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Eyes of the Mothman

Recommend only to the hard-core cryptozoological crowd

Rod Lott February 16th, 2011

I'll be honest: Until the Richard Gere/Laura Linney film "The Mothman Prophecies" came out in 2002, I'd never even heard of the urban legend of the winged creature that supposedly haunted the small town of Point Pleasant, W. Va., in the mid-1960s, culminating in a bridge collapse that took 46 lives.


Intrigued? Everything you could possibly want to know — actually, way, way more — about the likely mythical beast is covered in "Eyes of the Mothman," a tiresome documentary film by Matthew J. Pellowski.

I should note up front that the work is a needlessly self-indulgent 155 minutes long, and it takes 40 minutes before Pellowski really even gets to the mysterious flying man with hypnotic eyes and angelic wings. First, he covers the town's back story, from the supposed curse of Shawnee warrior Chief Cornstalk in the early days of the American Revolution to TNT "igloos" around town.

Given the nature of its subject, the film relies on re-enactments and (mostly) talking-head interviews with the same handful of locals. I have no doubt Pellowski did his homework, but potentially was too close to it to produce something with mass appeal, as "Eyes" is mind-numbingly repetitive and pedestrian in its pacing. One person will say something unremarkable, in more words than needed, only to be followed by another person saying the same thing. Its “insider baseball” approach may be fascinating for folklorists, but keeps more casual viewers at bay.

Unlike the Mothman story, it simply lacks suspense. I can recommend it only to the hard-core cryptozoological crowd (likely its intended viewership, what with an extra disc of "extended interviews" and a "psychic walk-through") and not one soul else. —Rod Lott

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