The Mothman Prophecies (2002)

(On Cable TV, October 2016) It’s unfair to judge movies on the merits of later ones, but watching The Mothman Prophecies, I couldn’t help but think that this kind of material (horror movie shifting in prophesied disaster movie) was executed to much better effect in the 2009 thriller Knowing. Here, the film seems to dawdle a long time on a series of barely connected phenomena, never quite pulling everything in a coherent whole. Despite the early promise of supernatural phenomena occurring over electric or electronic networks, the film takes a far more muddled approach to its central horror. It doesn’t help that the scares are low-octane, and that the film seems to coast a long time on weirdness rather than build something up. By the time everything pulls together, the spectacle of a disaster (with shades of Final Destination) manages to be interesting in a wholly different way than the horror film that has unspooled for the previous hour. Richard Gere and Laura Linney are merely fine in the lead roles, but this isn’t the kind of film to coax any kind of remarkable performance. The Mothman Prophecies manages to eke out a narrow victory over a “dull” rating by virtue of a disconnected action climax, but that doesn’t necessarily make it any good. Why don’t you watch Knowing again instead?

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