2007
Rated: R for gore, graphic violence, torture, and graphic language.
Genre: Horror Thriller Suspense Science Fiction
Directed By: Frank Darabont
Running Time: 2:36
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 1/30/08
Special Features:
Audio commentary by writer/director Frank Darabont
Eight deleted scenes with optional commentary
“A Conversation With Stephen King and Frank Darabont”
When Darkness Came: The Making of The Mist”
“Taming the Beast: Shooting Scene 35”
“Monsters Among Us: A Look at the Creature FX”
“The Horror of It All: The Visual FX of The Mist”
“Drew Struzan: Appreciation of an Artist”
THE MIST

 

Frank Darabont’s adaptation of the Stephen King story is a true accomplishment. Why? Because it not only manages to be a disturbing and gruesome horror film, but it manages to be an excellent monster movie, a wonderful drama, and an excellent study of mankind drawn into savagery with the fall of society. This is why I love post-apocalyptic movies, for the simple fact that man in essence is a monster, and stripped of resources, we’re generally violent savages. “The Mist” is just an outright balls to the wall movie about mankind’s curiosity and the ill effects of pushing science too far. Ah, that old chestnut, but you know what? It works. “The Mist” sets down on David Drayton, who, with his son, go the market one day after a vicious thunder storm and suddenly find their small town covered in a thick white mist that has surrounded most of the land around them. Darabont manages to set the apocalyptic gem with a great sense of foreboding suspense and dread in spite of the quick delivery he sets for the story. Though he wastes no time in introducing the specters in the mist, he instead brings us deep into the small town supermarket and gives us a second look at humanity during crises.

As the time passes, differences are built, crowds argue, and soon mankind takes its toll as the claws come out. Darabont’s film is a stellar character study on our inability to cope during a catastrophe and how we’re more averse to feeding on one another to survive when the end of days arrives, and he keeps the monsters in the mist a constant mystery, only providing glimpses and flashes until the climax where we’re fully exposed to what is wreaking havoc all over the country side.  

Through the time spent in the supermarket, Darabont pools the collective talents of his variety of veteran character actors and gives us a slew characters we can care for and turn against. Unlikely folks become heroes, and then discover something about themselves in the chaos and carnage of this new menace the cast truly rise to the occasion. Particularly, there are the great respective performances from Andre Braugher, Toby Jones, Jeffrey DeMunn, and Frances Sternhagen, while grabbing two banner performances from Marcia Gay Harden who is the royally obnoxious villainess Mrs. Carmody, who acts as the religious downfall of the small community held up in the supermarket. Acting as an obstacle and symbol of the fog religion provides, she insistently intervenes herself in the efforts to survive causing a large rift among the survivors looking for an answer in the fog where the beasts lurk, while Thom Jane is wonderful as David, a man whose own possible infidelity comes to light when he’s pushed into the same situation as Amanda Dunfrey (a sympathetic Laurie Holden), and struggles to find a way of escape to ensure his son’s safety and stick to the hope that his wife, left behind, didn’t suffer a gruesome fate.

“The Mist” combines social commentary and incredible direction along the backdrop of an invasion under disgusting and merciless monsters who leave a trail a body parts and guts in their wake, all leading to a particularly gruesome and morbid finale that, while confused, Darabont sells with a bleak outlook at Earth thanks to a bonehead mistake. “The Mist” takes so many different genre elements and unfolds into a mad and demented horror film.

Sadly, the writers find themselves at a cross roads when they attempt to have their cake and eat it to. The final ten minutes of the film are outright bleak and disturbing and right when you think it’s over suddenly, the writers just cop out. The final moments of the movie attempt to be grim, hopeful, and ambiguous, and falls pretty flat in the respect of trying to keep the outlook of our characters almost futile, yet also bringing in a ray of optimism. I still don’t see why it couldn’t have ended on such a morbid note, rather than feeding us a climax so confused with what it’s attempting to say. To make matters worse, the ending is so open that it just feels like a doorway into a sequel when it seems that there may not be one coming any time soon. And for that inability to have the balls to give us a rather doomed perspective of this attack, "The Mist" isn't a complete win.

In spite of the confused and rather cheesy closer, "The Mist" works on visceral and deep levels with characterization, great ensemble performances, and a gruesome merciless monster rampage that's exciting and frightening.

 

 

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