The Mothman Prophecies (2002)

Genres - Science Fiction, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller, Psychological Sci-Fi  |   Release Date - Jan 25, 2002 (USA)  |   Run Time - 118 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Michael Hastings

Intriguing real-life accounts of the supernatural become an exercise in supertedium in the leaden hands of stylist -- er, director -- Mark Pellington with this wintry sci-fi suspense thriller. Mothman Prophecies boasts a decent cast, some convincingly drab on-location shooting, and compellingly creepy sound design, but the entire exercise is undone by a vague, ponderous pace that effectively neuters the impact of the script's would-be freak-out set pieces. Though Richard Gere is believably tortured as a recent widower, and Laura Linney brings humanity and warmth to yet another sensible small-town character, the two never create any sparks -- not with each other, nor with the unseen entity that plagues the both of them. Mothman's scares are that of the creepy phone call and the blink-and-you'll-miss-it flash of light, which may ensure a PG-13 rating, but do little to quicken the pulse. Worse yet, Pellington and screenwriter Richard Hatem only pay lip service to the plight of the West Virginian townsfolk played by Will Patton and Lucinda Jenney; the filmmakers' overall tone toward most of the supporting characters would best be described as polite condescension. When Mothman's murky, apocalyptic climax finally rolls around (at the 110-minute mark), and dozens of characters find their fates hanging in the balance, most audiences will be long past the point of caring about any of them.