Film review: 'Mothman' flies into the light

Reality-based suspense films are often the most frightening, however, “”The Mothman Prophecies”” doesn’t adequately depict the disturbing atmosphere of the actual events on which the film is based.

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

Based on a book by John A. Keel, “”Mothman”” recounts a series of paranormal events that occurred in Point Pleasant, Va. in 1967, but updated to the present day. Depressed newswriter John Klein (Richard Gere) finds himself inexplicably in the quaint yet eerie town.

He is pulled into the haunted world of the frightened villagers. When he discovers that many have reported sightings of mysterious humanoid creatures in the dark, he decides to stay to investigate, believing that the visions are somehow linked to his wife’s death.

Director Mark Pellington succeeds in giving the film a creepy and mysterious feel with the dark scenes and intermittent flashes of relatives of the elusive Mothman. However, the film does not fully accomplish Pellington’s goal of making a “”psychological mystery”” instead of a “”‘creature’ movie.””

The disturbing aura that envelops every scene can only depict the Mothman as an inhuman creature with unknown motives and destructive outcomes, but not as a stereotypical monster like King Kong or Godzilla. Pellington is reminiscent of Hitchcock in creating suspense by alluding to the unknown instead of trying to evoke fear by using sheer gore.

Gere adequately portrays a husband and reporter haunted by past events, but his actions often evoke frustration and are unexplained. The rest of the cast, which includes Will Patton and Debra Messing, are convincing.

Although all the ingredients are there, “”Mothman”” disappoints. It is beautifully filmed with scenes and its settings evoke fear and concern, but the story lacks the cohesiveness that would properly conclude the movie.

The Mothman Prophecies

***

Starring Richard Gere, Laura Linney and Will Patton

In theaters Jan. 25

Rated PG-13

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