The Mothman Prophecies can easily be defined as one of the eeriest, most unsettling, and even mind-bending films to date. The film first hit theaters fifteen years ago, shedding light on one of the creepiest urban legends out there. The Mothman has been a widely-studied subject for many years and the resulting film really did the legend justice.
I distinctly remember being extremely anxious and creeped out while first watching The Mothman Prophecies. I was young, and the thought of such a frightening entity left me feeling quite uneasy. The mood that the film establishes is unsettling in itself- the setting, the town, and atmosphere could definitely give you nightmares alone. Viewing the film years later, when I was a bit older and wiser, just spooked me even more. I was truly amazed how a film with little violence and gore could so effectively leave such a menacing after-effect on the viewer.
The Mothman Prophecies is based upon the novel of the same name by John Keel, following the odd and mysterious events that plagued the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia in the 1960’s. While some scenes may have been exaggerated and fabricated in the film version, some events did indeed occur in real life. The most significant, of course, was the devastating and tragic collapse of the Silver Bridge (see the above picture). Not to mention, locals did really report strange occurrences, similar to those of the Mothman, in the days and months leading up to the tragedy.
Mark Pellington (Arlington Road) directed The Mothman Prophecies while Richard Hatem penned the script. The most notable performance from the film was that of Richard Gere, whom plays reporter John Klein. Klein is a character with added depth that grows throughout. Originally, Klein was stuck in the past, not being able to move past the unexpected death of his wife, and by the end of the film, Klein is a different person- wiser, yet still genuine in character, ready for the future. Another honorable mention is Will Patton‘s execution of the role of Gordon- such a vulnerable yet intriguing character. One of the scenes that disturbed me the most was Gordon’s death scene. Something about that moment never fails to give me goosebumps.
The Mothman Prophecies did not perform as well as filmmakers had hoped it would at the box office, earning around $55 million worldwide- which is still quite impressive for a film that’s budget ended up being cut right before filming began. Also, instead of resorting to CGI for the effects of Ingrid Cole, the shooting of those scenes happened just by blurring the camera. Perhaps that is what made the scenes so powerful, there was no falsity behind them.
I’ve been itching for more films on the Mothman subject, yet am still satisfied with the effectiveness of The Mothman Prophecies. I’ll always recommend it as a must for any horror fan out there, especially those who enjoy films that truly mess with your mind.