Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Mist (2007)

"The Mist" (2007, Frank Darabont, Darkwoods Productions, Dimension Films) is based on the novella of the same name by Stephen King.
A wild thunderstorm causes some carnage to the house of the Draytons, David Drayton (Thomas Jane), Stephanie Drayton (Kelly Collins Lintz) and their son Billy (Nathan Gamble). It also damages the house and car of their dickhead neighbour Brent Norton (Andre Braugher).

David agrees to take Brent to the shops in his undamaged car, taking young Billy with him, and leaving his wife in the house. The supermarket is teeming with people who are panic-buying after the freak weather.

Just then a sudden thick mist rolls in, accompanied by a yelling madman, Dan Miller (Jeffery DeMunn), who warns everyone to stay inside and avoid the mist as he has seen someone 'taken by it'.

The power goes down and the store becomes reliant on its back up generator. Several people run out into the mist and can be heard screaming in agony.

Everyone backs into the shop and awaits there, terrified. One woman, desperate to get back to her children, runs out into the mist solo.

A run-in in the backroom brings it to the attention of everyone that there is indeed, something in the mist.... or some things!

The film does well to analyse human nature and to demonstrate how one convincing and fanatical person can quickly turn people against one another. The "crazy Christian" woman fanatic-type-person, Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden), starts as a minority figure. A crazy person that the others avoid and laugh at, but as the fear spreads and the panic grows, she becomes stronger, more convincing. The others flock to her and she becomes dangerous and twisted. She begins to appear to make sense, to be a redemption for the terrified people, but the power goes quickly to her head and she soon begins to think of herself as the second-coming. She can do anything, right? She has god on her side! And if she has to kill a few people, well he'll understand, right? Somehow, I think both King and Darabont are men after my own heart. I'm not the biggest fan of religion. Especially fanatics. By all means, have faith, just don't push it on me. If I'm stuck in a shop with you, surrounded by man-eating mist monsters, and you wont stop preaching all day and all night, I'll damn well use up all the duct tape stock! Geese!

I do love Ollie Weeks (Toby Jones) in this flick. He's the assistant manager, and his unassuming character quickly steals the show as a capable, gun-toting sensible dude!

A lot of the characters are quite menacing and tense. Which really adds to the plot and the pace. The people are suspicious, scared, angry and soon, without hope. They react like pack animals, and turn on one another. Plus, some truly horrific injuries really bring you to the edge of your seat.

The monsters are surprisingly good, considering movies which rely on so many special effects usually lose their impressive effect after so long. "The Mist" manages to keep some mistique by shrouding the creatures in mist. The animals, insects and creatures are scary because, for all intent and purpose, they're pretty organic. They've clearly come from another world, another climate and have adapted differently. They're not monsters, they're just creatures. They're doing what comes naturally to them! Now, I'm not saying 'let's conserve these crazy gigantic bug-monsters'! Hell no! Kill 'em all! I'm just saying, well done guys, these creatures are scary!

The creatures vary from lobstery things and tentacled things, to gigantic locusts and pterodactyl-y things and... spiders! Arachnophobes beware, here there be spiders!

The ending is severe. Harsh, even. Extremely harsh! Stephen King is never this harsh. The brutal ending is needed though, I think if this movie had ended like the book or like "The Birds" it would have felt unfinished.

And watch out for familiar faces!

A good, tense movie. If you have a bug-fear, you may find this movie uncomfortable. If you fear for humanity you will find this film will not soothe those fears. But since when did horror exist to make you feel good about humanity?

[Picture: Darkwoods Productions]