Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Mist Review

This Wednesday past the class watched The Mist. Based on a Stephen King novella, it is set in a small town in America where a massive electrical storm brings on this mist. In consumes the town and the citizen in the local supermarket finds themselves trapped and fighting for their lives. It’s not just what’s in the mist they have to fight but themselves as well.

It starts with the introduction to the main character and his family. He’s a local in this town and also a big name in Hollywood. During the storm the house becomes damaged destroying his studio and all his works. An emotional scene for the character as one tree, his grandfather’s tree, damages his family home and another tree which destroyed the boat house. This tree is the one that he’s been arguing with his neighbour about for years but tries to keep a cool head when going to see him. The colors in this short segment are dull and reflect the current weather and lingering silence from the storm.

The neighbours have a moment of civility and head to town to get supplies for their homes. Before leaving the mist is seen in the distance. A white and dense mist that slowly creeps over the lake. It gives an eerie feeling and cold realisation that this is the approaching terror that the characters are so oblivious to.

The main character, called David, his son Billy and the neighbour Brent make their way into town and begin to shop for supplies. The supermarket is very busy and lots of chatter and clacking is going on with people panicking about the storm. The colors here seem to all blend together. Everyone merges together as a collective of panic and the only thing that becomes clear is the army boys that walk in shortly after. Their uniform strikes out and as they split to do different things they soon become a part of the crowd.

A man runs towards the supermarket. His face is bloody and pale white from shock. He bursts in the scream of a horror! The man he was walking with was taken by something in the mist. People gather closer to listen, to catch a look at his blooded face. He calms himself and explains what happened.

Suddenly quite fills the supermarket as the mist creeps slowly over the road and parking lot. A man attempts to reach his car before it covers him. When he is no longer visible a scream of pain is heard and the residents panic and the doors of the supermarket are closed. People talk and speculate what’s in the mist. A lady, soon to become a one the main character, announces god is at work. A minor character reveals she can’t stay there and needs to go home. She’s confronted by her choice and is told she’s sacrificing her life by leaving. She stays adamant and leaves the store alone despite requesting help from fellow citizens. Faced with fear of unknowing, people turn her down. This begins the cowardice and selfishness of people.

At this point in the movie I find myself engaged with the woman leaving. Thinking to myself she’s crazy and she’s going to die if she goes out there. Everyone being so quiet and unhelpful connected with me. I felt that’s what I would do in that situation. I’d protect myself over putting myself in danger for someone I didn’t know. I felt it was a change as well to the portrayal in most American movies where they’re all patriotic and self-sacrificing for others. It feels more human and not the fantasy world they try to project.

As the lady is seen walking into the mist and nothing is heard the scene changes. People sit in the aisles talking amongst themselves. Billy is in shock and you get a horrifying feeling when he clings so hard to his dad. The terror in Billy’s voice asking him to stay near him. This begins the action.

David goes to the storage room to get a blanket for Billy. He sees the generator fuming and shuts it off. He hears a noise at the back door. As he walks closer to it he sees the door bend towards him. He freaks and runs out to the store. He runs into a group of men coming in to look for him. Two Hicks, a young man and a store worker called Ollie. He tells him what he heard and receives looks of disbelief. They enter the storage room together and see the generator is packed up.  They discuss a way to fix it the young man, Norm, steps up to go outside and fix the problem. David tries to talk sense to the hicks and the boy but is told to shut up and stop acting superior. David knows in his gut it’s the wrong thing to do, you see the anguish in his face as they start to lift the back door. Norm turns to face David to laugh in his face and then the horror grows on David’s face as something grabs Norm. They struggle to pull him in to the storage room. The creature opens a gaping wound in Norm’s chest. Blood spurts on David’s face. A small flinch of shock fills his face but quickly turns to help Norm. He cries for help but the two hicks are in such shock they just sit there and watch. Ollie snaps out of his daze and helps David pull Norm in. It’s no use as more tentacles pull Norm outside. More flesh is torn from his body. Everyone fears for themselves as tentacles begin to attack objects in the room as they try to feel out for more living creatures. One comes close to David and he’s forced to let go for Norm. Norm struggles on grasping with all his strength to the doors edge. Eventually he’s pulled in and screams are heard as he’s killed by the creature. The men force the doors closed and David rushes to cut off part of the creature either for a small part of revenge or for evidence. It’s not clear with the exhaustion on his face. He is soon consumed by anger and attacks one of the hicks blaming him for killing Norm.

Brent is called over as David tries to explain what happened. David changes before this to make sure no one panics at the site of the blood. A teacher called Amanda sees the blood and begins to panic. David tells her to take care of his son and she’s shooed away.

He changes into a dark top. He becomes more noticeable with this. He argues with Brent about what happened. Brent in disbelief claims it to be a joke and refuses to go see the evidence thinking it’s an ambush. His feeling of no faith in David leads to question why these neighbours have had such a bad relationship. As they make a seen when David tries to pull him into storage he yells out about the lawsuits they’ve filed against each other. Their private bickering clouds Brent’s judgement as he walks away to figure out a way to get home.

During the next 30 minutes or so you see the religious lady, Mrs. Carmody, praying to god to help save the people in the supermarket. When Amanda walks in on her she tries to comfort her and offer a hand of friendship and kindness. Mrs. Carmody refuses it by insulting her and walks out.

Queue a few scenes with relationships that never happened and people splitting into groups trying to figure out a way to escape the supermarket which seems to become more and more claustrophobic. Brent leads a group into the mist with one man offering to retrieve a gun. They leave with a rope attached to the volunteer and slowly count how far they’ve gotten. Everyone is seen crowded round waiting to hear a scream or see the man walking back to the door. The rope goes lax in David’s hands. You see him look down at it in puzzlement and question if it’s a good sign. Suddenly the rope is pulled and pulled hard. It’s pulled so fast it burns David’s hands and as sudden as it started, it stops. They pull the rope back in and soon screams are let out at the site of blood on the rope. Then looks of horror as the volunteers legs are pulled towards the door. They lie there motionless as Ollie cuts the rope in case a creature decides to pull at them again. Panic ensues again and they struggle to calm each other. Mrs. Carmody cries out the work of God again. You see people starting to nod, to agree with her. They start to lose their mind and cling to what can be the only explanation to this horror.
Mrs. Carmody becomes the stereotype of Americans. She believes in a higher power and believes herself to be superior to everyone for being the only one that will be saved. Her predictions, although obvious in a situation like this, lead her and other to believe that she speaks truth.  When you see people starting to believe you can see the atmosphere change dramatically. The movies begins to spiral into chaos and religious debate. You start to feel more and more connected to David as Mrs. Carmody ‘s religious quotes seem to be justified by an attack during the night by the creatures. A dark orange mood sets the whole supermarket now. A feeling of cold loss-ness in the night. They can’t see past the windows and it reflects how small they feel with the lighting at night.
As so much turmoil happens during the attack a small group is forced to retrieve medical supplies for a man who received serious burns. David speaks to his son and a very emotional scene happens where the Billy literally cries and clings to his father to stay with him. You feel Billy’s terror and hopelessness as his father leaves. As they get into the pharmacy the see everything covered in a web like substance. The continue quietly through picking off medicines on the shelf. It’s very blue and grey . You can’t see very far in the store as the doors were left wide open so the mist is lingering inside. This causes concern as some of the group starts to head scuttling. Eventually you see creatures and they try to kill the group. It becomes a rush to watch who gets out alive and who dies. You find out the truth about the mist from a dying army man and you’re suddenly hit with disbelief. Are they really capable of this?

They run into the supermarket and clash with Mrs. Carmody again. The burnt man dies during the night and you feel annoyed and guilty for all those that died. Everything comes to a head when David and a group of others tries to leave as they feel staying in the supermarket is more of a danger then being out in the mist. This is where you feel a sudden lack of hope for humanity. It feels real that people would turn on you in a situation like this as they try to take Billy as a sacrifice. Your heart sinks for them as they fight off everyone in the supermarket. Suddenly Mrs. Carmody is shot. Ollie makes the triumphant shot to the head destroying what they see and the viewers see as the poison in the room.

They make their way to David’s truck and Ollie is the first to get there. He flings open the doors on the car and turns round to the group following behind him with a big smile. A feeling of joy that they’re getting away in one piece. You see Amanda’s face turn to horror as you see a giant creature standing behind Ollie. He’s nabbed by the creature and Ollie screams out in pain. It’s cut short when he’s chowed down. You don’t see any remains. A symbol of a clean death, something that many of the characters that died didn’t get. They clamber into the car, grab the gun with a screaming match between Amanda and Billy as they sit in relief that they made it that far. David begins to drive and as he pulls up to the supermarket the head lights flash over their faces. You feel disappointment as all those in the supermarket were brainwashed.
It’s very grey and blue, a feeling of cold and loneliness as they drive to David’s house. You see his wife webbed up on the front door and a heart-breaking moment when he cries. He blames himself for leaving her there and not repairing the house when he had the chance.
They continue to drive onwards passing the highway and overturned cars. One striking part was the school bus. It appeared empty until a shot inside shows a young girl webbed and very ghostly on the seat. You feel frightened and a personal sense loss as no one escaped the wrath of this mist.

Eventually the car comes to a crawl. The fuel gauge is empty and they sit in realisation that this is it. They’re all thinking the same thing with the revolver sitting in David’s hand. He empties the chamber and counts the bullets.  Billy slowly wakes up, his eyes open wide at the sight of the gun and suddenly as it cuts to the back of the car you see 4 flashes and hear 4 bangs from the car. A brief moment of silence leaves you in shock as you know what he’s done. It cuts back into the car. You see two of the people in the back dead, shot in the head. Cold and gone but looking peaceful and once more human. David screams in pain and anguish. He just killed his son and those he bonded with so closely over this horrible ordeal. It feels very cold and isolated. You feel the pain as he tries to shoot himself but no bullets are there to end him. He becomes enraged he kicks open his door and screams for the monsters to come get him. A few moments pass and you hear the creature in the background. Again and again he screams for it to take him and then suddenly he stares ahead of him. You slowly see a tank roll into view and your heart sinks. The sacrifice he made, everything that he had done seemed to be all for nothing. He’s lost his whole family. You can see how numb he feels when he sees the woman who wanted to leave pass him by in the army truck. All the towns’ folk pass him by as he falls to his knees.
I’ve watched this movie once before and I hated it. I felt it was such a cold movie. The people were so mean and delusional that it couldn’t possibly happen. When David kills everyone and not a minute later the army comes by I felt it was such a waste of my time to see them get so far and just barely miss the opportunity to escape. After watching it a second time I understood the characters more. Why they were so delusional and why everyone was so unwilling to help each other. It’s a very real feeling. I related to Billy being absolutely terrified for his father and how crazy someone with a religious view can quickly become a self-proclaimed prophet.  I still didn’t like the ending. I can’t really put it into words but it just felt so disheartening to know that a child was shot. That this little boy could have lived if the David didn’t grab the gun.

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