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The Mothman Prophecies

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Mothman Prophecies Movie Poster Image
Psychological thriller may deeply upset some kids.
  • PG-13
  • 2002
  • 119 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.


Creepy and spooky, some surprises and character deaths, but not too gory.


Brief sexual situation.


Brief strong language.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although this movie isn't very graphic or gory, it's a psychological thriller that may be deeply upsetting to some people. There's a car crash and a tragic accident with many deaths. Another death could be suicide. There's a brief non-graphic sexual situatio and brief strong language.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byLennel May 2, 2011

If you've nothing better to do, watch this with friends!

I watched it when I was 13 or 14... really, it traumatised me. To the extent that I can remember certain scenes negatively even now in my 30s. If I were to watc... Continue reading
Adult Written bySpud April 9, 2008

An intriguing thriller

This movie looks scarier then it is. Even though a few scenes made me jump, the movie was more intriguing then scary. The violent content is more mild then most... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 12, 2011


I had pretty high hopes for this movie. It was supposed to be good but I thought that it was extremely boring. I would never have known it was about the mothman... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bymylibrarycardworeout August 17, 2011


This movie was really good. Pretty creepy but I have to say that it was really good. The story was true which added to the effect. There was some sex going on b... Continue reading

What's the story?

In THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES, Richard Gere stars as John Klein, a star political reporter who thinks his life is going just right when, following a car accident, he finds out that his wife (Debra Messing) has a rare brain tumor. After her death, he sees some odd, angel-like drawings that she made in the hospital. Two years later, he suddenly finds himself in the midst of all kinds of nutty stuff, mostly in a small town in West Virginia on the Ohio River. Mysterious circumstances lead him to the town. When his car dies, he goes to a nearby house to ask for help. The man in the house (Will Patton) holds him at gunpoint, saying that John has been there three nights in a row. A skeptical policewoman named Connie (Laura Linney) tells John of odd happenings, including sightings of a winged creature with red eyes who looks sort of like the drawings John's wife did. So John tells his newspaper that he's working on a story and settles in at the local hotel to investigate.

Is it any good?

Director Mark Pellington knows how to handle suspense and throw in some "boo!"-ish surprises. But the happenings themselves are so un-compelling that it hardly seems worthwhile. Maybe it's because they decided to be true to whatever really happened (though they had no problem moving the time of the story up more than 30 years to take place in the present). But even the Mothman at his most ominous just didn't seem that scary to me.

Another problem is the way that, after all that business with having voiceprints done on the Mothman's recordings and having the sightings substantiated by many different people, the movie hedges its bets at the end by telling us that it all might be a post-traumatic manifestation of John's grief over losing his wife or guilt over thinking about letting her go so that he can move on. It's possible that both are true -- that it was the grief that made John available to otherworldly messages and that he decides to walk away from it. But that still leaves us with a big "so what?"

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why many people like mystery/spooky movies like this one. What makes a good spooky movie?

Movie details

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