ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to our youth through you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

The Mothman Prophecies (2002), PG-13
Analysis Date: January 26, 2002
CAP Score: 68
CAP Influence Density: 0.57

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is completely objective to His Word and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

THE MOTHMAN PROHPECIES (PG-13) -- the town's secret history begins to take shape again.

Distributed by: Screen Gems
Director(s): Mark Pellington
Producer(s): Gary W. Goldstein, Gary Lucchesi, James McQuaide, Tom Rosenberg, Ted Tannebaum, Richard S. Wright
Written by/Screenplay: John A. Keel (book), Richard Hatem (screenplay)
Cinematography/Camera: Fred Murphy
Music: Tom Hajdu, Andy Milburn, Jeff Rona
Editing: Brian Berdan

As author Alexander Leek (Alan Bates) tries vainly to explain away the supernatural appearances and events terrorizing a sleepy town as just one of the as yet undiscovered realities of earth, The Mothman Prophecies delves into the supernatural world with the Mothman wreaking worries and woes on the inhabitants of Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

As a star reporter for the Washington Post, John Klein (Richard Gere) meets the Mothman. He and his wife Mary (Debra Messing) literally run into the Mothman on a dark night with their SUV. She was driving. She saw it. He didn't. The injuries Mary received in the ensuing wreck reveal she is with tumor and dies. During her hospitalization, Mary sketches a variety of images ... of the Mothman. Even the orderly who tells Klein of his departed wife's sketchings does it in a spooky monosyllabic "duh!" fashion then is suddenly nowhere in sight.

Deciding to drive instead of fly to his next assignment to meet with the Governor of Virginia, Klein experiences major electric failure of his car. What to do!? Klein is on a two-lane back road on his way to Richmand, Virginia and his car is dead. It is the middle of the night, 1:30 AM. Abandoning his car to trek to the closest house to call for help, an hour or so later Klein finds himself in Point Pleasant, West Virginia -- on the Ohio border -- a trip that would take 6 hours even at 80 miles per hour. It is now 2:30 AM.

Banging on the door of a modest home to use their phone to call for help. Klein is greeted by Gordon (Will Patton - Remember the Titans) with a shotgun to Klein's face. Gordon claims Klein had been banging on his door at 2:30 AM for the previous two nights. Klein says he has never been to Point Pleasant. Coming to the rescue of Klein is Sgt. Connie Parker (Laura Linney).

Talking Gordon into lowering the shotgun, Parker starts to put pieces and parts together as Klein speaks of how he came to be in Point Pleasant. The history of Point Pleasant is replayed in Parker's mind as the town's secret history begins to take shape again. Klein finds sketchings that look just like his wife's. And he finds marks on things in Point Pleasant just like the marks on the grill of his SUV, which is also now in Point Pleasant.

The standard array of inexplicable things happen with regularity: the phone calls, the voices from nowhere, even a visit from Klein's dead wife. Premonitions happen that foretell disasters down to the number of people killed in them. All from Point Pleasant ... the "home" of the Mothman.

There is much more to this supernatural thriller but I will stop here to avoid ruining it for you if you chose to see this movie after learning of its true content from the Findings/Scoring section.

Though this is a movie about a manufactured supernatural thing, the Mothman is never seen. The most of the invasive properties of this film are explosive startles and unholy presences and voices. There were less examples of foul language in The Mothman Prophecies than in A Walk to Remember. Regarding sexual matters, an episode of seeing a nude woman through a steamed up shower door and a pair of teens necking in the bar seat of a car were about the most offensive. Clearly equivalent to R-rated programming in Wanton Violence/Crime and Offense to God, The Mothman Prophecies was equivalent to PG in Sex/Homosexuality, Drugs/Alcohol, and G in Murder/Suicide. The final score of 68 places this movie at the bottom of the scoring range for PG movies (68 to 86 out of 100), making it a "hardcore" PG in comparison to the movies in the CAP baseline database. But it is typical for some matters of ignominy to bother some folks more than others. So please rely on the listing in the Findings/Scoring section for making your decision whether this movie is fit or not.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]

    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    The Mothman Prophecies (2002) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • reckless driving, once resulting in property damage
  • explosive startles, many
  • firearm threat
  • graphic eye injuries
  • disaster mayhem
  • many bodies

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • ten uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • suggestion to lie to escape accountability

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • female nudity behind a steamy shower door
  • necking in a closet
  • teens necking in the back seat of a car

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • drinking

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • eight uses of God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive
  • unholy presences, many
  • inexplicable stoppage of all electrical devices
  • premonitions
  • appearance of dead wife
  • unholy voices
  • "It brought me here."

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted

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    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our nearly seven years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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