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The Mothman Prophecies

Starring Richard Gere and Laura Linney; Debra Messing
Screenplay by Richard Hatem
Based on the book by John A. Keel
Directed by Mark Pennington
website: www.themothmanlives.com

IN SHORT: A cool thriller. [Rated PG-13 for terror, some sexuality and language.]

It doesn't matter which religious background you may have been raised in -- all the ones we know have some sort of equivalent of Heaven and Hell, transcendence or reincarnation, whatever -- and if the concept of The Mothman Prophecies, that some souls doomed to an eternity of suffering can communicate with the world of the living, sounds ridiculous to you, put it out of your mind. As well, if you're excepting a gore and violence filled horrorfest (the teevee ads imply only the latter) put that away, too. That being said, The Mothman Prophecies is a superior, enthralling "horror" story in the Edgar Allan Poe mode, though not as blood filled as Poe's work tended to be. More mystery with horrific elements laid over it, The Mothman Prophecies is a great sit and Richard Gere's finest film in a good long while.

While the "true events"on which the story is based occurred in the 1960s, director Mark Pennington and writer Richard Hatem thoroughly modernize the story. In doing so they've actually managed to get Gere to crack a smile or two, at least for the movies opening scenes. These feature John Klein (Gere) and blushing bride Mary (Debra Messing) looking for and finding a new home. Messing is removed from the story quickly and violently, but not without leaving drawings of a horrific moth-like figure, with a human face that appears to be screaming, behind.

Two years down the line Klein, a Washington Post reporter, is stranded in Point Pleasant, West Virginia when his car breaks down. Strange thing is, Klein wasn't driving towards Point Pleasant. Stranger thing is, he has a gun shoved in his face by the homeowner whose door he knocks on for help. Gordon Smallwood (Will Patton), who accuses Klein of stalking him. He isn't, of course, but someone who looks like Gordon has been showing up at Gordon's door, in the middle of the night, for days. This, combined with some visual clues, pique the reporter's interest, so he stays for awhile. Befriended by a local cop (Laura Linney) Klein discovers that the principal characters he meets have all been having strange dreams and visions of Death and Disaster, at least one of which comes true. From that point on, The Mothman Prophecies is a mystery waiting to be cracked, and a story that beautifully points you in the wrong directions until the very end -- the best kind of story that there is.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Nine Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Mothman Prophecies, he would have paid . . .

$8.00

The Mothman Prophecies held our attention start to finish and, yes, like you know what (for those that have written asking "Isn't it just like The Sixth Sense?), the ending is a surprise. Worked for us . . .

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