Described by director Mark Pellington as "a psychological mystery with naturally surreal overtones," The Mothman Prophecies begins like an ambitious episode of The X-Files. Richard Gere brings adequate torment, portent, and ambiguity to his role as a Washington Post reporter and grieving widower plagued by a mysterious, unseen urban legend known as the Mothman. Pellington develops subtle doom and gloom that's as effective as the paranoid streak he brought to Arlington Road. As the Mothman terrifies a West Virginia town, he remains an enigma, glimpsed almost subliminally. This--along with a magnificently creepy soundtrack--amplifies the movie's surreal overtones while keeping everything else (unsettling phone calls, prophesied disasters, suggestions of the afterlife) completely unexplained. With Laura Linney and Debra Messing in underdeveloped roles, The Mothman Prophecies feels a bit underdeveloped itself (and ends in desperate need of Mulder and Scully). But if you like your weirdness open-ended, this moody thriller's worth a look. --Jeff Shannon

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