When I was approached by Andy to handle this review, I had no idea the Mothman is, in fact, a legendary creature, in the vein of the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot or The Chupacabra.
Intrigued by this I decided to learn some more and discovered that the legend has its foundation in the Point Pleasant area of West Virginia and between the dates of 15 November 1966 to 15th December 1967, several sightings were reported by residents.
Reporting sightings included a couple allegedly being followed by what they described as a a large white creature with glowing red eyes, like a flying man with ten foot wings, while out for a drive. Then disaster struck the town. On 15th December 1967, Silver Bridge collapsed during rush hour traffic killing 46 people. All but 2 of the bodies were found. Then the sightings stopped. Some blamed the collapse of the bridge on Mothman. This legendary creature was then immortalized by Gray Barker in 1970 then, perhaps most famously by John Keel in his 1975 book The Mothman Prophecies.
Those mad cats at SyFy have now dropped their take on the Mothman myth on us, with the aptly titled, Mothman, directed by Sheldon Wilson and starring Jewel Staite (Stargate Alantis, Firefly).
Check the synopsis:
Desperate to put the horrific events of her past behind her, Kathering Jewel Staite relocates to Washington D.C after high school to become a journalist. 10 years later she is summoned back to her home town to cover the annual Mothman Festival. There she must face her estranged friends and the life altering drowning they covered up as high school seniors. The group begin to experience terrifying visions, and soon figure out the Mothman isn’t a mere fairy tale… It wants revenge for their crime.
Mothman follows the same formula as I Know What You Did Last Summer and Terror Train, where tragedy strikes a group of friends and instead of simply being honest, admitting their wrongdoing and accepting their punishment for the “accident”, they go about covering it up and deciding to keep it a secret among themselves.
Then some creature comes up and starts picking ofF the group one by one and seeking revenge for the crime.
So let’s look at the cast. We have our lead female Katherine and her lead male love interest along with 5 other friends. Ones who’s a bitch , one who’s a bit of a loner and the rest just normal which just means killing fodder. The interaction between the group was well delivered.
Given the massive back story to Mothman the filmmakers have created a creature that is the sum of all the “eye witness” descriptions of the Mothman. As a result, we have an odd skeletal looking thing, like a dark cloaked man with glowing red eyes and massive skeletal type wings who comes at you in reflections. Reflections in mirrors, TV’s and even shiny metal trailers.
No where is safe for this group of friends. Then along comes the “prophet of doom”, a blind, old timer who knows the history of the Mothman and has a sinister back story of his own.
So, Katherine has to figure out if he is friend or foe, all the while attempting to figure out how to stop Mothman before everyone winds up dead.
The creature is fully CGI throughout which is actually a bit of a shame as it looks awful in places. Like sub-Ghostbusters bad. I still stand by my ethos that practical effects trump all. The film is rated 15 but don’t expect too much in the way of gore or memorable kills scenes as they are vanilla at best, downright bland at worst.
A few things bothered me. As the movie progresses we learn more about Mothman and how it comes at you via reflections and that day light has an adverse effect upon it. However, this plot point is just discarded later as Mothman just starts popping up wherever he pleases and makes several killed during the day.
Given as its a low budget movie it’s not THAT bad. It is what it is. It could have been excellent with a little more money and competent script and cast and crew… Hmmm. Actually…
I still enjoyed it, perhaps because it’s based on an actual urban legend. It won’t change your life, let’s put it that way.
Mothman is available right now via Lionsgate.