Mothman (2010): Out now on DVD

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Mothman (2010)

(15) Running time: 91 minutes

Director: Sheldon Wilson

Writers: Patrick Walsh, Sonny Lee

Starring: Jewell Staite, Connor Fox, Susie Abromeit, Michael Aills

Reviewed by: Matt Wavish, official HCF critic

The biggest problem with Mothman is the fact it lives in the shadows of an earlier, much better film starring Richard Gere. For me personally, The Mothman Prophecies is one of the best chillers of the Noughties, and so even before sitting down to watch Mothman, already it had a lot to live up to. Having read a number of negative reviews, I was doubtful I was going to get much enjoyment out of this film, but you know what, it aint quite as bad as I was expecting. Granted it is very cheaply made, the writing is questionable and it is not really all that scary, but there was something about this film I actually quite liked. Let’s just say it had a charm, and came across as a proper reliable Friday night horror. It doesn’t offer up anything new, follows all the rules and clichés, but you know what, sometimes it can be nice to sit back and just switch off and watch something that is easy.

Mothman opens a little dodgy, with some horrific acting from the main bunch of locals enjoying a bit of a muck about in the rivers of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. There are a number of shots of the females in their bikini’s, which will keep male viewers hooked, but an ‘accident’ where one of the group mysteriously drowns takes a nasty turn, but also a very idiotic one. The group decide to make it look like an accident, fearing the worst, and decide to make it look like he hit his head and drowned. Guess what they do, they all smash him on the head with a rock, each character shouting “do it” as they hit the dead guy, a brother of one of the group. It is messy, cheesy and utterly ridiculous, but please, try and get past this and the film does begin to improve.

Katharine (Jewel Staite) is the one member of the group who was reluctant to go through with the bashing of the dead guys skull, and ten years after the events she has well and truly left Point Pleasant behind. Working for the Washington Weekly, Katharine has moved on with her life, but her boss has asked her to return to Point Pleasant to cover the tenth annual Mothman festival, and reluctantly she agrees. Obviously her return sparks off a series of events which cause The Mothman to hunt each and every one of the group and begin killing them, and Katharine must try and figure out why and how she can stop it. I reckon you could write the script from here on in, and yes the film pretty much takes every turn you would expect and rarely offers up anything new or even clever. The ending is hideously drawn out, and a really lazy so-called twist which you can see coming a mile away only helps add to the bitter after taste you would expect this film to leave.

However, there was just something about this film which I kind of liked, and even though there were many moments that had me laughing at the stupidness of it all, I actually found plenty to enjoy here. The characters eventually grow on you, you never actually care about them and they are quite annoying, but they are easy to watch and quite often the silly things they do are so daft you have to laugh along with it, however it is doubtful this is what the director intended. Witness Katharine arrive in town for the first time and meet one of the guys from the group, she stops her car in the road while they chat and catch up, all the while a car behind continuously beeps his horn. The road is big enough to fit at least four cars, and you have to wonder why the Hell Mr Impatient Pants didn’t just drive around. Seeing Katharine drive off and the friend ‘allow’ Mr Impatient Pants to go is even funnier because Mr Impatient Pants actually then thanks him! The reunion of all the friends is a tough one to watch too, lazy as Hell writing and the awkwardness of it all is almost unbearable. The over acting makes the whole scene almost nauseating! Then there’s the writing which I can only presume is intended to be funny, I mean, it HAS to be. As three cop cars race past Katharine and one of the guys, the guy shouts out “three cars, man it’s like the whole damn police force!!” If you can stand this sort of behaviour, you just might enjoy this.

The Mothman himself is a bizarre creation, and as with The Mothman Prophecies, there is a strong emphasis on the red eyes and the fact The Mothman travels through mirrors and reflective surfaces. Completely CGI, this Mothman looks like a cross between Scream’s Ghostface mask and Harry Potter’s Dementors, and for some unknown reason this Mothman always has his mouth open. The CGI is shoddy, but strangely likeable, another one of the mysteries surrounding why I liked this film. The deaths are mostly off screen, with some awful editing between death scene and the next scene, however one or two deaths are quite impressive. The pacing is pretty spot on, and somehow the mystery draws you in, and the quiet country town setting really helps add to the atmosphere. There is even a reference to The Mothman Prophecies and the collapse of the bridge leading into Point Pleasant. There is also a blind man who pretty much steals every scene, and provides some of the films highlights. Played by Jerry Leggio, Frank Waverly has had a run in with The Mothman before, and while he brings some menace and terrific acting, he also asks the question which is on all our minds: why the Hell do we celebrate a creature the kills people in Point Pleasant? Good question. Here’s another one: if The Mothman has been around for decades, how come we are only celebrating its tenth year? Oh, and if this is indeed its tenth year, and Katharine has actually been gone for ten years (meaning she has never been to a Mothman festival) then why was she sent to cover it due to the fact she has had ‘experience’ at the festival? Oh, and how come Katharine’s cut on her chest disappeared for five minutes and then came back?

See, lazy, often ludicrous writing and filmmaking, but there is a lot of fun to be had here. Some of the scares almost work too, with pretty much every scare warning you it is coming thanks to a sudden loud jolt of music. However, most of the music here helps build up a at times creepy and sinister mood, and added to that the setting, clichéd characters and predictable scares you have yourself a horror that won’t impress much, but will satisfy a lot, if that makes sense?

Rating: ★★★★★½☆☆☆☆

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About Matt Wavish 598 Articles
A keen enthusiast and collector of all horror and extreme films. I can be picky as i like quality in my horror. This doesn't necessarily mean it has to be a classic, but as long as it has something to impress me then i'm a fan. I watch films by the rule that if it doesn't bring out some kind of emotive response then it aint worth watching.

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