Friday, November 30, 2007

Deadpan despair: The Mist

What is it?

Go to The House to read some silly words about Frank Darabont's silly adaptation of yet another Stephen King novella, The Mist. It's kind of a cool movie, but it could have been cooler. It would have been cooler if it explored how the supermarket was a stage a little more, how people were taking on different roles. Plus, you know, it's got a transparent fourth wall that keeps getting broken in as literal a sense as possible. Meh. There's more important things in life, like Mario Kart Double Dash for the Gamecube system. [RWK]


  1. Maybe not her strongest effort of the year, but here's Manohla Dargis' review (which I just read). It seems we're in agreement. I think her first sentence is more to the point than mine: "Until the director Frank Darabont decides that he’s saying something important instead of making a nifty horror movie, _The Mist_ isn’t half bad."

  2. I left this comment on the blog, Too Flat. Even if this is yet another question of what purpose a blog serves, I actually like that his words provoked this:

    It's clear our understanding and experience of _The Mist_ was different, which is cool since I was not that generous to the film. I think it fine, really, but not that "good," whatever that means. And I, too, appreciate that its monsters strike real fear -- that the film is serious about its terror -- despite the bad CGI and the last reel. So I thought I'd join your conversation with the film a little more explicitly. I was arguing for the quality of the cast, not the characters, but I understand your misgivings. In the most basic sense: I do not think the picture works all that well (as a whole; as you have argued, its parts work, and only so well), or has much to offer, really, beyond its attractive casting choices. (Were ours a world where Andre Braugher was a star! Anybody remember how fucking good he was on _Homicide_ before Pembelton's story got so silly?) Part of why I think the film does not work is because its characters are not as interesting as its cast. The drama is bald and ostentatious, however effective Darabont's filmmaking (and not his writing) is at getting me to hate Mrs. Carmody, and Marcia Gay Harden's perpetual shrew typecasting. (Am I off base there? Please tell me I am.) That said, I still found time to write and think about the picture so it's gotta be worth something. If anything, it's worth helping me remember why I like other horror pictures better, like this year's _28 Weeks Later_, which has an attractive cast, too, but isn't really interested in character, just big themes and big affect. It does not quite succeed either, I think, as I found it to beg to be read allegorically, not metaphorically. Which is not to say that allegory is outright bad but that Fresnadillo's film offers a narrow allegory-argument. Maybe it's that: I'm interested in films posing their arguments as questions, or offering an invitation to conversation. So even if I don't this _The Mist_ is all that good, or that it does all it can to end the conversation surrounding its argument, this here exchange is good. So thank you, Sean.

  3. I guess I fudged that: his is called Attentiondeficitdisorderly Too Flat.

    Like I keep saying, I'm still learning, always.