Sunday, November 15, 2009
Oh, The Horror! #37: The Mist
I've wanted to see this movie since it came out two years ago and finally caught it. Written for the screen and directed by Frank Darabont and adapted from a novella by Stephen King, Darabont and crew develop a wonderfully directed and acted piece of horror film which I will say is very underrated. Sure, I've heard a few people here and there praise the film but I honestly feel it could get a bit more. This is definitely on the list of actual great horror films in the past few years which people don't like to acknowledge when they say the horror genre is dead.
The ensemble cast is lead by manly-man Thomas Jane as David Drayton, a loving and caring father who takes charge of a strange situation after a thunderstorm hits town. After the storm, David and his wife and child notices a strange mist coming from the mountains. They casually shrug it off as David decides to go into town to buy supplies for home along with his son and his neighbor who has had past tension with him, played greatly by Andre Braugher. While at the supermarket, Dan Miller (Jeffrey DeMunn) rushes to the store with a bloody nose claiming that there was something in the mist. He gets people to shut the market door as people outside of the mist start screaming in agony and soon enough, the mysterious mist surrounds the whole market place. Theories begin to pass around about the cause and effects of this strange mist and what people should do. While in the supermarket, we're introduced to a variety of different characters, played wonderfully by their actors. Among them that truly steals the show is Marcia Gay Harden who portrays religious zealot Mrs. Carmody who sees the strange situation as the Wrath of God coming to punish his sinful children. I will say, though, although I absolutely loved this character, aspects of this character starts to become a bit too extreme and I do feel that the constant portrayal of religiously heavy characters like Mrs. Carmody could get a bit annoying in contrast to actual Christians with a grand faith. But I'll just leave it at that as I refuse to say too much. Another character that stands out is Irene Reppler (Frances Sternhagen) an elderly school teacher who thinks for herself and kicks monster ass. As the day goes by, people begin to die one-by-one as people attempt to escape and investigate as strange giant bug creatures break into the store, causing havoc and death.
The thing that I love about the movie is that although this could be classified under monster film, it's truly a study of humans and how they handle themselves under stress and the effects they cause on people and situations around them. I'm more interesting in the things they say to each other and what they do then who's going to die next and how the monsters look. Now not to say I don't get tense when they go out and a creature is around them, but the film truly shines on the characters and their decisions and relationships to each other. Some are very caring to each other, some very violent, some attempting to find an easier way out of life through the situation that arises them. This aspect of the film makes me think of The Walking Dead, a comic book character study about a group of people who struggle to live on after the world is infected by zombies, written beautifully by Robert Kirkman. Awesomely enough, Darabont himself is heavily attached to the upcoming Walking Dead TV series.
But back to the movie, highly recommend. Seek this out if you haven't. Great directing, acting cast, and good suspense.The use of music works perfectly as it's actually not that noticeable. The rise in tension is used perfectly when no music is played and when it does play, it's a very beautifully composed sordid and menacing sounding piece that helps dig the strangeness under your skin. For the people who can't get into their head that gore doesn't make a horror movie, there's at least a bit here for them as the slight gory scenes really stand out but don't particularly pull you out of the story or take center stage. Though one particular scene when a bunch of spiders creep out of a man truly gets me itching and uneasy. Yeeesh! I don't want to say too much because the movie came as an absolute surprise of how good it was and I'm glad I avoided all reviews and spoilers besides people here and there telling me it was a great movie. And the end, oh boy the ending! It was advertised on the trailers about how insane the ending of this movie was and I just fell in love with it. A bit of a predictable ending, but still heart-wrenching and a perfect ending for this movie.