Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Incredible and Terrifying.
I consider myself a critic that is hard to scare, and it’s true. I have seen so many horror films and scoffed at their attempts to frighten me. While I can respect the level of filmmaking for others, I just couldn’t really find myself reeling back in fear. There have been a few that I was actually glued to the seat, but it’s more common to find me eating popcorn in a movie that others would consider scary. Now, The Mist is a different story. This film was very well done, quite honestly incredibly brave, and yes…terrifying. It leaves you with a wide-open mouth saying “wow” over and over.
Real quick, David Drayton (Thomas Jane), his son Billy (Nathan Gamble), and neighbor Brent (Andre Braugher) head to the supermarket to get some supplies. A nasty storm hit the night before, and the power went out. Looks like the power outage also hit the grocery store, and plenty of people are at the store making sure they got enough supplies. However, when a thick mist hits the town, it engulfs the store, leaving everyone imprisoned inside while…something in the mist awaits them. I can’t really say what these things are apart from something other-worldly and monstrous. People are panicking inside the store, and it isn’t long before they all begin to feel helpless against a seemingly endless variety of things outside.
First of all, this movie might remind you of another film called The Fog. Very similar, only in The Fog, there are what seems to be ghosts hiding in the fog instead of monsters. If I had to choose between these two films, it would be The Mist, hands down. This film succeeds very well in making the film terrifying through its use of camerawork and lack of music. It’s a very quiet film, which allows the audience to hear their heartbeat as the unknown makes its way into the store.
The monsters’ designs are really great, but the CGI itself wasn’t all that spectacular, especially for 2007 and especially not for today’s audience. Thankfully, you don’t clearly see these monsters for the most part. They are usually just shadows beyond the mist, or desaturated by the mist, and honestly that is when they are most disturbing or terrifying. It’s that all-too-familiar unknown element that sets your nerves awry. It’s also the acting that helps facilitate fear.
Now I understand where some of the inspiration for casting The Walking Dead derived from. Three actors from The Walking Dead were all found in this film. Then again, maybe it’s just Frank Darabont, who wrote both The Mist and The Walking Dead. This man knows how to write horror for the screen, and how to make it so gritty that you’re just pulled right in every time. Seriously, I’m not impressed often, but as a whole this movie was nothing less than spectacular. Thomas Jane does a tremendous job as the father that will do anything for his son and fellow townsfolk. Marcia Gay Harden is amazing as the crazy religious leader transforming the town into bloodthirsty followers of God. Anything for a chance of survival.
I won’t reveal too much about the ending, but we’ll just say this…you won’t believe it. Something happens that is unbelievable, and you won’t even be sure if it’s a good or bad thing…it’s the bitterest of bittersweet moments. That’s just the thing, this film is also unpredictable to the 10th degree. You are right there along with the store survivors. You really don’t know anything about anyone or anything happening outside, or what the heck these bugs are. There really isn’t much character development, or when there is, it hardly matters. That may have hurt it on some level, but on the other, you’re just pulled in with the rest of the crowd. There’s a crazy lady over here, a crying person over there…you’re just right there in the action with everybody else. There is some truly brilliant writing going on here, folks.
The Mist is a successful horror film that balances all of the materials that effectively make a movie scary. Things like the unknown, not overdone pop-out moments, quiet but tense scenes, and remarkable camerawork expertly planned. It’s a must-see.