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The Film

   This movie has an online cover Mist, The (2007)
Directed By: Frank Darabont

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View Count: 2
First/Last Viewed:2008.07.24/2009.05.14
First/Last Reviewed:2008.07.25/2008.07.31

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Mist, The (2007) came out to great reviews and everybody i know who saw it loved it. Yet, it only managed $26M at the box office, although it's gathering a sort of cult fan following on home video. I finally got to see this film last night, and i was completely satisfied. This is not your average horror film with cheap tricks. This is a very well constructed story of social melt-down. Think of it as a Lord Of The Flies (1963) with adults in a horror/sci-fi setting.

One morning, a little town in New England wakes up with a thick mist coming its way from the lake. At first thought to be nothing more than a meteorological phenomenon, reports surface of people dying when they go into the mist. For a small group of people who were at a supermarket when the mist came up, holing up together until the storm dies down seems like the right thing to do. But it starts to become clear that it's not the mist that is attacking people, but things in the mist. As pressure mounts, and as it becomes increasingly clear that the threat is supernatural, the social levees break down and the little population in the supermarket starts fragmenting. You have the cocky intellectual who refuses to believe what's right in front of his eyes, the pragmatics who realize that action must be taken in order to survive at all, and finally, the religious-minded who soon gather around a mentally disturbed but eloquent and convincing woman who predicts that this is the end of the world and that they should all prepare to meet their maker. Quickly, conflict arises within as forces that are not of this world gather outside for what seems like the final kill.

Characters are richly defined and layered, an attribute i associate to Stephen King's style of writing. I guess one could argue that he's not the greatest writer, but i always thought that he managed great stories and great characters. He can describe his main character and highlight parts of their personalities through behaviors that click with the right aspects of the story. In particular, i have much enjoyed in the past It (1990) and Stand, The (1994), mostly for their rich characters and layered story. I felt an undeniable similarity of structure here in the way the story is told.

But, truly speaking, it's the creatures that give this film a whole new dimension that keep on reinforcing the desperation and hopelessness of the situation for the characters holed up in the supermarket, a place that was safe once, and a place that represents the pinnacle of our modern consumerism (anyone seeing a connection with  Living Dead 2, Dawn Of The Dead, The (1978) here?). First of all, the creatures are very varied, for the first 3 or 4 waves of attacks, you basically experience new kinds f bugs each time. It creates a simple but so effective feel that there are a whole lot of those creatures out there. Then of course the mist is used in a fantastic way to create more suspense. The first attacks are always ill defined, and you can only guess hat the bugs look like, and then they reveal themselves. This is a trick that has been used many times in the past by masters such as John Carpenter (Fog, The (1979)) or George A. Romero (Living Dead 1, Night Of The Living Dead, The (1968)), but it's done so well here as to genuinely be a whole part of the story. Then o course, the creature design itself is top notch. Most of the creatures  are some sort of bugs, but they feature mammal teeth, and things that look like distorted faces. It's very familiar, yet very different from anything you have seen before.... and the result is even creepier.

This film is truly a gem of sci-fi/horror cinema and it's regrettable that it hasn't found an audience.  It should have broad appeal because of its great ensemble cast and writing. It shouldn't turn most people off as the horror elements are pretty traditional: it's bloody, but in the expected way. It's above all a rich drama that hapens to have a lot of nasty bugs from another dimension crawling aorund and eating up and infesting people. This film will mostly have you on the edge of your seat though, guessing at what will happen next, rooting for characters in the story, and feeling with them their adventure and despair. The end will shock you and my wife and i were very polarized about it. I felt it was a perfect ending in the context of the story (all humans are flawed by nature in some aspect), but my wife was really affected by it, rejecting the characters' final choices. You can decide for yourself. This fill will leave you thinking about lots of stuff.


- Laurent Hasson