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RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes
• None, thank the gods.
A cringe-inducing dud cursed with a stupid script and infused with miserable CGI – in proper Syfy original TV movie fashion.
Directed by Sheldon Wilson, written by Patrick Walsh and Sonny Lee, starring Katharine Grant, Connor Fox, Susie Abromeit, and Jerry Leggio.
A group of teenagers in Point Pleasant, WV – home of the Mothman legends- accidentally drown a kid. They cover up the death and now 10 years later, the Mothman is delivering his own brand of CGI punishment.
I don’t think anyone’s expectations are particularly high when they sit down to watch a Syfy original TV movie. The station regularly churns out goofy productions often pitting two amateurishly designed CGI-monsters against one another. But an enjoyable amount of B-movie camp can raise your tolerance for poor effects and performances- an approach the station’s original films often take. Mothman is beyond saving though. An excruciatingly dumb script, flaccid performances, and the standard fare of miserable CGI make Mothman nearly impossible to stomach. Not to mention within the film’s first 10 minutes we’re made to loathe each and every character.
Seven marginally attractive teenagers are camping out and boozing it up at the shore of a river in Point Pleasant, WV. Point Pleasant is the town that in real life birthed the Mothman legends that were made popular in the 2002 Mark Pellington film The Mothman Prophecies. Jamie, a younger brother of one of the teens tags along and the seven decide to pull a Mothman-inspired prank on him by continuously dragging him beneath the water until he drowns. You know how kids are! Worried about their futures, the teens cover up the drowning by bashing Jamie’s skull in with a rock. Each of the teens gets a turn smashing the boy in the head with the heavy rock so they can claim that Jamie dived head-first into the river and drowned. Now, after watching this almost ritualistic murder, how the hell are we supposed to care if these teens get picked off one-by-one by the Mothman. I wanted them all to be slaughtered 10 minutes in.
Jump forward 10 years and one of the teens, Katie Grant, has left behind her dark past in Point Pleasant to become a journalist at the Washington Weekly. Grant is played by everyone’s favorite sci-fi ship mechanic Jewel Staite, aka Kaylee from Firefly. She’s a great actress so it pained me to watch her held back by this garbage script. Katie was the only one of the teens who initially didn’t want to cover up the murder, but she ended up giving in and only begrudgingly split Jamie’s skull open with the rock. Her retreat from Point Pleasant was seen as a betrayal by the other six teens, so when her editor at the Weekly sends her on assignment to cover Point Pleasant’s 10th Annual Mothman Festival, she’s reluctant. But she gives in to pressure just like she did 10 years ago and heads back to Point Pleasant to face her past.
During her first night in town she reunites with her old posse. Time hasn’t treated the other six so well; the ghost of Jamie has turned them all in to drunks festering in the black hole of Point Pleasant’s redneck community. After their awkward reunion at a dive bar, one of them is killed by the Mothman outside of his trailer home. The Mothman is all CGI and resembles an Edvard Munch scream more than a moth. After this first Mothman murder, the crew is picked off one after the other. Here’s the kicker: the Mothman can only manifest by crawling out of reflective surfaces like mirrors and aluminum trailer siding. It’s a completely pointless plot tool and only serves to make the characters smash a lot of mirrors.
Eventually Katie gets help from one of the locals who survived a Mothman attack decades ago. But who cares at this point. At no moment in the film do we feel sympathy for these pricks who killed a young boy 10 years earlier and get together every year to “drink in his honor.” Not even Katie managed to squeeze a drop of sympathy from me. She would’ve been the only one to do the right thing after the murder, instead she fled town and became a successful journalist indifferent to the horrible murder she participated in. Who wouldn’t root for the Mothman.
The script, written by Sonny Lee and Patrick Walsh is just dumb, which is sort of shocking since both writers are veterans of the clever and hilarious It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Besides the unnecessary reflective surfaces bit, there are several other shockingly stupid notes. For instance, during a three-on-one showdown with the Mothman inside an old mill, one of the kids is snatched up by the Mothman as the other two speed off safely. We assume he’s dead. Then, about 10 minutes later, the character returns in tip-top shape. Katie exclaims “We thought you were dead!” The kid replies “So did I.” Seriously? No explanation. No flashback. No revelation on how to harm the bullet-proof Mothman. Just “So did I.”
I couldn’t imagine even a Mothman conspiracy theorist enjoying this film. It adds nothing to the legend and only uses a handful of actual points from the myth – like Chief Cornstalk and the collapse of the Silver Bridge in 1967. You’d think writers with the comedy chops like Lee and Walsh could pen some decent one-liners or dialogue infused with a little camp. Everything about this film is dumb and dull. Stay far away from this one, folks.
One trailer for another Lionsgate release and that’s it, which was a relief. If I had to spend another second in Point Pleasant I would’ve stabbed my eyes out.
It gets half a point instead of zero because it got a couple of laughs out of me. Unfortunately, I was laughing at them, not with them.
Rating: Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Out of a Possible 5 Stars