The Mothman Prophecies * * * 1/2

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Director: Mark Pellington.
Screenplay: Richard Hatem.
Starring: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Debra Messing, Will Paton, Alan Bates, Lucinda Jenney, David Eigenberg, Ann McDonough.

As soon as I see Richard Gere’s name in the credits of a film, I’m instantly put off. The man has made an absolute fortune without having any real ability and in this he, yet again, proves he has a very limited range. Thankfully though, there is more to this film than Gere and his usual dull repetitive approach.

John Klein (Gere) is a Washington journalist, who after the death of his wife in a car accident, is somehow drawn to Point Pleasant, a small town in West Virginia, where strange and unusual events are happening to the locals. They are all living in fear, having premonitions and reporting sightings of a large black winged figure around the area. This is also the same dark figure that Klein’s late wife claimed to have seen before her death, causing further obvious interest from the journalist and also putting his own life in danger.

Supposedly based on actual events, this is a surprisingly tight and engaging little super-natural thriller. As mentioned earlier, Richard Gere is a plank of wood but the support from the always excellent Laura Linney and the wild eyed Will Patton are very welcome indeed. There is brilliant use of atmosphere and low-key music that raise this film above a particular standard and has many genuinely creepy moments. It doesn’t try to be too fancy but wisely and effectively leaves a lot to the imagination and just gets on with telling an unsettling story. Which it does, to good and chilling effect.

Like a feature length espisode of “The X-Files”, this is a gripping little mystery.

Mark Walker

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