The Mothman Prophecies (Mark Pellington, 2002, USA)

Independent of the actual "Mothman" phenomenon, The Mothman Prophecies seems to have stuck with a lot of the people who viewed the film upon its initial release in 2002. While the film did not do much box office, we here - like most others - encountered the film on home video. The film was helmed by director Mark Pellington, who got his start as a director of music videos in the early 1990s - most notably his award-winning video for Pearl Jam's "Jeremy." Pellington brings that very kinetic style to his feature films, particularly Mothman and his prior feature Arlington Road

Featuring Richard Gere in a bit of a non-conventional role, Mothman is based on the book by John Keel about a series of strange occurrences that happened in Point Pleasant, West Virginia in the late 1960s. The strange occurrences in the book were far more numerous than could be covered in a single film, and the script here wisely sticks just to the Mothman phenomenon - strange, moth-like apparitions that seemed to predict terrible events. The whole film is a paranoid thriller in the vein of the X-Files. Notably, the film also serves as a kind of meta-narrative, with the Mothman somehow standing in for the creator of the story.

Pellington takes several cues from David Lynch's films - most notably, the film's scariest scene seems to echo the "mystery man" scene from Lost Highway. There is a dark, gray, and ominous tone to the whole film, and the film exceeds the level of production design. The sound and music (provided by Tomandandy, with a cool end credits contribution from Low) also are top-notch. It's no wonder that Mothman has endured as a cult favorite for so long, as the film leaves many unanswered questions and does not wrap things up tidily.



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