How far are you willing to go for survival? Would you kill someone who you see as an obstacle? Are you brave enough to test the unknown and leave your loved ones behind? These are the questions director Frank Darabont has you ponder as you watch this 126-minute feature.
The Mist is a 2007 sci-fi horror film that stars an ensemble cast featuring Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Andre Braugher, Laurie Holden and Toby Jones.
On first viewing of this movie, I didn’t think much of it. I viewed it as a supernatural monster that didn’t need much explaining. However, last night I discovered that this film is a psychoanalysis of how people deal with fear and whether or not you are willing to work with others to accomplish survival.
The first hour of this movie is quite forgettable. I found the acting, dialogue and camera work to be quite poor. The up-close shots are supposed to put you in the supermarket with the other people trapped but this is used early in the film when there is no panic yet and it was out of place. It’s not until the mist rolls in and the people trapped inside come to realize that they are in a life-or-death scenario.
Before the creatures reveal themselves, no one believes the protagonist (Jane) and the others that were with him when a giant monster with tentacles kills one of the store’s workers. Braugher’s character believes that everyone is against him and that they are seeing him as a gullible fool. So he takes a group out into the mist and are never seen again.
Now, the true horror in this film isn’t the mist or the monsters inside of it. Instead, it is what these people are doing out of pure fear. Harden’s character is that horror. She pulls a lot of Old Testament narratives about God’s wrath, blood sacrifices and she spins it in a way where she gains a cult following to turn on our protagonists. When sanity goes out the window, that is the moment all hope is lost in the film. When the common goal was survival, humans chose to kill each other. The juxtapositions the characters go through are riveting. When you think this movie will end up making you feel great at some point, it doesn’t. It is the tragedy of Jane’s character.
At first, Jane’s character is against anyone going outside and risking their lives. However, when they need essential supplies to further their chances of surviving, he ends up risking himself and others, and even becomes responsible for the death of multiple people. He even says at one point that he’s done being responsible for others’ deaths, which makes the ending all the more brutal. It’s one of the most devastating endings in cinematic history. I was floored on second viewing. This is a must-watch film if you love having your expectations subverted.
In the end, the acting works for the goal being accomplished by Darabont. Every character displays their own fears perfectly. While there isn’t much characterization, it’s the fear you see in their faces from the intimate shots that connect you to them because you try to think of how you would react in this situation.
I highly recommend checking it out. It is available to rent on Amazon for $3.99.
3 down, 28 to go.