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(2002) (Richard Gere, Laura Linney) (PG-13)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Minor Minor Minor Heavy Mild
Minor Mild Extreme None Heavy
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Moderate None Moderate Mild Heavy

Suspense/Horror: A newspaper reporter finds himself inexplicably drawn to a small West Virginia town where he joins the residents in experiencing paranormal events, including the repeated sightings of a large, manlike flying creature known as the Mothman.
John Klein (RICHARD GERE) is a respected reporter for the Washington Post who's just bought a house with his lovely wife, Mary (DEBRA MESSING). On their way home, however, she suddenly spots a large creature flying at the windshield, swerves out of the way and crashes their car. Severely wounded, Mary dies a few days later in the hospital, but not before sketching images of what looks like a humanoid figure with wings, a sight she worried that John didn't see.

Two years later, John is on his way to Richmond, VA to interview the Governor when he unknowingly ends up far away in the small town of Point Pleasant, WVA along the Ohio River. When his car suddenly stops working, he sets out for help and ends up on the doorstep of Gordon Smallwood (WILL PATTON), a resident who greets him with a gun.

Gordon reports to local cop Connie Parker (LAURA LINNEY) that this is the third time in a row that John has shown up in the middle of the night asking for help, an allegation the reporter denies and can't believe. No charges are filed as Connie reports that everyone in town has been acting weird recently, including those who've reported spotting a large, humanoid like figure with wings and glowing red eyes.

That revelation obviously sparks John's interest, and he thus begins investigating the matter, interviewing various eyewitnesses to the phenomenon and those who've been experiencing bizarre premonitions. After several of Gordon's dreams of impending disaster turn out to be true and John begins receiving bizarre telephone calls from someone or something that seems to know everything about him and what he's doing, the reporter sets out for Chicago to find Alexander Leek (ALAN BATES), an author of works related to paranormal events.

Although Leek is initially reluctant to speak with John, he eventually recounts tales of the Mothman, a mysterious, supernatural figure seen throughout the ages before various disasters have occurred. He warns John that such sightings mean something bad is going to happen in Point Pleasant. Yet, the reporter returns anyway, intrigued both by the mystery of it all and various ambiguous comments made about Mary, hoping to solve the mystery before disaster strikes again.

If they're fans of someone in the cast or "X-Files" type stories, they just might.
For terror, some sexuality and language.
  • RICHARD GERE plays a Washington Post reporter who finds his life turned upside down twice - once when his wife dies, the second time when he finds himself the recipient of bizarre and paranormal messages. He uses some profanity and has a few drinks as he tries to figure out what's occurring.
  • DEBRA MESSING plays his wife who has a vision of the Mothman right before being fatally injured in a car crash.
  • LAURA LINNEY plays a local cop who's trying to find the underlying cause of the various reports of odd sightings and occurrences in her town.
  • ALAN BATES plays an author who has a firsthand knowledge of what's occurring, but is initially reluctant to share that info with John (although he eventually does).
  • WILL PATTON plays one of the residents who's receiving bizarre communications that make him think he's going crazy. He briefly uses strong profanity.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this PG-13 rated thriller. Profanity consists of at least 1 use of the "f" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also present. Two separate couples in separate scenes are briefly seen fooling around (making out, roving hands, some brief disrobing), but are interrupted before we see anything else happen. A woman is also briefly seen showering, but the shot is from enough of a distance and is out of focus so that no details are observed.

    All sorts of spooky and creepy supernatural events and/or encounters occur during the film, and viewers may find them unsettling, suspenseful or downright frightening. Another such scene involves the collapse of a bridge where various people try to get off it before they, their cars and the structure fall into the river below (we hear that 36 people die during the disaster). In a separate scene, a person is found dead in the woods (from exposure), while a few people have slightly bloody reactions to the paranormal occurrences.

    Beyond that, a man drinks a few times and some people must deal with the deaths of their spouses. Should you still be concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may want to see it, we suggest that you more closely examine our detailed content listings for more specific information regarding what's present and occurs in it.

  • Gordon comments that he doesn't drink anymore.
  • John drinks a shot in a bar.
  • John has a drink in a bar.
  • We see a color photo of an eyewitness to the Mothman and there's what looks like blood from or just around their eyes. We later see another person with a reddish area still around his eyes.
  • We see a tiny bit of blood in Gordon's ear.
  • John finds a man who died from exposure to the elements (beyond being dead the body isn't gory or bloody, etc.).
  • John tells a white lie to Connie (stating that he didn't meet Leek when he did).
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may also be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to some viewers.
  • Much of the film has an eerie/creepy aura to it (especially when accompanied by creepy, suspenseful or ominous music), even when whatever's happening at the moment might not have that quality.
  • We see a few flashbacks to residents' various encounters with the Mothman and/or other weird occurrences or dreams, and the way they're shot/presented might be unsettling/suspenseful to some viewers (although we never really see anything specific). One involves a representation of Connie's dream of slowly sinking beneath a body of water (although she's calm during that), while another has a mysterious and distorted figure slowly approaching Gordon's vehicle at night.
  • John thinks he hears something odd in his darkened motel room, but nothing happens.
  • John gets a call on his motel phone and the creepy sounding voice seems to know everything about him and can see what he's doing (another creepy scene).
  • John can't sleep and so rolls over in bed to encounter his wife (who's dead, but looking alive) there with him (and disappears just as quickly).
  • Connie describes a woman who was looking for John and asking questions about him and John realizes that it was his wife (who died two years earlier).
  • Every time the phone rings, the suspense factor rises, as we never know who or what is going to be on the line, and what information or creepy sounds will come from it. This is particularly true in one scene where the phone rings again after its line has been torn from the wall.
  • A large suspension bridge begins to collapse, with its cables snapping and the surface beginning to crack and fall apart. As people try to run off it (who were stuck in gridlock on it), pieces of it and cars fall into the water below. A person then jumps into the water and dives down to a sinking vehicle, trying to extract the unconscious driver from it. The whole scene could be quite unsettling and suspenseful to viewers, especially when seeing vehicles sinking below the surface with their headlights shining up from the depths.
  • Shotgun: Aimed at John by Gordon who thinks he's stalking him.
  • Phrases: "Dumb f*ck," "Bullsh*t," "Where the hell are you?" "Sure as hell" and "Who the hell are you?"
  • Mary's sudden reaction of seeing something that spooks her, as accompanied by some sudden music, might startle some viewers.
  • Connie suddenly shows up at John's car window at night.
  • An extreme amount of ominous, suspenseful and scary music plays throughout the film.
  • None.
  • At least 1 "f" word, 5 "s" words, 3 damns, 3 hells, 3 S.O.B.s, 2 uses of "Jesus" and 1 use each of "G-damn," "Jesus Christ," "My God," "Oh God" and "Swear to God" as exclamations.
  • We see a long and out of focus, full-body shot of Mary showering, but due to the distance and lack of focus, we don't see anything explicit (although you can obviously tell she's nude).
  • While checking out an empty house they're interested in buying, John and Mary go into a closet, shut the door and begin fooling around (we can't really tell exactly what they're doing due to the camera angles and quick edits). Suddenly the light comes on, the door opens and their realtor finds John on top of Mary on the floor (both are clothed), with Mary sheepishly stating that they're making sure there's enough closet space. John then closes the door and it's implied that they fool around some more. John later jokes that they should get a mattress for that closet.
  • We see a photo of Mary, and the outfit she's wearing shows some cleavage.
  • A young man explains to John and Connie that he and a young woman were making out in the backseat of a car when they had an encounter with the Mothman. Before that happens, however, we see quickly edited shots of them fooling around and making out, including one of him starting to remove the woman's pants. We then see that he's shirtless and see her in her bra, but they're interrupted before anything else happens.
  • None.
  • John must deal with Mary's death and then repeated, supernatural-like encounters with or comments about her.
  • We hear that Gordon's wife left him due the strain of the bizarre events in his life.
  • A woman reacts to learning and seeing that her husband is dead.
  • A man states that his wife left him and that his kids barely speak to him based on weird events in his life.
  • The real life events that inspired this film and the picture's dramatization of them.
  • Premonitions.
  • People experiencing bizarre events that others don't believe happened.
  • Mary sees a large, moth-like apparition fly right at their car, causing her to swerve and the car to go out of control As it crashes to a stop, her head hits the window very hard, knocking her out (she dies from her injuries a few days later).
  • When John arrives at Gordon's doorstep at night asking to use his phone, Gordon aims a shotgun at him, yanks him in the house and even later still aims that shotgun at him.
  • John imagines smashing his head into a bathroom mirror.
  • John finds a man who died from exposure to the elements (beyond being dead the body isn't gory or bloody, etc.).
  • John violently knocks over some items in anger, and then later violently thrashes a telephone. He later tears another phone line from the wall.
  • A large suspension bridge begins to collapse, with its cables snapping (and one hitting a car and presumably killing the driver) and the surface beginning to crack and fall apart. As people try to run off it (who were stuck in gridlock on it), pieces of it along with cars fall into the water below (when not crashing into other vehicles). We hear that thirty-six people die in the collapse.

  • Reviewed January 18, 2002 / Posted January 25, 2002

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