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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day 306: The Mothman Prophecies

The Mothman Prophecies
Na na na na na na na na na Mothman!

I hope everyone had a good Halloween. Mine involved wearing a Luchadore mask, a suit, and getting cheap burritos. Sadly, the fun ended this morning when I saw that the entire side of my car had been keyed. Fucking assholes. If only I had some precognition or idea that it was going to happen, maybe I could have prevented it (with my fists of course). We've all had hunches or certain feelings that something bad is going to happen. Is it just a coincidence, a sixth sense, or something more supernatural? We've seen a few horror movies explore the ideas and repercussions of seeing the future, such as The Eye and Final Destination. Those movies tended to be a little abstract in the nature of their foresight, but today's movie goes in a different, more tangible direction.

The Mothman Prophecies is a 2001 psychological/supernatural horror movie, based on the book of the same name by John Keel. The movie stars Richard Gere (Pretty Woman, Primal Fear) as Washington Post reporter John Klein. One night, John and his wife Mary (Debra Messing, Will & Grace, Along Came Polly) get into a car accident after she apparently sees something with glowing red eyes in the road. The accident reveals that Mary actually has a brain tumor and dies shortly thereafter. John discovers pictures that Mary had drawn, showing a dark figure with glowing red eyes. Two years later, John is driving to Richmond, Virginia when he gets lost and ends up in the small town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, near the Ohio border. His car breaks down and when he goes to a house to see if he can use their phone, the owner, Gordon Smallwood (Will Patton, The Punisher, Brooklyn's Finest) pulls a gun on him. Gordon claims that John has been appearing at his house for the past few days at the exact same time. Local police officer Connie Mills (Laura Linney, Mystic River, The Truman Show) diffuses the situation, and John stays in town to get his car fixed. Connie reveals that strange things have been happening in town and John begins to investigate. Gordon reveals that he is hearing voices, including one warning him about something involving “99” and “Denver”. Soon, a tragedy strikes when a plane crashes in Denver, killing all 99 passengers. The next night, Gordon explains that he met the person behind the voices, revealing his name is Indrid Cold, the fabled Mothman. Indrid Cold contacts John, revealing that he has both precognition and some sort of omnipotence. He warns John of a future tragedy involving the Ohio River and the number 37. Will John be able to prevent the tragedy and what exactly is this Indrid Cold?

Life inside the Kool-Aid Man

I had never heard of the Mothman urban legends prior to seeing the movie and was generally interested in learning about it. Apparently there were actual events in the 1960's involving some sort of Mothman, so it has some basis as an urban legend. Sadly, The Mothman Prophecies fails to even scratch the surface in regards to explaining just what the Mothman is or was. The first 45 minutes or so are genuinely interesting as events begin to unfold and we finally hear from Indrid Cold for the first time. The scene where he speaks to John Klein is quite creepy, almost like a supernatural “When A Stranger Calls”. From there, the movie begins a slow, agonizing death march for another hour. Just when things started to get interesting, the film puts on the brakes. The movie becomes meandering and unfocused, losing any and all potential for horror and excitement. Too much focus is given on the prophecies and not on the mothman itself. The prophecies weren't the fun part of the movie, the scary sounding monster that sees and knows everything is. That's like focusing on the nature of dreams instead of Freddy Krueger.

Another issue with the movie is the large amount of missed opportunities. We never actually see Indrid Cold, which was a huge disappointment. I wanted to know what this thing looked like and we barely get a hint. Why not have a showdown with the main character? And to make things even more confusing, it's not clear if Indrid Cold and the Mothman are the same thing or separate. The relationship between John and Connie feels completely forced and lacks any sense of genuine interest. The acting is fine, it's just their relationship that doesn't work. The movie does have some very good suspense in the beginning, but it loses steam about halfway through the almost two-hour long run time. There really isn't much in the way of action with no blood or gore. Much like the suspense, there is horror in the beginning, but it doesn't last long. The directing and camerawork is all over the place, quickly switching from scene to scene with all sorts of wacky angles and establishing shots.
That's his "Why am I in this movie?" look

The Mothman Prophecies had a lot of potential, but was bogged down by a confusing and muddled script that didn't know where it was going. The movie is way too long for it's own good and kills all interest. I would have really liked to know more about the Mothman and would have loved to see it. Other than a creepy voice and some poor CGI effects, we get nothing. The acting is fine, but the direction just doesn't work. Any potential interest I had in learning about the Mothman legend is now gone. The legend of Richard Gere and the gerbil still remains.


1 comment:

  1. To my knowledge, no one has ever seen both, the "Mothman" & "Indrid Cold" together at the same time, or could prove that they were the same persons or entities. As for the movie itself, I have it, & there were some things that were more Hollywood tit was a she. A feller by the name of Johnson, I believe. Plus there was no John Kline, but a John Keel. And no, John & the sheriff didn't have a thing going, less N he was funny, cos again, the sheriff was ALSO a feller. And before John Keel(who wrote the book this movie was based off of) died, he said, that he never dove into the Ohio river to rescue anyone. Why? Simple. Cos he was back home when the Silver Bridge collapsed. A better dvd to watch of this is, "Behind the red eyes" which I also have. The Mothman Prophecies would have been way better, had they just simply stuck with ALL THE FACTS, & less Hollywood stuff.The sheriff or the chief wasn't a woman, but a guy. John Keel didn't work for the Washington Post. Plus the movie never even touched on the cattle mutilations or the UFO reports or even people's critters that went missing. Nor did they even mention newspaper lady Mary Hyre. Plus it ignored Tom Ury, Marcella Bennett, & the Malett's who were some of the first to see it. (Mothman) Plus they never one time, went to the TNT area where it was first spotted at. And they ignored the fact, that it chased the first couple who had seen it, back towards town. I wish I could have made this movie, cos I would have included all of this, cos it was all consistent with the whole Mothman thing.For a flick that said it was "Based on facts" they sure seemed to leave a lot of em out in this one. My uncle & me went to Point Pleasant in 2013 for the "Mothman Festival" It was a rainy day, but we had fun anyway's. I just wanted to go to the Mothman Museum. We did that, the year before, but it was my uncle who really wanted to go during the festival. So we went back the next year to do that to. We live up river from Point Pleasant & my uncle was on the Silver Bridge the day before it collapsed. When we were at the Museum the year before, I bought a boat load of Mothman shirts, mugs dvds & books. The feller who works there was so happy, he tossed in a bunch of free stuff !!! I'm blessed he did that, but he didn't have to.I won't wear those shirts cos I added them to my collection of other shirts like my Star Wars & my Wonder Woman ones.The mugs I bought, I bought 2 of each. This way I can use em, & keep the others as collectors.I'll add those to my Star Wars & my Pepsi mugs. All the folks I met there, were just so nice to. I always loved the fear of the unknown. I even went to the TNT plant where Mothman was seen at. Plus I went inside one of them underground igloos plus we drove by the home where Marcella Bennett had seen Mothman & then fell on top of her baby. I don't think there was a place I didn't go. Now do I believe in the Mothman? Lets put it this way. All I know is, people back then, saw something that scared the crap out of them.And for some reason, I believe em. I don't think, you could fake that kind of fear. So yea, I believe in Mothman. There's still parts of this world humans have yet to step foot on. So who's to say, that's not where Mothman or other entities live? And I'll end this by saying, you don't find the Mothman, the Mothman finds you