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The Mothman Prophecies

In my life, I've been pretty well spooked by all sorts of things. The Boogie Man. Vampires. The Undead. Demons. Rush Limbaugh.

Just about the only thing that hasn't scared me over time have been moths.

So naturally, we've got ourselves a scary movie about a guy they call "The Mothman." He's big, mean, has glowing red eyes, and flutters around the light bulb.

OK, I'm being unnecessarily mean. The legend of The Mothman is real. Lots of people have claimed to see it, have claimed to fear it. I just want to know who coined the phrase. I mean couldn't they have called it "Evil Winged Devil Spawn" or something like that? I mean come on! Moths!

For those of you not in the know, The Legend of The Mothman goes something like this: People start to report sightings of this strange creature, or man, or demon, or angel, or alien (descriptions differ). Some only see the glowing red eyes, some see the entire being. It is large, has wings, and lots of people end up drawing pictures of this thing, like something out of a nightmare. Then, after a year or so, some horrendous disaster takes place and lots of people die. And no one sees The Mothman anymore. Then he shows up somewhere else and starts the cycle all over again.

There were reports of this guy in Chernobyl for a year before the nuclear meltdown. There were reports of this guy for a while in Mexico Citybefore the 1985 earthquake. I personally wish there had been reports of him at my high school before we did that ill-advised lip-synching version of Alice In Wonderland, could have saved a lot of people's dignity.

The movie, The Mothman Prophecies, is loosely based on the cluster of Mothman sightings that took place in the 60s in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, just before yet another horrible disaster. I say loosely based because those events took place in the 60s, but the movie takes place in 2000. And yet the story takes place in Point Pleasant, and the disaster which follows is the disaster which happened in 1967. Whatever. It's Hollywood, they can do whatever they want, right?

The movie wants to be scary. It tries very hard to spook you. And at times, it works. And yet the movie as a whole doesn't work.

For one thing, they never explain The Mothman. Because no one knows what it is in real life. So why bother explaining it in the movie, right?

They also don't show us The Mothman all that much. As if they ran out of Mothman money and had to resort to having him call people on the phone.

**ring ring**


"I'm the Mothman! Boo!"

"Eek! Where's Caller ID when you need it?"

It gets old.

The film itself tells the story of John Klein, played by Richard Gere. He lives in Washington D.C. One night, his wife dies in an auto accident which seems to have been caused by Mr. Mothman. In the hospital, as she slowly dies, she draws pretty pictures of The Mothman. It's all very dramatic, and it gives Richard Gere a history with The Mothman. It also violates the essence of what Senor Mothy is supposed to be all about. He shows up for a while before a disaster that is slated to kill a bunch of people. It's not like he's known for moonlighting on his day job or anything. There's no recorded instances of El Motho showing up to off one person and then vanishing. This is never explained.

Next thing we know, Richard takes off driving and magically finds himself having driven 400 miles in two hours or so. With no memory of having done the driving , although he IS driving an Audi A6, which, if it's the Avant, has a 340 hp V 8 engine, which goes really fast. However, this is never explained.

Then people start making phone calls when they shouldn't be able to do so, like long after they're dead. This creeps everyone out. It is also never explained.

Laura Linney is the town sheriff or policewoman or constable or something. She begins to have feelings for Richard Gere. This is never explained.

Weird things happen. Some people die. Others just make phone calls. It culminates in the true story of the true event that truly killed a bunch of people in 1967. This is where all their money went. Screw Mothman, spend it on the climax.

You leave the movie with no idea what happened. No idea what you're supposed to think. You're glad certain people are alive. You're sad that others are dead. You wonder what's going to happen to The Mothman. You wonder if he had anything to do with the disaster. They never really tell you.

If you want to be creeped out, you might want to see the movie, but don't expect to understand a whole lot. Like why Richard Gere keeps driving from West Virginia to Chicago but refuses to go home. It is never explained.

The Mothman Prophecies gets 2 1/3 Babylons. One Babylon for each of Mothman's wings. Plus a little bit more for his cute little antennae. Or are those horns? It is never explained.

Editor's Note:

If the SMC had actually clicked on the SECOND LINK that comes up after typing "Mothman" into Google, he would have learned that the term "Mothman" was the name that the press gave to the alleged creature after a character on the popular series "Batman". Thanks for putting your all into your work, Critic.

Rated: PG-13
Directed By: Mark Pellington
Starring: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Will Patton, Debra Messing, Alan Bates, Mothman, Gnatman, Ladybugman, Locustman, you get the picture.

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