Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Movie Review: "The Mist" (2007)

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Movie"The Mist"
Director: Frank Darabont
Year: 2007
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 6 minutes

The night after a huge electrical storm hits a small Maine town, David Drayton (Thomas Jane) takes his son Billy (Nathan Gamble) and his neighbor Brent Norton (Andre Braugher) to the local market for supplies. While driving to the store, they notice a strange mist moving in from the mountains and a lot of military personnel being mobilized. They believe it is all related to storm damage and think nothing of it. While shopping, the mist comes barreling down on the market and a local man named Dan Miller (Jeffery DeMunn) runs inside in a panic yelling that there is something in the mist. At first, people aren't sure what to think, but it quickly becomes very apparent that there are creatures in the mist and that these creatures are deadly. It begins to look like nobody is getting out alive. 

So often in modern day horror films, studios opt to tone down the amounts of terror, gore, and scariness in order to appeal to a more wide-scale audience. Generally, these watered-down versions of films are rated PG-13. Luckily, "The Mist" is not one of these movies. It is a truly scary, terrifying modern day creature feature with a real life atmosphere that holds nothing back. By keeping the story confined to a small area and yet never really divulging how far the mist has spread, filmmakers have been able to create an environment that breeds hysteria, anxiety, fear-mongering and intimidation, plus all of those creepy crawlies. These ingredients come together to spawn a truly eerie film. Unlike "The Fog," which should NEVER be confused for "The Mist" because it sucks and is exactly the kind of movie that we hate, but that's for another review.

"The Mist" contains a lot of frightening creatures that bite and gnash and tear people apart, but beyond these beings, there are many other horrifying elements that make this movie scary. Marcia Gay Harden's character Mrs. Carmody is an old-school religious zealot who preaches fire and brimstone to everyone and anyone, especially those who don't want to listen. She has the uncanny ability to stir everyone up in the midst of an already awful situation and creates her own mini-cult with a mob mentality that even goes as far as murdering someone who was only situationally involved in the proliferation of the mist. Harden plays this part with such a conviction that it's bone-chilling to think that there are really people like her and her followers out in the world. Even without the giant mutant insect/pterodactyl/spider/tentacle things killing people in droves, what the humans do to each other in this movie is equally as horrific as what the monsters are capable of, perhaps even more so since humans know the difference between right and wrong. Also, the climax of this film is so utterly gut-wrenching and soul-emptying that it's hard not to shed a tear when all is said and done. We can't say much more than this, you'll just have to watch it for yourself and see what we mean.

Beyond these terrifying plot points, the makeup work used throughout the movie is rather great. Whether it's half of a body being pulled on a rope, gnarly burn marks, or hideous swollen, infected bug bites on necks, there are some really creeptastic instances where the makeup work shines. The only knock we have against the film is the frequently poor implementation of CGI. When the behemoth creatures are used from far away angles, they look decent, but when the camera gets too close (figuratively speaking) or if there is a lot of motion going on in a scene, it's hard to deny that they are digital because they look so fake. We do not know if the mist itself was real or digital, but either way, it was convincing and realistic, though it's probably not hard to digitize or materialize mist in general.

Overall, this is one of our favorite horror movies, modern or not. All of the aspects of the film come together to give audiences a truly frightening treat.

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 73%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!
One year ago, we were watching: "The Convent"

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