Mist, The (2007) - Dread Central
Connect with us

Reviews

Mist, The (2007)

Published

on

The Mist (click for larger image)Reviewed by Andrew Kasch

Starring Thomas Jane, Andre Braugher, Toby Jones, Laurie Holden, Marcia Gay Harden

Directed by Frank Darabont


The Mist feels like the definitive Stephen King film, which probably comes as no surprise considering director Frank Darabont is responsible for the best adaptations in the author’s 30+ year history. The novella has stood out as one of King’s most celebrated works and has cried out for a movie version, but it’s faced a long road to the screen. Thankfully, it was worth the wait. The Mist is a modern day horror classic in the spirit of movies like Jaws, The Thing, and more recently, The Host.

Following a violent thunderstorm, artist David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his son find themselves in a world of trouble when a bizarre supernatural mist floods their small Maine town. Taking shelter in the local supermarket, the townsfolk discover the fog conceals vicious Lovecraftian monsters and try to formulate a survival plan. But what lurks outside is nothing compared to what rages inside the minds of men. Mrs Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden), an Old Testament religious nut, views the threat as God’s wrath and takes it upon herself to convert followers into her own warped doomsday cult. As fear gives way to distrust, allegiances are drawn between the panicky survivors and David finds himself going to extreme lengths to protect his son.

The Mist (click for larger image)The Mist is a classy pic that works on all levels: As a minimalist suspense thriller, a creature feature, and most of all, a dark character drama. Normally when A-list talent collides with the horror genre the results can be pretty dismal (Dreamcatcher, anyone?) but Darabont, a veteran horror writer and all-around genre geek, has a perfect understanding of the material (and even throws in several homages for die-hard King fans). This is the rarest of films; an atmospheric thrill ride that’s both scary and smart. Darabont never goes for the cheap shocks and builds the terror through mood and anxiety. And like all great monster flicks, The Mist is more focused on the humans than the beasts, weaving an intense character study on how people face fear in a completely hopeless situation.

The ensemble cast, comprised of several King-movie veterans, turn in solid performances across the board. Just as in Shawshank, Darabont finds a way for you to connect with every character on some level, no matter how small their roles are. In particular, Thomas Jane gets his chance to shine in his tortured hero role, while Toby Jones easily takes the crowd favorite as Ollie, the geeky take-charge store manager. But it’s Harden who steals the show, winning the Captain Rhodes Award as a villain you will hate with every fiber of your being. Imagine Carrie’s mom cranked up on speed, and even though Darbont humanizes the character, it doesn’t make her any less frightening.

The Mist (click for larger image)The creatures themselves are almost entirely CG but they’re some of the most memorable movie monsters to run amok thanks to the design talents of KNB and artist Bernie Wrightson. Aside from one or two shoddy digital effects during the first attack scene, the CaféFX work looks remarkable in spite of the budget, and Darabont wisely keeps the creatures hidden for most of the running time. The dread relies more on your imagination, with brilliant sound design and a sparing use of music that builds the tension right from the very first frame. Rest assured though, Darabont still has some fun with several gooey set-pieces that are guaranteed to make your skin crawl.

There is one element of The Mist that will be a source of major controversy: The ending. Without giving anything away, Darabont expands on King’s ambiguous finale and delivers an emotional gut punch so shocking it’s a wonder it ever escaped through the studio system. It may very well be the ballsiest ending in horror cinema, and mainstream audiences and King purists will no doubt be screaming for Darabont’s blood when the credits roll. Heated arguments will rage over the point of the new ending, but it’s far more dramatically satisfying, keeping in line with the tone and themes of the film. Detractors will hate it simply because it’s too effective and that’s the brilliance of The Mist – it divides those who want cheap escapist thrills from those who like their horror with real heart, brains, and courage.

Film:

5 out of 5

Discuss The Mist in our Dread Central forums!

Continue Reading
Comments

Reviews

IAMX’s Alive in New Light Review – A Dark, Hypnotic, and Stunning Musical Endeavor

Published

on

Recording eight albums is an achievement no matter the artist, group, or band. This is especially true for Chris Corner’s IAMX, his solo project after the trip hop group Sneaker Pimps, which has enchanted listeners since 2004’s Kiss + Swallow with its dark electronic aesthetic. There’s something fascinating about the music Corner puts out as IAMX. Perhaps it’s the underlying melancholy that seems to pervade the music, almost certainly a result of the musician’s battle with depression and chronic insomnia [Source]. Perhaps it’s the unexpected melodies that reveal themselves with each new measure. Whatever it is, IAMX’s music is a constant delight.

On Alive in New Light, Corner reveals that his eighth album was a product he created as a way of “…breaking free from demons that have long plagued him,” per an official press release. Strangely enough, this uplifting attitude may easily be overlooked but repeat listens unveil a sense of hope and wonder that are simply breathtaking. The title track echoes with almost angelic choir pads that positively shine as Corner exultingly cries in a shimmering falsetto, “I’m alive in new light!” This comes after the Depeche Mode-esque “Stardust”, which offers the first collaboration with Kat Von D, whose pure voice is a beautiful addition to the pulsating track.

The third track, “Break The Chains”, has an opening that immediately called to mind Birds of Tokyo’s “Discoloured”, which is meant as a compliment. It’s followed by the Nine Inch Nails influenced “Body Politics”, which meshes Corner’s crooning vocals with a 90’s industrial backdrop. “Exit” has an almost sinister progression lurking in the background that builds to an aggressive, in-your-face third act. The cinematic Middle Eastern flairs of “Stalker” mutate effortlessly into a heartbeat pulse that features back-and-forth vocals between Corner and Von D. The haunted circus vibe that permeates through “Big Man” is mirrored by its playful gothic aura, ghostly “oohs” and “aahs” sprinkled carefully here and there.

While the album has been a delight up to this point, it’s the final two tracks that took my breath away and left me stunned. “Mile Deep Hollow” builds layer after layer while Corner passionately cries out, “So thank you/you need to know/that you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow/and I love you/you brought me home/because you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow.” The way the song’s melodies back these wonderfully uplifting lyrics feels grand and epic, as though a journey is coming to an end, which is where “The Power and the Glory” comes in. Far more subdued, it’s a beautiful song that feels almost like a religious experience, a hymn of a soul that is desperate to claw its way to salvation and escape a life of pain and darkness.

What makes Alive in New Light so wonderful is how much there is to experience. I got the album and listened to it no less than five times in a row without pause. I simply couldn’t turn it off because each return revealed something new in the music. Corner also makes fantastic use of Von D’s vocals, carefully placing them so as to make them a treat and not a commonplace certainty.

While some may be disappointed that there are only nine tracks, each of the songs is carefully and meticulously crafted to be as powerful and meaningful as possible. It really is a stunning accomplishment and I’m nothing short of blown away by how masterfully Alive in New Light plays out.

  • Alive in New Light
5.0

Summary

IAMX’s Alive in New Light is a triumph of music. Full of beauty and confidence, it doesn’t forget the foundation that fans have come to know and love for over a decade but instead embraces that comfortable darkness with open arms. Corner states that this album was a way to break free from his demons. It certainly feels like he’s made peace with them.

Sending
User Rating 0 (0 votes)
Continue Reading

Reviews

The Hatred Review – A History Lesson Dug Up From The Depths Of Hell

Published

on

Starring Zelda Adams, Lulu Adams, John Law

Directed by John Law


I don’t know about the scholastic interests the masses had (or have) that read all of the killer nuggets that get cranked out on this site, but when I was an academic turd, one of my true passions was history, and it was one of the only subjects that managed to hold my interest, and when the opportunity arose to check out John Law’s ultra-nightmarish feature, The Hatred – I was ready to crack the books once again.

The setting is the Blackfoot Territory in the late 1800s, and the pains of a lengthy conflict have taken their toll on the remaining soldiers as food has become scarce, and the film picks up with soldiers on the march in the brutal cold and snow covered mountainside. In tow is a P.O.W. (Law), and the decision is made by the soldiers to execute him in earnest instead of having to shorten their rations by feeding him, so he is then hung (pretty harshly done), and left to rot as the uniformed men trudge along. A short time later the group encounters a small family on the fringes of the territory, and when the demands for food are rebuked, the slaughter is on and the only survivor is a young girl (Adams) who prays to an oblivious god that she can one day reap the seeds of revenge upon those who’ve murdered her family. We all know that there are usually two sides to any story, and when the good ear isn’t listening, the evil one turns its direction towards those who need it most, and that’s when the Devil obliges.

The answer to the young girl’s prayers comes in the resurrection of the prisoner that was hung a short time ago, and he has been dubbed “Vengeance” – together their goal will be achieved by harshly dishing out some retribution, and the way it’s presented is drawn-out, almost like you’re strapped into the front-row pew of a hellfire-cathedral and force-fed the sermon of an evil voice from the South side of the tracks. It’s vicious and beautiful all at once, Law’s direction gives this visually-striking presentation all the bells and whistles to please even the harshest of critics (hell, you’re reading the words of one right now). The performances, while a bit stoic in nature, still convey that overall perception of a wrong that demands to be righted, no matter how morally mishandled it might be. Overall, I can absolutely recommend The Hatred for not only those wanting a period-piece with ferocious-artistry, but for others who continue to pray with no response, and are curious to see what the other side can offer.

  • Film
3.5

Summary

The Hatred is a visually-appealing look into the eyes of animus, and all of the beauty of returning the harm to those who have awarded it to others.

Sending
User Rating 0 (0 votes)
Continue Reading

Reviews

Before We Vanish Review – A Quirky and Original Take on Alien Invasions

Published

on

Starring Masami Nagasawa, Ryûhei Matsuda, Hiroki Hasegawa

Written by Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa


During the J-horror rampage of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Kairo (aka Pulse). A dark, depressing, and morose tale of ghosts that use the internet to spread across the world, the film’s almost suffocatingly gloomy atmosphere pervaded across every frame of the film. Because of my love of this film, I was eager to see the director’s upcoming movie Sanpo Suru Shinryakusha (aka Before We Vanish), which follows three aliens who recently arrived on Earth and are preparing to bring about an alien invasion that will wipe humanity from the face of the planet. Imagine my surprise when the film turned out to be barely a horror title but was instead a quirky and surreal dramedy that tugged at my heartstrings.

Admittedly, I was thrown completely for a loop as the film begins with a scene that feels perfectly at home in a horror film. Akira (Tsunematsu), a teenage girl, goes home and we enter moments later to blood splashed on the walls and floor and bodies strewn about. However, the disturbing visuals are spun around as the young girl walks down a highway, her clothes and face streaked with blood, Yusuke Hayashi’s music taking on a lighthearted, almost jaunty attitude. From there, we learn of the other two aliens (yes, she’s an alien and it’s not a secret or a twist, so no spoilers there): Amano (Takasugi), who is a young man that convinces a sleazy reporter, Sakurai (Hasegawa), of his true form and tasks Sakurai with being his guide, and Shinji (Matsuda), the estranged husband of Narumi (Nagasawa).

What sets these aliens, and their mission, apart from other invasion thrillers is their means of gathering information. They’re not interested in meeting leaders nor do they capture people for nefarious experimentations. Rather, they steal “concepts” from the minds of people, such as “family”, “possession”, or “pest”. Once these concepts are taken, the victim no longer has that value in their mind, freed from its constraints.

While this may seem like a form of brainwashing, Kurosawa instead plays with the idea that maybe knowing too much is what holds us back from true happiness. A man obsessed with staking claim to his family home learns to see the world outside of its walls when “possession” is no longer a part of his life. A touchy boss enters a state of child-like glee after “work” has been taken. That being said, there are other victims who are left as little more than husks.

Overly long at 130 minutes, the film does take its time showing the differences between the aliens and their individual behaviors. Amano and Akira are casually ruthless, willing to do whatever it takes to send a beacon to begin the alien invasion, no matter how many must die along the way, while Shinji is the curious and almost open-minded one, whose personal journey finds him at one point asking a priest to envision and describe “love”, a concept that is so individualistic and personal that it can’t be taken, much less fathomed, by this alien being. While many of these scenes are necessary, they could have easily been edited down to shave 10-15 minutes, making the film flow a bit more smoothly.

While the film begins on a dark note, there is a scene in the third act that is so pure and moving that tears immediately filled my eyes and I choked up a little. It’s a moment of both sacrifice and understanding, one that brings a recurring thread in the story full circle.

With every passing minute, Before We Vanish makes it clear that it’s much more horror-adjacent than horror. An alien invasion thriller with ultimate stakes, it will certainly have appeal to genre fans. That being said, those who go in expecting action, violence, and terror will certainly be disappointed. But those whose mind is a bit more open to a wider range of possibilities will find a delightful story that attempts to find out what it means to be human, even if we have to learn the lesson from an alien.

  • Before We Vanish
4.0

Summary

Before We Vanish is a beautiful, wonderful tale that explores what it means to be human when faced with the threat of extinction.

Continue Reading

Recent Comments

Advertisement

Join the Box of Dread Mailing List

* indicates required

Go Ad Free!

Support Dread Central on Patreon!

Trending

Copyright © 2017 Dread Central Media LLC