Monday, May 11, 2009
The Mist Review
Stephen King has to be the most prolific writer of our times that doesn't get enough credit in the horror community. At least not in the adaptation department, and that's due in large part to some serious stinkers in the past. However, recently, Hollywood has really done a good job trying to fix that and with The Mist, we get a bit of everything that makes Stephen King great. We get a small setting, a confined location and an incredible look into humanity, with some stellar effects and a little help from stormy weather.
This weekend I was tired. But I managed to watch this two hour fright film, and I really enjoyed it. At least a little bit...
Here is the trailer for the 2007 Stephen King adaptation The Mist:
The movie opened up with a cool artistic throwback to Stephen King's book covers. An artist is in his home and a storm has hit his community. This storm is incredible, and begins the story for a such a great mood. The movie then moves towards the main plot. A mist comes through and it's a deep fog, as a majority of the city goes down to the local market to pick up goods a nightmare begins. They see what appears to be an alien outside, and they all stay in doors and the second leg of this film commences.
The subplot, and some might argue the main plot of the film involves a group of townspeople trapped inside the market. The market splits into two sides. One side believes that this is the beginnings of Armageddon, and calls with somewhat of a biblical basis. The notion really starts to divide people as the fanatical Mrs. Carmody calls for blood! The butcher at one point stabs a military man as the cause for the onset of the evil, and is thrown outside of the store only to get sucked up by a giant alien like creature. The story then gets really bad when a group of skeptics want to make a great escape, and as they try to make their way out, the crazy woman calls for human sacrifice! As the group is ready to sacrifice a young boy, shots ring out and she is killed with a shot to the head and the skeptics escape.
Let's rewind. Why is there a strange occurrence? The answers that you have to stick to is that the Military had opened a portal and had something go wrong. Bringing forth the mist and creating the mess for the rest of the film. This comes to the surface amidst the townsfolk throwing out a military personnel.
The creatures are made even more creepy because you can't really see them. You only see small pieces of them, and you hear the sounds of them. By the time you see a full complete monster the cgi isn't overboard and they look somewhat believable. I'd say almost as believable as the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. These creatures are eating people alive and it doesn't get too gorey, but there are some sick sounds that come across in this film.
I'm not a fan of this "trapped" inside a location horror premise. However, this one is done somewhat well. The length of the films lends itself incredibly well overall and I'm impressed that though I was bored at times, I really admired the attempt to make these characters worthwhile. One of my complaints about horror in general happens to stem on the fact that the characters are nothing more than disposable teens or disposable dead bodies. This movie attempts to reverse that, and really tries to get a psychological twist to the horror department rather than relying on cheap death scenes and random kills to equate the scary part to an already scary literary work. (meaning that the film is a representation of that literature) All that to say that this film, by being over two hours long, creates enough balance between horror and character to elevate itself higher than the traditional horror movie.
Things get really bad for me and most viewers of this film in the final act. After the skeptics escape, losing some of their friends to the monsters in the parking lot, Our main character David Drayton, drives his car as far as he can go until he loses gas. He happens to have a hand gun with 4 bullets...he makes one of the hardest decisions possible, and this is one of the hardest parts of the film...until the mist starts to clear.
Is The Mist Scary?: Yes. There are a lot of different things working in the favor for this film. I think the majority of viewers of this film will probably get scared. There is enough tension to really make for a good scary film. The monsters aren't the scariest part of the film. The monsters are almost secondary to the major crux of the scary moments of this movie.
The scariest portion of this film for me started with the mist. The mist is so thick that you can barely drive. I for one am scared of deep fogs as I nearly died in a car accident involved with some thick fog. Anytime I see fog or mist as thick as there was in this film I get scared. So I immediately felt the sting of fear with the mist descending and overtaking the city. The smaller the city the worst the fear can become in many instances.
The second part of this film is the amount of religious undertones and overtones for that matter that become evident in the market. The market divides between super religious and skeptics. Things get bad when one side becomes near cult like in nature and the other doesn't. The reality of cults, and religious bigotry is huge. I don't think that people realize how seriously people take their faith at times, and this film puts it into your face to judge. As a viewer you really are forced to take sides, and it becomes evident that this thing is a powder keg, and it takes you to the edge of your seat until the climax, which I found dumb.
There are some harsh moments in this film, including killing a child. However, you never see the actual gore, which makes this film rest on the border of going too far. The science fiction elements allow this film to carry a lot of weight on visuals, but the religious template set inside the grocery store is what really made this film worthwhile to watch.
Overall, this film takes a long time to set up the closing moments. I really was looking forward to having no answers at the end, but for some reason the film takes you to a near definitive conclusion and really doesn't explain a whole lot. It just sort of shows you the aftermath, and well...the end. I found that the movie played on too long, that's my major complaint in this film. I didn't read the novella, so I can't really compare the two. Check out The Mist, for a somewhat interesting take on science fiction monster film and religious characterizations and thought. If you're not a diehard, you might find this movie a bit too boring, and that ending really made me question a lot of different things.
Maybe the best thing to do while watching The Mist, is to ask yourself: "What Would I Do"? That will carry you through a lot of this film.
I would've stayed inside the market, cause I'm scared of a lot of stuff. In fact I'm scared of writing this review...cause I know I'm a terrible writer. (sometimes)
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