He had me at 'Mothman'.
I am a fan of Mothman mythology, and by that I mean when I hear this creature's name I am mentally transported to another place and time where I Must Learn More About This Thing Right Now. Well, that and I think it makes great horror story fodder. We simply don't see enough Mothman in horror movies. For me, the Mothman is right up there with the Wendigo. Super scary creatures, super nightmarish folklore, super not enough presence in horror films.
In any case, when he asked if I could review his film I was more than happy to do so. I was not disappointed.
First and foremost - and to my great pleasure - this is a Heady Hungarian Horror film.
- Heady: in that this movie will require the same patience and abstract thought usually reserved for blood draining dramas and thrillers.
- Hungarian: Moth is also filmed predominantly in Hungary. In remote Hungarian woods. Let me stress this: remote Hungarian woods. I'm already frightened. If you haven't yet read Algernon Blackwood's short story The Willows then you're not frightened of remote Hungarian woods enough.
- Horror: There is horror in the classic running-from-monsters sense, and then there is yet more horror here that I can assure you will not see coming but you'll likely need some hugs after experiencing. I use the word 'experiencing' on purpose.
Although filmed in Hungary, written, directed, and staring Hungarians, this film is entirely in English. I'm still not sure how to process this. Being so used to watching foreign films with subtitles (or overdubbed. Overdubbing makes me very sad, so very sad.) I was a taken back a bit by this choice. But I liked it. As a native English speaker I found this to be a striking and vibrant choice. I think the slight accents actually drew me into the characters more. I dare say they made me unsure of where I was in relation to comfortable settings. Pitch perfect for a horror movie. I'm not sure if this makes me embarrassingly American but I really have no choice but to roll with how much I was impressed by this choice.
Simply put, Moth is a complicated movie, coincidentally (or not) not unlike the Mothman mythology. This is also a movie that will require you to pay attention Every Second of the way. I found myself having to backup a few times because I looked away for Just For A Moment! This movie will require your full attention at all times. You'll be punished by depriving yourself of the full movie experience if you do not listen to this public service announcement.
The two main characters (you'll only see three others, for moments) made me very very very very very uncomfortable. I loved it. There is a dynamic here that I don't recall seeing in any other horror film. Their connection is uncomfortably uncomfortable - and then they went and threw some remote Hungarian woods into the Mothman mix. Horror story is at full boil.
In all, the setting, the characters, and the story line are blood-chillingly unique. In totality there is such an abundance of strange, surreal, and unsettling that it's difficult to categorize this type of horror story. Be satisfied that it's something you've never quite seen before.
And now I would like to take a brief moment (because that's all my heart can take) to talk about a major element in this film that sent me crawling up the walls in terror: the sound effects. Holy. Hell. I was actually recoiling at these sounds. Recoiling AND climbing the walls.
The sound effects in Moth are Awesome.
I doubt if anyone has done proper research into what a Mothman would actually sound like but my bet is on the sound effects in this movie. Wow.
I guess I would like to conclude this review of a movie that is likely going to create a new horror niche with this: I'm pretty sure you've never seen anything like it. Also, it's very terrifying but not always in the way you think. You get the Mothman, you get naturally scary settings (i.e., remote Hungarian woods, strange people), but you also get something far more sinister - and that's probably the scariest part. That scariest part will take time to digest, however, and that's why I'm thinking this movie will be a front running for a new horror niche.
Moth will be released around the end of 2016 via DVD and VOD. It had it's U.S. premier on June 12, 2016 at the Horror Hotel International Film Festival in Cleveland, OH. You can learn more about Moth here: https://www.facebook.com/moththemovie, and please take a moment to watch the trailer here!
Pairs with tattered blankets, a half bottle full of water, and a dark lonely night when the lights are flickering.
Thank you so much József Gallai and team for giving me this opportunity! You have something really original here, best of luck to you and the success of Moth.