Mothman (Sheldon Wilson, 2010)
[note: review originally published 10Jul2010]
If you had told me eight years ago that someone would make a mothman film worse than The Mothman Prophecies, I probably would have laughed in your face. If you had come beck to me five years later after the releases of Shallow Ground and Kaw and told me that that worse mothman movie would be directed by Sheldon Wilson, I would definitely have laughed in your face. On the other hand, had you told me that someone was making an awful mothman movie and it starred a veteran of the works of the most overrated producer on television, Joss Whedon, I would have said, “yeah, I can see that.” So how did Sheldon Wilson, whose career seemed to have such unlimited potential, get roped into directing this Jewel Staite vehicle that’s so bad it went straight to the Sci-Fi Channel? Lord knows. And I’ll warn you now, you may find yourself tempted to be seduced by the few things about this movie that are actually decent for the first forty-five minutes or so. Do not listen to your baser instincts, for when you get to the “how the mothman came to be” flashback, you will rue the day you ever decided to rent this dog.
In any case, the plot: a group of friends are horsing around in the woods, and one ends up dead. The others make a pact to cover it up. Fast forward ten years, and Katharine (Staite, from Firefly and Stargate Atlantis), the only one of the group to leave town, is now a reporter. Her editor is sending her back in order to do a story on the Mothman Festival. (This, by the way, is no joke.) She comes back and no one, with the exception of old boyfriend Derek (The Six Wives of Henry Lefay‘s Connor Fox), is all too happy to see her. In any case, now the group are all back together, and the mothman pops up and starts offing them.
You know, if Sonny Lee and Patrick Walsh (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) had made this a straight murder mystery, with one of the group or Jaime’s demented brother or something going around killing them out of revenge, it might have made a half-decent, if forgettable, slasher movie. But no. We see ol’ mothy himself pretty early on. And it probably could have still been a half-decent slasher film, if you ignore the fact that, true or not, the Mothman is the silliest legendary creature in recorded history (couldn’t they have gone with the yeti or something? Really?). But man, they couldn’t even get that right. Everything about this script is derivative, right down to the way mothy gets from whatever abyss he lives in to our world. (Seriously, I’ve seen it in at least three horror flicks in the past five years.) The acting is mostly laughable (you expected anything else from anyone who came out of a Joss Whedon series?), but in a way that befits the silliness of the script. And the special effects… the less said about them, the better.
The only decent thing I can say about the movie is that it’s not entirely unwatchable. Which is better than some movies I’ve seen recently. But it’s definitely not one you want to go out of your way to see. If you catch it on TV late night while battling insomnia, it may be a worthwhile remedy. *