Director: Richard Mansfield
Starring: Rachel Dale, Stephen Glover, Daniel Mansfield, Darren Munn, Katy Vans
Mansfield Dark Productions
All Regions DVD release from Wild Eye Releasing (April 21, 2015)
An Ancient Evil Unleashed. A supernatural thriller based on the terrifying legend of The Mothman. Rachel and Katy work together in a large, empty museum.
The Mothman Curse follows Katy and Rachel as they work in a cinema museum, archiving and organizing old movies. In the beginning of the film, the viewer is shown Rachel’s recent trip to the Lake District via flashback, but most of the action occurs either in the museum or at home, giving the audience a limited perspective on the coming events. Strange nightmares plague the girls and it becomes apparent early on that an ominous influence is affecting them both. As time progresses, each begins seeing bizarre apparitions, both in their homes and at work, and, with increasing intensity, each sighting becomes clearer and more threatening.
Independent films will often run the risk of showing their lack of experience on their sleeves, but to be honest The Mothman Curse never feels like an amateur effort. The film runs much more arthouse than low budget and what appears to be a rather loose narrative turns into a raw, increasingly bizarre excursion in fear. From the successful use of light and shadow, thanks in most part to the black and white picture filmed by a (£10) pinhole CCTV camera, to the eerie, white noise sound score, The Mothman Curse plays with the audience’s desire to be scared.
Fans of Akira Yamaoka’s Silent Hill soundscapes, or even the understated music from UK creature feature Creep, will appreciate what is done here. The sound is a constant, cleverly situated beneath dialogue and sound effects with a low combination of static, hums, and an often industrial tilt. Sharp whistles and screams evoke jump scares, but are not overdone, and the whispering voices and strange breathing only add to the mix. Turn up the sound and turn off the lights for the best experience.
As far as the cinematography is concerned, less is consistently better. Most scenes follow the protagonists through their daily routines but are juxtaposed with surreal, nightmare scenes reminiscent of Wes Craven’s The Prince of Darkness, replete with ominous voices and washed out visuals. Often these moments are interwoven with tense shots, adding an ever building sense of dread to an already nightmarish and frightening setup. As the film progressed, I found myself looking forward to the random cutaways.
The titular entity, known simply as the Mothman, provides an already terrifying reputation, being both fodder for other genre films and a living legend throughout the annals of North American history, by way of random appearances throughout the film. Said to be a harbinger of bad fortune and impending death, the Mothman has appeared prior to tragic accidents and has been connected to extraterrestrial encounters, cryptozoological sightings and other supernatural happenings. The ambiguity of this creature only serves to make the film more terrifying and bizarre.
I have a soft spot for found footage films and I am not ashamed to admit it. Perhaps it’s the thrill of living vicariously through terrifying realities, much like a gamer stepping in a virtual world filled with shambling horrors and limited resources or even a nervous patron of a theme park, travelling in a rickety railcar through an animatronics-filled haunted house. Whatever the case, The Mothman Curse satisfied my craving for something unnerving and I was left very impressed by its atmospheric dread and jarring, effective scares. Be patient, as this is a slow crawl, but be sure to enjoy the ride along the way.
The Mothman Curse is available from Amazon.Com – http://www.amazon.com/Mothman-Curse-The-Rachel-Dale/dp/B00RZXWVD4