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The Mothman Prophecies (2002)

Can giant moths predict the future? Or is that just daft?

Rating: 5/10

Running Time: 119 minutes

UK Certificate: 12


You get the impression that run-of-the-mill thriller "The Mothman Prophecies" is supposed to be a much, much scarier movie than it actually is. Unfortunately, the fact that even the often hyper-sensitive classification board felt it merited just a "12" certificate says it all.

Silver-haired smoothster Richard Gere looks thoroughly bored from start to finish as John Klein, a DC-based journo who plummets into depression after his wife (Debra Messing) drives the car straight into a giant moth, is discovered to have a rare form of cancer, and later passes away. Two years later and he mysteriously finds himself in the small West Virginian town of Point Pleasant, where the local hicks are being plagued by a winged phantom of some sort with the apparent ability to predict disasters.

Klein starts getting some semi-creepy phonecalls from this moth-like trouble-maker, but disappointingly never asks it the all-important question of why, if moths like light so much, they don't just come out during the day. Surely a wasted opportunity if ever there was one.

Looking almost as disinterested as Gere is Laura Linney, in her totally empty role as the local policewoman who in most other cases would probably also develop into the love interest if only she could be bothered.

In a clear case of OTT symbolism, moth-shaped images constantly pop-up in stairways, Christmas trees, plug-holes – pretty much everywhere. In fact, director Mark Pellington stops just short of running onto the set himself and screaming "IT'S A MOTH! IT'S A GIANT MOTH!" at the top of his voice.

The movie's clearly very proud of the fact that it's based on a true story (it's written all over the box, the disc and the poster), but what must surely have been a deeply chilling tale in real life is reduced to damp squib status by this plodding exercise in mediocrity.

It's Got: Nothing that you can’t get in half the time from any half-decent episode of "The X-Files".

It Needs: To quicken the pace and up the chills.

DVD Extras A 45 minute documentary, "In Search of the Mothman" which, incidentally, is far more fascinating AND chilling than the movie itself. There’s also the usual array of behind-the-scenes documentaries, cast and crew interviews and trailers. DVD Extras Rating: 7/10


A completely average thriller that makes very little of the true life story’s potential.