The Mothman Prophecies Review

Mothman Prophecies, The
Two years after his wife scrawled pictures of a moth-like creature while dying of a brain tumour, reporter John Klein finds himself in a small American town, unable to explain how he got there. He investigates a rash of Mothman sightings and becomes convinced that a disaster is about to strike.

by Kim Newman |
Published on
Release Date:

01 Mar 2002

Running Time:

118 minutes



Original Title:

Mothman Prophecies, The

Until now, Mothman has been a lesser-known member of the cryptozoology Hall Of Fame, eclipsed by Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and the anal-probing alien greys.

John Keel's book, recounting his 1967 experiences with the phenomenon, has been around since 1975, but Mothman hasn't even managed a guest shot on The X-Files until this star vehicle.

It may be that the mythology is just too nebulous - the apparition seems related to the Irish banshee, showing up to foretell tragedy - to make a film subject. This movie certainly deploys a lot of unrelated spook stuff (as puzzling as it is creepy) before turning to more conventional suspense-disaster material for a Mothman-free, satisfying finish.

Following 1999's Arlington Road, this is the second Mark Pellington film in a row to concern a professional widower, hung up on his wifeÆs mysterious death, who sees a vast web of shadow conspiracy and becomes a prophet of doom.

However, Gere delivers a very different reading to Jeff Bridges' obvious nut. Sleek and grey in a coat that gives him his very own moth-look, Gere's sincerity and intelligence sells the Fortean bizarre far more than Alan Bates' unfortunate cameo in the traditional, discredited, mad professor role. John Klein is a rare paranoid who knows how others are likely to react to his story, and always advances cautiously as he makes the connections.

The film offers a sustained deployment of weirdness connected by mood and imagery, including buzzing phone messages from something which calls itself 'Idris Gold' and ambiguous sightings of the Mothman. There's even a Lynchian thing going on in which a farmer (Patton) mysteriously claims Klein has visited him three nights in a row as he shows up for his first visit.

Unsettling for a while but has a severe dead-spot before the action climax. Gere does a great deal in solo scenes with no dialogue, suggesting that he might not be as alone in the dark as he seems.

Related Articles

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us