Friday, October 21, 2011

Mothman DVD Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Desperate to put the horrific events of her past behind her, Katherine (Jewel Staite) relocates to Washington, DC after high school to become a journalist. Ten years later, she is summoned back to her hometown 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 begins to experience terrifying visions, and soon figure out that the Mothman isn't a mere fairy tale... and it wants its revenge for their crime.

Film (3 out of 5 stars)

I've never been too afraid of real life killers.  Normal, human serial killers, while dangerous, can be avoided.  You can run from them.  You can lock your doors and have at least a fighting chance.  It's the supernatural stuff that gets me.   I don't like things that get you in your sleep, come out of your mirror, or crawl out from under your bed.  I like to know that if I've checked every nook and cranny of my ratty motel room and then locked the door the only way something is going to get me is through that very same door.  Mothman reminds me that I need to be very careful to 1) Stay out of West Virginia and 2) not accidentally kill people and cover it up.

A group of small town teens is enjoying a fun day at the lake, telling stories of the mythical mothman.  One of the teens little brother has tagged along and they think they are having fun pulling him underwater but the fun turns tragic and the boy ends up dead.  Rather than call for help the group decides that their lives shouldn't be ruined by an accident and they reluctantly agree to say he hit his head and drowned.  Each member of the group took a turn hitting him in the head with a rock to sell the story.
Fast forward ten years later, and one of the gang Katherine (Jewel Staite) is now a reporter, and is the only one to have left Point Pleasant, West Virginia.  It's clear she has made a good life for herself and hasn't looked back.  But she is given the task of reporting on the Mothman Festival and is sent back to Point Pleasant.  When Katherine returns to Point Pleasant she meets up with old friends, some of which are happy to see her, some of which are not.  She attends the Mothman Festival and interviews the locals about the legend.  

Soon after returning to town, the Mothman sets his sights on her friends and the group begins to die one by one. The local Mothman legend explains that the Mothman targets murderers and locks eyes with his victims before taking their lives.  He was once in the Mothman's sights and was able to stay alive by blinding himself.  Katherine and her friends must find another way to appease the Mothman before he takes them all.For a Syfy movie, I was pleasantly surprised with Mothman

Although Jewel Staite is the only actor I've ever heard of (and only because I watched Firefly) the performances overall were very good.  The story was simple, but kind of creepy.  The creature effects were good.  The only part I had a small problem with was the continuity.  There was one scene after Katherine arrives at her motel that is completely out of sequence.  You would think the filmmakers would be able to match up her outfits so that each day would make sense.  My other gripe was with the creature "rules".  For most of the movie, the Mothman is restricted to grabbing his victims through reflective surfaces and Katherine avoids him by breaking mirrors.  At the end of the movie, it's as though all bets are off and the Mothman can fly around anywhere doing whatever he wants and is no longer held back.

Video (2 out of 5 stars)

Mothman's video presentation could certainly be better.  It's only DVD and it has a very grainy appearance with lots of visual noise.  It appears as though the scenes that are supposed to be the past are a little grainier than the present so I am assuming some of that is intended.  Still, I would have preferred a sharper picture and richer black levels throughout.

Audio (2 out of 5 stars)
Mothman is presented in 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital Sound.  Dialogue levels were clear and consistent throughout.  However, I noticed no special use of side channels and the audio track missed some obvious chances to add to the creepiness of the film.  English and Spanish subtitles are available.

Special Features (0 out of 5 stars)

Unfortunately there are no special features on the DVD.  I would have expected at least a little on the real legend of the Mothman.

Final Thoughts (2 out of 5 stars)

Searching for photos to accompany this review, I realized that the Mothman is a real legend (not made up by Hollywood).  The thought of that made the movie that much creepier.  The filmmakers should have focused a little on that making it "based on a true story".  It would have added a lot for me to think that there are real people out there in West Virginia that believe this thing is real.  My overall score was reduced dramatically by the lack of any special features, but it’s a fun Syfy movie that I definitely recommend.  Don't go into it expecting a spectacular scare, just a fun, campy horror flick.

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