The Mothman Prophecies

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(2001) ★★★

BBC1: Sunday 10 May, 11.30pm

Two years after the traumatic death of his wife, Washington Post reporter Richard Gere is inexplicably drawn to the small West Virginia town of Point Pleasant on the Ohio River. Local cop Laura Linney tells him that for the past few months several residents – decent, church-going folk – have reported strange sightings, just like the one Gere’s wife saw immediately prior to her death. Gere sticks around to experience the weirdness for himself, all of which seems to be emanating from a spectral emissary calling itself Indrid Cold. This strikingly designed supernatural mystery from Arlington Road director Mark Pellington irrelevantly claims to be based on events that took place in Point Pleasant in 1967 (when the poorly maintained 40-year-old Silver Bridge collapsed). Whatever, it’s a creepy ‘One Step Beyond’ story of precognition and Pellington milks its eerie credentials with a disturbing array of bright lights and spooky nocturnal visitations. The performances are pretty good, too. The grief-stricken Gere realises he sounds like an unreliable witness, but he can’t help himself. He’s a reporter – he has to know the truth behind the unknowable. In a role ideally suited to Brian Cox, Alan Bates is the retired physics professor who tries to warn Gere about the dangers of ‘reading the signs’: “We’re liable to misinterpret them and, anyway, in the end we’re simply not allowed to know.” He’s a bit of a scaremongerer, is Bates: “You noticed them and they noticed that you noticed.” Telling tall tales is fine, but this one’s stretched a little long. The discreetly unsettling music score is by tomandandy.

Certificate: 12
Duration: 114min

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Other Showings Date & Time
BBC1 Scotland Monday, 11 May at 12:25 AM