks to create suspense.

Effects: 5/6. The bridge effects look right. Wisely, I think, the filmmakers have chosen to provide only a fleeting glimpse of Mothman. The movie also makes impressive use of sound.

Story 4/6. The writers have concocted a convoluted tale with a suspenseful first half.

Acting: 5/6 Gere puts in a nicely understated performance. No one really does a poor job here, but the characters themselves are fairly wooden.

Production 5/6.

Emotional Response: 3/6. This weakens as the film progresses.

Overall 4/6. If you like films about unexplained events, horror movies without gore, or if you really miss The X-Files, this might be worth a rental.

In total, The Mothman Prophecies receives 29/42.


The events of this film must be viewed as fictional, though people really did see
something in Point Pleasant and a bridge did collapse, though for reasons that have been documented. The town of Point Pleasant has embraced its monster, and erected a statue. Various explanations have been offered for the Mothman sightings.

One reply

  1. Haven’t seen the movie …
    I don’t believe it could compare to the creepiness of the stories surrounding this thing.


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