Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
Marcia Gay Harden
What's it about
After a violent storm attacks a town in Maine, an approaching cloud of mist appears the next morning. As The Mist quickly envelops the area, a group of people get trapped in a local grocery store -among them, artist David Drayton (Tom Jane) and his five-year-old son. The people soon discover that the mist hosts horrific, unworldly creatures that entered through an inter-dimensional rift, which may or may not have been caused by a nearby military base. As the world around them manifests into a literal hell-on-earth, the horrified citizens try desperately to survive this apocalyptic disaster.
Is it good movie?
The Mist is one of the last films that I can say truly kicked my ass, and I will also admit that I am completely in love with it. If I could sleep with it, I likely would. So read on, dear readers, to find out more about my love affair with this film.
Really, the reason why I love this film the most is the basic humanity of it all. The grocery store draws them all in, people of all kinds, and this movie is really a character study about how people react in unthinkably awful situations. It all boils down to good versus evil, and it isn't always the creatures in The Mist that turn out to be evil. The Mist is really about how people react when they're called upon to be brave, and how they will survive when put under a serious microscope.
The case really deserves to be commended in this one. Tom Jane is a little over the top in his action figure delivery at times, but still carries the film well as a believable lead. Marcia Gay Harden is just dripping with evil as Mrs. Carmody, and honorable mentions go out to Toby Jones as Ollie Weeks and William Sadler as Jim Grondin- two very believable characters who are played very strongly. People complain that there is a lot of over-acting going on, but I disagree. Things are turned up a bit, but this is a film- entertainment, that's okay.
Don't get me wrong though, The Mist isn't always about people fighting with each other and struggling to get a grip on things. There are some serious monsters and creatures in this film. I won't give much away about them, but they attack and they do some serious damage. There's actually a surprising amount of gore to be found in this film- people cut in half, things bursting open, open wounds, gunshots, stabbings, this one is pretty red all over. And tense! Oh my goodness, this bad boy is tense- although some decisions are questionable, whenever anyone steps into The Mist for any reason, it's scary sh*t.
The effects are pretty decent, although I found them to be pretty shoddy near the beginning when you catch a glimpse of the first creature. This is nitpicking though. Also, some characters really seem to be really dumb and oblivious to the truth, while others seem to blindly follow things to extreme levels which seemed a bit unrealistic at times. Again, this is just my take on things; I haven't been faced with a potentially apocalyptic force for at least a few months, so I wouldn't really be able to judge how people react. I won't say much more about the matter because I don't want to spoil things for you.
The Mist works because you care about the characters. When people get their comeuppance, you'll say "f*ck yeah!" and cheer right along with them. When innocent people get it, you'll burn with anger and be furious. Don't forget about the balls to the wall ending either, arguably the gutsiest ending committed to a mainstream horror flick in awhile. The studio didn't have to do it, but they did and I'm glad- it made the film stand out that much more. Don't spoil it for others; let your jaw drop and stomach sink.
Video / Audio
The Mist is presented in theatrical widescreen ratio, and looks simply beautiful, with a nearly flawless transfer. There's a black and white version of the film that looks even better on the second disc!
Audio comes in the industry standard of Dolby 5.1 and is simply great as well. The film is quiet, with pangs of noise that will scare you silly.
First up is a commentary by director Frank Darabont, which is a must listen. The man loves this film, and the story. He has a great horror background and is very interested in the film.
The deleted scenes are okay, I didn't think that there was much to offer, but a bit of background information. Commentary is optional and explains why they were cut.
There's a short featurette on artist Drew Stuzan, a dude who has done some of the more famous movie posters in days gone by. Interesting stuff.
You'll also get When Darkness Came, a 40 minute making of feature which goes way in-depth about how the film came together. Its great stuff, has lots of footage, and plenty of insight on the film's pseudo-documentary look.
Taming the Beast is a short featurette about the first time the creatures attack. Very interesting technical stuff here, certainly worth a watch.
Monsters Among Usbrings us to KNB, which is always a treat. Dig those wacky creatures! I did.
The Horror of it All is a digital effects featurette which essentially goes over how things were brought to life via computers. Also cool, but again, most inferior compared to the practical effects.
Also there's a few short webisodes, three in fact, which are great. They each detail a specific day's worth of shooting and really are kind of funny and insightful.
A few trailers are included as well, of course.
The Mist is a great horror film that has been treated to an absolutely jam-packed feature-enriched double DVD set. I don't know what else you could ask for, you should check it out even if you've seen the film already so you can watch it in black and white. This adds so much more atmosphere and just seems to feel right. I highly recommend this set, did you guess that yet?