The Mothman Prophecies
dir. Pellington
Opens Jan 25
Various Theaters

If you believe new-age spiritualists or born-again Christians, the entities that populate the afterlife are one of two things: glorious angels looking out for us poor schlubs here on earth, or foul-smelling demons possessing our bodies and making us say untoward things about the priest's mother. But that's certainly not the case with the The Mothman Prophecies! Nope, the demon/angel in question is Well, he's kind of a jerk!

In this story based on true events (ooh creeeepy), Richard Gere plays John Klein, a Washington Post reporter whose loving wife succumbs to a brain tumor. However, before perishing, she alone sees something strange in her room. Could it be MOTHMAN? Anyway, two years pass, and Klein mysteriously finds himself in Point Pleasant, West Virginia--a town whose collective chain is being jerked by you guessed it MOTHMAN! Klein begins his investigation with a sexy female cop (Rrrrowrr) and discovers that MOTHMAN is calling up people on the phone late at night making predictions, peeking through windows, and disguising himself as Richard Gere and walking around asking stupid questions.

Further investigations reveal that this MOTHMAN thingy shows up all over the world whenever there's about to be a major catastrophe but but you see? Here's the funny thing! MOTHMAN doesn't come right out and simply say there's going to be a catastrophe! HA! HA! Noooo, he just drops incoherent hints about the impending catastrophe, making it impossible for anyone to prevent it! HA! HAAAA! Whooo! Isn't that hilarious? Ahhh I love the afterlife. They like a good laff.

But anyway. Let's say all this MOTHMAN stuff actually happened. Sure, it's weird, but it's not blood-dripping-from-the-walls, head-spinning-360-degrees, little-girl-being-trapped-in-the-TV-set weird. And because most movie audiences have seen things ten times weirder than anything in this script, director Mark Pellington significantly pumps up the action, and adds a bunch of creepy touches to stave off the inevitable boredom. And in that respect, he does a pretty good job. However, all those extra touches won't produce any goosebumps or stop your eyes from rolling. The main problem here is that your ghost/angel/demon/whatever is a big dumb jerk, and has a really stupid name. MOTHMAN!