Mothman DVD Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Directed by Sheldon Wilson
Written by Patrick Walsh, Sonny Lee
2010, Region 2 (PAL), 91 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 14th May 2012
Jewel Staite as Katharine Grant
Connor Fox as Derek Carpenter
Susie Abromeit as Mindy
Michael Aills as Jared
Matty Ferraro as Casey
Jerry Leggio as Frank Waverly
The silliest sounding monster in horror movie history stalks a group of friends (none of whom are Richard Gere) after they accidentally kill one of their own number. They say that revenge is a dish best served cold, which must be why it takes The Mothman a full ten years to wreak its revenge. Expensive woollen jumpers beware, the Mothman is out to get you!
Not letting the whole 'we accidentally murdered our friend' thing hold her back in life, Katherine Grant (Jewel Staite) grows up and moves away to be a successful journalist. She is sent back to her hometown on an assignment to cover the town's famed Mothman Festival. From Groundhogs to Mothmen, sleepy American towns will celebrate anything, and journalists are always on hand to cover the minutiae of it all. Upon her return, Katherine finds that old wounds being uncovered, familiar faces revisited, and The Mothman out for revenge on her poor dead friend's behalf. What sounds like a case for Mulder and Scully is given the Syfy channel treatment in this straight to DVD movie, made back in 2010.
Mothman is done with a very straight face, which would be fine if it weren't for the rubbish creature around which the plot is based. The only time that moths have ever been of use in a horror movie is in The Cottage, which had Reece Shearsmith terrorised by a room full of the things, to hilarious effect. Presented as a credible threat, it just sounds like a joke. The exception to the rule is an old comic strip in 2000AD entitled Vector 13 (like The X-Files meets The Men In Black), the Mothman issue of which somehow terrified me as a child. It manages to play some of the same notes, but with its unsubtle CGI, daft script and cliched story, this Mothman will terrify nobody - not even the stupidest of children.
“You think this is a big joke? You think Mothman is something to be laughed at?” says the blind old kook, standing in for the usual doom-preaching gas station attendant that tends to populate this sort of movie. Unfortunately Mothman fails to address its own concerns by having a Mothman that is indeed something to be laughed at. The bright red eyes look cool and the creature design is actually okay, but there's just no getting over the fact that moths are not remotely scary (unless, like Reece Shearsmith's character in The Cottage, you have a phobia). Moths are the bumbling idiots of the insect world. The Mothman looks ridiculous when it flies and should be easily defeated too - just turn on a light and run away while it's distracted by the shiny shiny thing.
Still, director Sheldon Wilson manages to keep things feeling spooky and the story inoffensive, in a rip-off I Know What You Did Last Summer kind of way. I found Jewel Staite to be almost unbearable in the universally loved Firefly (yes, we get it, she's 'kooky') but she's fine here; a cut above most Syfy actresses. Even the Mothman shows some initiative – its attacking people through mirrors and reflections is an interesting touch. A scene in which it drags a man into the reflective surface of a nearby caravan seems incredibly imaginative for a Syfy movie. The film is far more entertaining than it has any right to be, even managing to be enjoyable in places.
Unfortunately, there's ultimately no ignoring the bad CGI, silly monster and overall feeling of cheapness and cliché. Mothman isn't the load of (moth)balls one might expect from the title and production, but it's still pretty dumb.
Video and Audio:
It looks and sounds perfectly unremarkable.