After THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES, the very last thing I wanted to see was another PG-13 horror film with an insect in its title. So why the hell did I go see DRAGONFLY? Because, if you didn't already know, I'm pledged to see each and every genre effort that hits my area. The good news is that DRAGONFLY, much as I was expecting to blast it to kingdom come, isn't nearly as unbearable as some things I've seen. The bad news is that it isn't a horror film--it's just too nice for that, and I'd bet that director Tom Shadyac (ACE VENTURA) would be the first to agree that DRAGONFLY is NOT a horror movie.

Long story short--Kevin Costner plays a doctor whose pregnant wife (also a doctor) goes off to Red Cross duty in a war-torn Venezuelan district and becomes the victim of a bus/mudslide/waterfall accident when trying to flee the area. But Doctor Kevin keeps getting ghostly, dragonfly-themed manifestations of his wife's presence (she always considered the dragonfly "her" symbol) and goes bonkers trying to figure them out. Eventually, he winds up in a spectactular Venezuelan area himself, leading to a conclusion that would be oh so easy to savage as "sappy," but which--I confess--actually worked on me to some degree. But again, it's much too nice to be considered "horror."

But for a non-horror film, DRAGONFLY sure pretends to be one--we get bloody corpses reaching out and grabbing people, we get (my particular pet peeve) "jump" scenes achieved by the noise of a nuclear cannon going off in the viewer's ear thanks to a souped-up sound mix, and we get a ghost who can apparently unwrap and manipulate dragonfly paperweights and leave symbols all over the place, but can't simply spell out what Costner needs to know.

It's also tempting and easy to take potshots at Costner, but he doesn't do anything wrong here--this is NOT one of his personal ego trips (a plot point is even made of his bald spot). But when one has FINALLY seen a legitimate, all-out ghost/horror movie in the league of THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE (where the hell do I talk about that one? It's out of theatres and actually qualifies as last year's movie--and one of last year's best movies, too!), then one gets impatient with something like DRAGONFLY. If that weren't enough, we're also given Linda Hunt as a character relied on far too often in such films: the reclusive, reluctant source of information who finally relents and tells Costner what she knows... oh, and Kathy Bates is on hand to play Scully to Costner's Mulder (she's a logical law professor who helps take care of Costner's moth-eaten parrot).

I can't say that I hated DRAGONFLY, but neither could I recommend it to you on any solid level. Just thought I'd let you know that I did, indeed, check it out before I said anything else about it.

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