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David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his young son Billy (Nathan Gamble) are among a large group of terrified townspeople trapped in a local grocery store by a strange, otherworldly mist. David is the first to realize that there are things lurking in the mist... deadly, horrifying things... creatures not of this world. Survival depends on everybody in the store pulling together... but is that possible, given human nature? As reason crumbles in the face of fear and panic, David begins to wonder what terrifies him more: the monsters in the mist — or the ones inside the store, the human kind, the people that until now had been his friends and neighbors?
For more about The Mist and the The Mist Blu-ray release, see the The Mist Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on September 14, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Andre Braugher, Toby Jones, William Sadler
Director: Frank Darabont
» See full cast & crew
The Mist Blu-ray Review
Frightening, depressing, expertly directed, and featuring nail-biting intensity, 'The Mist' is the Horror genre as it was meant to be.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, September 14, 2008
It appears we may have a problem of some magnitude here.
The Mist works on several levels to create a picture that represents the pinnacle of the Horror genre, the most obvious level of success the film achieves being its ambiguous nature. We learn more about the film's title matter and its effects throughout the movie, and the idea behind it isn't all that new (but it is a little-tapped concept that definitely needs more exploration in the future, and hopefully in movies that come close to the quality of The Mist), but we never learn independently from the characters what it is that we are to fear. Instead, we the audience become something of a background character, an involved bystander in the film, and are privy to not one ounce of information the characters don't know, and we're genuinely shocked, saddened, and frustrated several times throughout the movie, again as if we had a life and death stake in the story and were experiencing the events of the film first-hand with the characters who, always in the forefront, were possessed of the nerve, the raw courage, to explore the unknown environment created by the mist. Second, the originality of the film goes undisputed. No doubt, viewers can see elements of other Horror movies scattered throughout the film, from Invasion of the Body Snatchers to Aliens, and fans might even see a few shots that may remind them of one of this film's contemporaries, Cloverfield, but under the expert craftsmanship of director Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption), the film is as fresh as any I've seen, particularly with regard to the Horror genre. Third, The Mist benefits from an excellent cast of characters who don't act -- they become you and me: average, everyday people who are as lost, scared, untrusting, unsure, and even sometimes as stupid as we might be in such a situation. The movie rarely feels scripted and never feels forced. Instead, it exudes a natural, lifelike element that draws its audience in and emotionally and psychologically invests them like few other pictures of this nature before it.
David Drayton (Thomas Jane, The Punisher) is an artist living with his wife and son in small town, USA. Following a terrible thunderstorm that knocks out the power, ruins David's latest painting, and uproots a decades-old tree that falls through the home, David, his son Billy (Nathan Gamble, The Dark Knight), and next door neighbor with whom David is at-odds, Brent (Andre Braugher, Glory), head to the local Food House Supermarket to pick up a few supplies. Before they can complete their shopping, a terrible mist covers the store, much to the shock of the customers and employees inside. A man runs into the store, bloodied, shouting, "something in the mist!" As confusion ensues and it becomes obvious to David and a few others trapped in the store that something horrible is indeed in the mist -- something that is waiting for those people who are foolish to leave the store. Factions within the store begin to form, one group rallying around David, and another around a religious zealot named Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden, The Invisible). Unless those trapped in the store can come to terms with one another and work together to save themselves from the evil outside, the burgeoning distrust, anger, and hatred inside just may prove to be more horrific than any terror that awaits them outside the store.
The Mist never falters in continuing to elevate the level of tension felt throughout. A few brief introductory scenes at the beginning of the movie will be your only reprieve from the nail-biting intensity of the picture. It builds and builds and builds, crescendoing with a climax so anti-Hollywood and gut-wrenching that, even were the movie a failure until the ending, it would receive plenty of credit from me for its daring and slap-in-the-face of convention. The ending is one you will never forget and may haunt you forever, and leave you questioning your self-worth, that of those around you, your crisis management skills, your sanity, and more. The Mist is also unique in that many viewers will not want the movie to end, despite the almost too-intense-to-bear aura of the picture, for it is so well done in every facet of filmmaking that the cessation of the experience and the snap back into reality is quite the jarring experience. On the other hand, the first time you see the movie you may want to get to the end as quickly as possible just to find out what will happen. Indeed, The Mist brings with it more emotion, and such a broad range of emotion at that, that we become as torn and confused as the characters themselves.
The Mist is also unique in that it creates a modern-day Horror movie with plenty of elements that hearken back to the glory days of Science Fiction and Horror in the 1950s. While the movie sometimes borrows elements from newer entires into the genre, there are plenty of clues that give the movie a 1950s feel. Similar to Christian Nyby's 1951 classic The Thing From Another World, we often hear dialogue spoken in a hush between a small group of people, while in the background we can barely hear the conversations of others in the room. This lends a very realistic and non-cinematic feel to the movie. This does a few things. First of all, it firmly entrenches us in one of the groups without excluding us from what else is going on in real-time. All too often movies tend to forget about everything else in the world except for what the camera is framing. Not here. It almost feels like a first-person film during many sequences, as the camera becomes our eyes and ears and allows us to practically participate in the film, rather than being a distant, uninvolved spectator. Second, it aids in creating a cramped, intense, overbearing feeling, so that we sense we are surviving with a group of people at odds with one another inside the supermarket. As we focus our attention on one group, we notice other groups are busy at work talking and figuring things out elsewhere in the store; then, just as such a scenario might happen in real life, this background group will simply step forward and interrupt the group we've been focusing on. There is not often that perfect sense of movie timing where a key conversation is only interrupted when it is complete. Characters come and go and speak seemingly on their own time and their own terms. The dialogue also conveys the "classic" experience of a 50s monster movie. For example, Thomas Jane's delivery offers a perfect example as he speaks as a confused authority on the events occurring outside the store and in the back room. Listen to the scene in chapter four when he tells the guys in the back room not to go out and fix the generator, or in chapter six when he tries to explain to the store's customers what he saw in the back room. They're prime examples.
The Mist Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Mist drifts onto Blu-ray with a very good 1080p, 1.85:1-framed transfer. This package features both a color version and a black and white version of the film. I'll begin with the color version. At the beginning of the film, colors are bright and maybe just a bit over-saturated with a minor red tint. It looks very clean, though, and offers viewers a vibrant, deep, and satisfying experience to start off the movie. Flesh tones creep up towards the red side, too, both during this opening segment and at other times throughout the movie. Once in the store, the transfer takes on a slightly more natural look. Colors are well-rendered, and there is a nice variety of objects to see in the store, from red boxes of crackers to the golden tint of vegetable oil in its large, clear containers. Detail is solid, too. There is no shortage of things to look at in the background, and even though the camera doesn't always focus on it, we can make out plenty of interesting objects and fine details that add to the realism of the movie. Black levels leave a bit to be desired, favoring a more dark gray or blue rather than true black, and grain is most visible in the film's darkest scenes, though it is definitely present over the whole of the image. Scenes featuring characters surrounded by the mist hold up well. I noted no problems in such scenes. The black and white version of the film also looks good. The image is crisp with nice detail and depth, a little more noticeable grain in some scenes, and deeper and truer blacks. The look of the mist itself translates very well to black and white imagery, creating greater drama, though viewing the film on back-to-back nights, some of the tension was reduced due to the film being so fresh in my mind. Still, this version looks great, and seeing that it is Frank Darabont's "preferred" version, I'd recommend watching the black and white first.
The Mist Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack accompanying The Mist sets a great tone and atmosphere for the film, but features a few annoying shortcomings. Fantastic ambience featuring a thunderstorm that envelopes the entire soundstage is heard to begin the movie, and the track moves on to the powerful sound of a tree crashing through a window with a thud from the subwoofer. Dialogue sounds a bit inconsistent and uneven at the beginning of the movie, coming across a bit processed and unnatural. The track does a first-rate job of creating a nice, realistic atmosphere, however, and a spooky one at that once we become ensnared in the mist. Listen to the scene near the beginning of the film when our characters are in line to check out in the store. Chatter fills the soundstage, and as emergency vehicles drive past outside, we hear them panning from left to right, seamlessly. The subwoofer also gets to work in chapter two as a strange force shakes the grocery store, although the sound does come off as rather weak in some of the action scenes. Not to give anything away, but an action sequence in chapter 10 is noticeably underplayed, and we hear two gunshots that sound more like a cap gun than the .38 or .357 rounds the revolver is firing. It's the great atmosphere of the track, as mentioned above, that makes this one a winner overall. It's not just the sounds of horror that make it so realistic, it's the way the track so precisely handles everything asked of it, from that distant dialogue heard in the store, to, yes, the more action-oriented sequences in the film. The Mist does not offer a perfect soundtrack, but aside from a few minor quibbles, it's fine.
The Mist Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
In addition to containing two editions of the movie (color and black-and-white), The Mist debuts on Blu-ray with a nice selection of additional extras. First up is a commentary track with writer/director Frank Darabont and producer Denise Huth (who appears only intermittently). The director delves straight into commenting on the film, speaking fast and to the point. He spends plenty of time discussing how the film was created on a shoestring budget. He also discusses at length the methods he employed to lend the film a documentary feel. There is some fascinating discussion about the CGI effects, in-camera effects, and the creation of the mist. He also discusses the changes in the ending from the original Stephen King novella and how it ties in with a few lines found in that work, Stephen King's approval of the ending, and the influence of Rod Serling's "The Twilight Zone." This is an excellent commentary track, one that took four days to record, and should be required listening for anyone who enjoyed this film.
Eight deleted and extended scenes (1080i, 14:47) with optional commentary with Frank Darabont are included. A Conversation With Stephen King and Writer/Director Frank Darabont (1080i, 12:17) is a nice piece featuring the director of the film and writer of the story discussing the themes of the story, the ending, and more. It's generally a love-fest between the two stars, but is worth checking out anyway. When Darkness Came: The Making of the Mist (1080i, 37:27) is next. This is an in-depth piece that features plenty of interviews with the cast and crew (and Stephen King), behind-the-scenes footage, and more. The piece begins with Darabont reviewing his career and how he's come back to make The Mist. Darabont recaps quite a bit of information here that we learned in the commentary, but the visuals and behind-the-scenes footage lend a fresh edge to the information. There is also plenty of discussion about the film's visual effects, set creation, casting, the cast discussing their roles, and plenty more.
Taming the Beast: The Making of Scene 35 (1080i, 12:10) takes a closer look at the making of the film's most action-packed and biggest sequence, and how Darabont was "making it up as [he] went along." Monsters Among Us: A Look at the Creature FX (1080i, 12:44) is next. By now, information is becoming superfluous, but this feature takes the basic information we've heard already and fleshes it out nicely. The Horror of it All: The Visual FX of 'The Mist' (1080i, 16:02) takes viewers behind-the-scenes of the special effects, the contributions of CafeFX, how the effects were rendered and implemented into the film, and more. Drew Struzan: An Appreciation of an Artist (1080i, 7:31) is a nice look at this artist who has created some of the most famous movie posters of all time with special attention paid to his contributions to The Mist. Three "webisodes" (1080i, 10:13) are included. These brief pieces look at the making of three scenes -- Earthquake, Burn Man, and Franny, the Flamethrower. Concluding this set of special features are three trailers for the film, presented in 1080i.
The Mist Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Mist is a fantastic Horror movie with just the right combination of elements, not to mention directorial style, that make it a standout in the genre. The movie is bold in its ending and plays out with a different sort of dramatic flair that we don't see all that often in movies, and it comes across almost as unscripted and therefore very real. The throwback style of the film, hearkening back to some Monster Movie classics and featuring dialogue delivery in-line with such classics give the film a traditional feel in a world of contemporary cheap, uninteresting, and repetitious horror. Fans are even given the option, through this set, to experience the film in color or in Frank Darabont's preferred black and white version, which he calls his "director's cut." He had always envisioned shooting in black and white, and the inclusion of both versions is most welcome. Weinstein's Blu-ray release is a great one. Both the color and black and white version look good in high definition. The soundtrack features great atmospherics and imaging, but lacks punch in several scenes. The supplements are entertaining and informative, with the director's commentary being one of the better I've heard. The Mist is a different style of Horror movie than we're used to, and it's most refreshing; fantastically tense and bold in its direction, story, and ending. The Mist is highly recommended!
The Mist Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Today on Blu-ray - September 16th - September 16, 2008
The biggest releases this week actually come for one of the smallest major studios. After a nasty divorce with Disney, Harvey and Bob Weinstein left the Miramax name behind and formed The Weinstein Company. While their film library may be small - they only retained ...
• The Mist and 1408 Get Detailed - August 5, 2008
Weinstein Company have detailed the extras for the upcoming Blu-ray release of 'The Mist' and '1408', both due to hit store shelves on September 16th. Both titles will have video presented in 1080p VC-1 accompanied by a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtracks. As previously ...
• The Mist Coming to Blu-ray - June 25, 2008
Weinstein Company has announced that they are planning to bring the horror film 'The Mist' to Blu-ray on August 5th. Coming as a two-disc release, one disc will hold the theatrical release and the other will feature a "black-and-white" version of the film, both ...
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