I recently had to drive to a wedding that was out in West Virginia, and while driving there, I wondered what the fuck West Virginia was known for so I knew what sights and sounds I should be on the lookout for. I started reading about the movies that were set in West Virginia, and while things like The Descent, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, and Wrong Turn jumped out at me, it was one movie in particular that really stood out: The Mothman Prophecies. I remembered that the movie involved a bridge that connected Ohio with West Virginia, and it turns out that I had to drive over that bridge! Knowing that on my drive back from West Virginia I would be looking to take advantage of the local sights and sounds, I found out there was a Mothman Museum I could go to! If you want to see all of my pictures from the experience, I recommend looking at my Instagram to see what a blanket that Richard Gere came into contact with looks like. Having spent the whole day thinking about Mothman, I figured I’d give this movie another shot.
Who fucking drew this? Someone with a brain tumor or something?
Richard Gere and his wife, played by Grace from Will & Grace (Debra Messing), are searching for a new house to buy and Grace gets so fucking turned on by Richard Gere that she starts trying to have sex with him in a closet. Sadly for Grace, having sex with Richard Gere causes lasting brain damage and also makes you hallucinate dark figures with giant wings and glowing red eyes, which caused her to get into a car accident. AND A BRAIN TUMOR. That was probably from having sex with Richard Gere, right? I don’t know anyone who’s had sex with Richard Gere and lived to tell the tale, so I’m sticking to that. Which reminds me, Grace dies of a brain tumor but until after drawing this red-eyed figure all over the goddamn place. Years later, Richard Gere is driving from Washington, D.C. and has car troubles in Point Pleasant, WV. This makes sense only if you have no idea of geography or logic and think it’s understandable to drive five hours due west instead of 3 hours south, but whatever. When he gets his car inspected and finds out that it’s totally fine, he starts hearing rumors of sightings of something that looks similar to the figure that his wife was drawing. As the sightings increase, this being also starts using a phone to contact different people, including Richard Gere, and tells Richard to switch over from Burt’s Bees to Chap Stick…I think? The phone calls start giving details about disasters, and considering his wife died after seeing this figure, he kind of starts freaking out thinking that this “Mothman” is a harbinger of bad things, making him fearful of the residents of Point Pleasant. After he’s contacted about some disaster on the Ohio River, Richard thinks it’s a chemical plant, but it ends up being that the bridge going over the Ohio River collapses which results in the death of almost 50 people, and no one in town reports having seen the Mothman ever again. In other words, that Mothman was a giant dickhead that smashed a bridge.
This isn’t from the movie, but from my trip to the Mothman Museum. Not pictured is the non-creepy lip balm.
When I saw this movie 11 years ago, it didn’t scare me. In all subsequent viewings, it hasn’t scared me. For some reason, any time I mention this movie to anyone, they say that it’s creepy. WHAT’S UP WITH THAT?! Am I talking to the wrong people? Have people just not seen this movie in ten years and only kind of remember what happened in it? There were a few decent sequences, like the one where Richard Gere gets a phone call from the Mothman and is told all of the items of his motel room or the idea that Mothman doesn’t need to explain himself to humans the way humans don’t talk to cockroaches, but they never really settled on what the tone of the movie was intended to be. The idea of some supernatural entity appearing as different things to different people and being able to use a phone is creepy in theory, but the tone of the movie never really reflected this concept all that well. The movie felt more like an investigation of the concept of the Mothman, more similar to something like The Exorcism of Emily Rose or maybe Red Lights, but when your main character totally buys into the supernatural elements of what’s going on, it kind of takes away the audience’s chance to determine what’s really going on. I also had a personal issue buying into any of the stuff going on in the movie when I knew that the “truth” that this movie was based on was multiple sightings of a large, dark, winged figure, probably a bird that wasn’t indigenous to the area, that lasted for about a year. Nothing about phone calls or interacting with people or anything like that, just some people stopped reporting having seen something like it after a bridge collapsed. The music and cinematography were kind of cool, but it felt like it tried to take a small, isolated, creepy story and blow it up into this worldwide phenomenon that didn’t need to last a whole two hours. It could’ve been a much tighter 90 minute movie that cashed in on the name “Mothman”, or it could’ve been an opportunity to explore the mob mentality of group hallucination in a relatively isolated area, but it was neither. What the fuck, guys? And you didn’t even show me Richard Gere’s butt.
Wolfman Moon Scale