OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets


The Mist (2007)

The people of a small American town (my guess would be somewhere in Maine) have been beset by a storm. The following day, most of them are in the local mall to stock up on stuff... and that's when it happens.

The Mist...

Spot the Dark Tower reference and the The Thing reference!

There's one problem I have with movies based on Stephen King novels, and that problem are the characters. The characters in the books and stories themselves. Always. The only exception to that rule of thumb are the Gunslinger, his posse (before book 5, that is, and I have to admit to not being particularly partial to Susannah), Randal Flagg... and I guess that's it. When it comes to movies, there are only the Shining TV miniseries and the Salem's Lot TV remake. I can't stand any other King movie I've seen thus far... and even the two I just mentioned have characters that annoy the hell out of me. Mostly children. And... other characters. But as far as Stephen King movies goes, they still are the ones I can endure most.*

However... The Mist is actually, you know... good. I hesitated to watch this one, although it has been on my list for quite a while now. Why? Simply because it's based on a Stephen King story. Granted, I haven't read the story (which is astounding, because I used to live off King's stories between ages 10 and 14... bought every book, read every single one in the two libraries I had access to. Yes, I've changed quite a bit in the years since then...), but the mere mention of Stephen King in the context of a movie is something that instinctively makes me flinch and hide. Because, in my world, "Based on a story by STEPHEN KING" (and variations thereof) does not make a movie good. Usually, it's exactly the opposite.

This, ladies and gentlemen, ghouls and ghosts, is the proverbial exception to the rule of thumb.

We're 12 minutes into the movie, and already, stuff happens.

There is something in the mist...

The Mist doesn't suffer from any of the usual faults I habitually associate with Stephen King movies. It's not slow, it's not drawn out and boring, it's not an abomination unto the eyes of man resp. woman, it isn't on the mental and intellectual level of a retarded 10-year-old.

The acting is really good throughout the movie - even the unlikeable character(s) are portrayed in a way that you forget for the duration of the movie that these are actors, paid to act the way they do. The entire cast, even the people you don't really get to know or who get only a tiny amount of screentime, does its best. And in this rare case, this actually means that it is freakin' awesome. These figures appear as real as any of the people you meet at work... at school... or in the mall. Thumbs up for the cast, definitely.

Which brings me to another point of the movie which I fully appreciate:

Continuing on from my initial paragraph: The Mist (yesh, I'm witty!) has come, and the people are trapped within a store. This situation creates, of course, interesting social tension (as my beloved Dawn of the Dead remake has already brilliantly exemplified). Or should I say social tensionS (plural form)? People in shock, people panicking... religious nutters... And the small-mindedness of common people. I apologise for sounding as if I had a problem with common people in small towns, or their small-mindedness. Or rather, I don't (apologise, that is), because I actually do have a problem with it. But that's neither here nor there.

Sound is used to a devastating effect. It's rare that I am kept on the edge of my seat with goosebumps on my arms and my back whilst watching a movie. It's even more rare that I still feel the same way whilst watching a movie for the second time in a week. Usually, the few scares that actually, you know, scare me in a movie are a one-time-incident. Only a few movies manage to make me feel creeped out when I watch a movie more than once. The Mist is one of them. And that, my faithful readers, is something I appreciate.

Also, the camerawork is solid. It's not art, it's not particularly beautiful, but it's solid and shows us what we need to see and what we expect to see. Although some of the shots are really good. A rope leading into thick mist has never felt threatening before...

And whilst I still stand by my assessment that the shots are nothing that I'd consider to be art, they do create tension. They do create atmosphere. A dark, gritty and - pardon the pun - misty atmosphere. Which is what makes this movie something special. Clean, solid shots alternate with haze-filled ones that convey a bizarre feeling of surreal threat. I fully approve.

The CGI isn't bad either. If you run the movie in a very low FPS rate, you can start criticising, but that's not common movie watching behaviour, so I'm not going to be picky about it. After all, The Mist wasn't created for people trying to get a decent screen of something particularly nasty, but for watching and enjoying it.

And, in order to reiterate myself: The human element. Oh, the human element. A film that features constant portrayals of the fathomless depths that are the conditio humana is just something that the world has needed.

All the small lies, the small, stupid minds, the idiotic thoughts, the distrust, the suspicions, the fear of failure, the pathetic behaviour, the pathetic attempts to cover up one's own mistakes by blaming others for them or claiming to be innocent of any faults... truly, this is humanity. On the other hand, we also get grand, lofty ideas and ideals (yes, there is a difference), simple humans acting better than their peers, true courage and bravery.

And the worst from the depths of the human mind: Religious insanity. The worst kind of losing it there is and was throughout the history of humanity. Pretty much every scholar of history can tell you that organised book-religions, whilst they can bring out the best in a few people, also motivated some of the absolutely worst massacres and atrocities throughout history.

The Mist features a crazy religious nutjob. Fundamentalist crazy religious nutjob. The kind that wants to crush the nonbelievers and starts "holy wars" and sacrifices children to satisfy the bloodlust of their LORD, which is only their own dark side, their own destructiveness searching for a way out - a socially sanctified way. Because, you know - killing people and starting wars and killing children is bad in the eyes of society. As soon as you have some sort of higher entity to refer to, one that is socially acceptable, it all becomes... acceptable. Necessary, even.

Sorry for rambling a bit. I try not to let this review become an outlet for my feelings about Abrahamic religions. If you, dear reader, should believe in YHVH/God/Allah - do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. I accept religious beliefs. What I do have a problem with is blind fanaticism.

Okay, ranting mode off.

Back to the mist. And damn, it looks good. I've always loved mist. Mist makes me happy. It covers, it hides. It makes the world more beautiful.

I also want to add that there are tentacles. Tentacles make the cyn happy.

I officially LOVE this mist.

Mist that offers tentacles which eat people is now officially on my top list of cool things that need to happen more often. And I'm not just talking TENTACLES. I am talking AWESOME TENTACLES. Then again, people who know me know that I am particularly fond of anything which is vaguely reminiscent of tentacles. So... tentacles FTW!

And man... the end. Oh my Gods, the end... I loved it. You will love it, too, if you're anything like me. It also includes a Dead Can Dance - song, and as I love this band deeply, I truly appreciated it. Their song makes the end of The Mist all the more... intense. Trust me.

8.75/10 interdimensional, Lovecraftian creatures hiding away in the mist... feeding on humanity...

* Honorable mentions go to The Green Mile for being completely non-Stephen King-like and actually good. But that movie ALSO has characters that annoy the shit out of me.