If you grew up in a town that has local legends, you no doubt grew up hearing the stories that shaped your town's history. The residents of Point Pleasant, West Virginia know about these kinds of legends all too well. On December 15, 1967, 46 people were killed when the Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant, West Virginia collapsed during rush hour. But before the tragedy, people around Point Pleasant reported seeing a large winged creature with glowing red eyes. This creature came to be known as the Mothman. This legendary creature is seen by many as warning of impending doom.
But since this tragedy, the town has embraced the Mothman. They have erected a statue of him, they hold a yearly festival, and the town even has a museum dedicated to him. However for many, the Mothman is not just a legend or a story, but a reality that forever changed their lives.
In the new film, The Mothman Legacy, writer and director Seth Breedlove focuses on the fact that these sightings did not stop in the 1960s, but continue up until present day and allows these eyewitnesses to tell their stories. These accounts are combined with local history and archival documents to expand on this already well-known legend. This is not Breedlove’s first film about the Mothman. In 2017, he documented the thirteen months leading up to the bridge collapse and the beginning of the Mothman sightings in his film The Mothman of Point Pleasant.
The Mothman Legacy is a straightforward look at these accounts and they are not presented in a sensationalized way. This documentary has some beautiful aerial shots as well as well-shot interviews. The choice of Lyle Blackburn as the film's narrator also serves the movie well. (Blackburn is a known entity to Breedlove as the two have worked on other documentaries together.) I appreciate Breedlove’s desire to demonstrate how story shapes us, the way this idea is used to bookend the film felt heavy-handed to me. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the Mothman effects used in the film. While this documentary has some interesting personal accounts, I feel it is definitely a film more for an audience who is new to the legacy and legend of the Mothman. But if you are well-versed on this red-eyed harbinger of doom, you may not gain a lot of new insight.
The Mothman Legacy has a runtime of 76 minutes and is available for digital streaming now.