Drawn like a moth to flame is my reaction to Mark Pellington's adaptation of John Keel's "The Mothman Prophecies," but with this gem, viewers will not be burned.
"The Mothman Prophecies" places the mysterious 1966-1967 events of Point Pleasant, West Virginia in present day; and though real-life events have been somewhat altered and woven to fit a well-written script, the movie retains much of the mood of Keel's sensational study of a mysterious winged manlike creature and its affects on the folks of an uassuming Ohio Valley town.
Richard Gere stars as John Klein, a Washinton Post reporter loosely based on Keel himself. Laura Linney co-stars as the local sheriff, bewildered by the townspeople's reports of the creature and other strange phenomena and by Klein's sudden appearance and seeming connection to events.
Psychic revelations, strange phone calls, and mysterious deaths all lead to a riveting conclusion on the Ohio River. This is a must-see/ must-own for all fans of true chillers.
The only disappointing aspect of the movie is that no attention is given to the numerous UFO sightings and encounters with Men in Black that also plagued Point Pleasant during the time of the Mothman. Having actually visited Point Pleasant, interviewed witnesses, and written a couple of columns on the events, I can testify that they were every bit as much a part of the terror as Mothman himself. Still, Pellington knows what makes a real horror story work. There are no blood and guts here; only genuine psychological scares.
Note: Mary Hyre, a Point Pleasant newspaper woman, had the same dreams in relation to real events as Laura Linney's character. Will Patton's character seems based on Woodrow Derenberger, a UFO contactee. The movie's climax is almost pure fact, with some minor statistical changes, concerning what happened over the Ohio River on December 15, 1967.
Pop the popcorn and enjoy!