Television Review: Mothman
· Sheldon Wilson
· Jewel Staite
· Connor Fox
· Jerry Leggio
· IMDb: Mothman
by R.J. Carter
Published: April 19, 2010
SyFy debuts another creature feature that's more horror and less sci-fi with this weekend's "Mothman." Now, if you're expecting something based upon those mysterious creature sightings in West Virginia that have cryptozoologists scratching their heads, you'll only be minimally satisfied with this Sheldon Wilson directed offering, as it shoehorns that historical event into this hodgepodge of other horror film conventions.
"Mothman" opens with a tragedy at a lake, a la "Friday the 13th." When a young friend drowns during horesplay at the lake, rather than own up to the fact that everyone was acting like kids, they cover up the drowning by claiming the victim hit his head. To give their lie verisimilitude, they each -- all seven of them, so they're all in it equally -- bash the corpse in the head with a rock. ("Worst diving accident I've ever seen; he must've bounced off that rock a good seven times. Kid never had a chance.")
Ten years later, one of the conspirators, Katherine (Firefly's Jewel Staite), returns to her home town of Point Pleasant (yet another horror show reference, but only by serendipity) as a reporter, sent to cover the local Mothman Festival, celebrating the town's mythical bogeyman. But her return now places all seven of the guilty back into the borders of the town, and soon they begin to get picked off, one by one, by a winged spirit creature that enters the world through reflections. (Question: If he can only enter the world through mirrors, why doesn't he just stay in the world once he's come through, removing his little vulnerability?) This moth-winged phantasm with glowing red eyes is reputedly a spirit that comes forth to avenge those who've died violently, and has a signature killing stroke in which it gouges out the eyes of the victim.
Of course, no one in Point Pleasant really believes in the Mothman, except for old Frank Waverly (Jerry Leggio, in a bang-up job), a blind, eccentric crank who claims to be the only living survivor of a Mothman encounter. He's a wealth of knowledge, seemingly, on what the Mothman truly is and what measures can be taken to defeat him. But can Frank truly be trusted or does he have some other mad agenda he's following?
Yes, it's a cheesy horror flick with the expected low-budget SyFy CGI work and an overwrought method that doesn't stand up to critical analysis. It's an almost completely formulaic supernatural-slasher flick right down to the ending-that-doesn't. However, fans of Jewel Staite's work in Firefly and Stargate: Atlantis may tune in to see her performance, and longtime bit-player Jerry Leggio really hams it up (in a good way) with the part given to him.
"Mothman" premieres Saturday, April 24, at 9PM ET on SyFy.