Review: The Mist

Hollywood doesn’t really have a strong track record with the works of Stephen King. Sometimes they get things right, but when they don’t, they REALLY don’t. Which category does The Mist fit in?

I can honestly say that this is one of the best horror movies I’ve seen in quite a few years. It hits a home run with plot, FX and atmosphere, and the weaknesses in characters and predictability don’t detract much at.

Plot: A group of people are trapped in a grocery store when it becomes surrounded by a white mist inhabited by bloodthirsty monsters.

Yeah, that definitely sounds like my kind of movie. Yes, there’s more to the movie than just that one-sentence summary, but at its heart that is what The Mist is: A monster movie. A movie about monsters killing people in spectacularly entertaining ways. Unlike a lot of other monster movies, THIS one doesn’t lose track of what it is and doesn’t get too lost trying to be something other, better, or greater than a movie about monsters killing people. I say it doesn’t get TOO lost because it does lather on a heap of misanthropic social commentary (i.e. the truth) that I didn’t think was totally necessary, but it does it so well that I don’t think the movie would have been nearly as good without it.

The whole “people are evil” road has become a black hole of lazy horror screenwriters: You can’t get anywhere CLOSE to it without being sucked in overused no man’s land of “been there, been done by better writers than you.” This movie is no exception. The characters come right out and SAY what’s going to happen, and then the movie proceeds to paint the “humans are evil” meme in living color, as if anybody would really be surprised by it. However, the movie pretty much stays focused on the otherworldly horror and when the human monsters show up… as they inevitably do… they get dealt with and the plot moves on. Also, this particular sub-plot doesn’t actually feel like a sub-plot, since it is tied in very tightly with the main action. If it had to be done (which is debatable) then this movie demonstrates how to do it right.

The ending was disturbing. This is the kind of ending people will be talking about for a while. While it wasn’t exactly shocking or unpredictable (the wife and I both managed to see it coming well before it arrived), it does punch you in the gut and leave you either angry at the screenwriters or silently nodding your head in approval of a job well done. I was nodding. The wife was angry.

Oh yeah, The Numbers:

+15: Claws and tentacles. Because Dark Icon LOVES claws and tentacles.
+10: Bugs. I hate Earth bugs, but now I have to around hating ALIEN bugs, too.
+10: A disturbing ending that was actually disturbing and not just marketing-hype.
+10: A pervasive sense of dread. Not quite Silent Hill, but in the ballpark.
+5: Because she deserved it and I’m pissed you made me wait so long to see it.
+3: Movies where people fight back (and use guns) automatically get extra points.
+2: Roland of Gilead. (Either you know, or you don’t)
+1: The Strider!

But

-5: There are no surprises in this movie. Everything you think will happen… happens.
-5: Yes, we all know humans are screwed up, we don’t need (yet another) movie to show it to us… even if they can do it exceedingly well.

Bottom Line: Go see it. In the Theater. Pay the money, buy the popcorn, and go see it.


7 Comments

  1. WeREwOLf, January 25, 2009:

    Damn, I can’t believe nobody commented on this after all this time. Well, I’ll be the first…

    I *finally* got around to watching this. Overall, I agree mostly with D.I.’s review, although personally I’m a bit (lot) more harsh of the way they insisted on pounding home the humans-are-evil shtick. Yeah… we get it. And yes, I did wait way to fucking long to see that bitch get what she deserved.

    I guess the whole humans-are-as-bad-as-the-monsters thing just never gets old to some people. I like it too, but I don’t like being smacked in the face with it every 5 minutes of the movie. God, I hated that character… but I s’pose that’s the point.

    Anyway, my overall rating: As a monster movie, it’s 8/10 (especially for that biiig Cthulhu-fucker before the final scene). I docked it 2 points for the sheer, unrelenting ANNOYANCE of that proselytizing bitch getting in the way of my monsters-eating-people flick.

    But yeah… it was wild. Especially the ending. Worth a rent/download.

  2. WeREwOLf, January 25, 2009:

    Oh, one more thing. Actually two.

    1) Aside from a view obvious changes (the ending among ’em), this movie was quite faithful to the story, which I’d read some 9 or 10 years ago. Which is surprising when you consider how Hollywood normally handles book-to-movie translations.

    2) I would’ve just appended this to my previous comment, but I see no (obvious) method of editing one’s own comments. So, Dark One, any chance of making that happen, if it’s not too much drama to implement?

  3. WeREwOLf, January 25, 2009:

    “view”?! I meant “few”, of course. God, my fingers are stupid. I’ll stop typing now. (You’re welcome.)

  4. nate, January 26, 2009:

    I accidentally clicked on “WeREwOLf” instead of “Review: The Mist” and liked what I saw…

    More details?

  5. nate, January 26, 2009:

    Did you do that artwork too?

  6. Kragon, January 26, 2009:

    Have it. Own it. Love it! They did an excellent job in making this movie.

  7. Kragon, January 26, 2009:

    Saw it. Own it. Love it! lol. Sorry, I can’t type to day myself.

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