Where I Watched It: Netflix
Audio Description By: Zoo Digital
Narrated By: Tanzi Alexander
Yes, this is my first time viewing The mist. i was working in movie theatres at the time, and I could have easily seen this for free, but somehow or for some reason, I skipped over it. I believe it had a lot to do with the massive amount of product released around the holiday season, as I don’t remember this sticking around very long. Nonetheless, after sitting through some rather disturbing sounding sequences, I think if I had seen this creature feature, my mind would have drifted elsewhere. Here, just sitting and listening, with a comprehensive audio description, I can imagine how horrifying these effects are, without never needing to see them myself.
First off, as a massive Walking Dead fan, I would be absolutely remiss in my failure to mention the presence of Andrea, Dale, and Carol all in this film. Not the characters, of course, but their actors. Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, and Melissa McBride must have all really worked well with director Frank Darabont to get an invite to be part of something truly special by being part of the original crew of The Walking Dead, something that Melissa McBride has still been riding for eleven seasons. It’s crazy to see her in such a small role, and now know her has Carol.
The film itself is so frustrating because for the most part it reminds us just how good Frank Darabont is as a director, and how maddening this all is that he’s not directing any major features anymore. Now having seen The mist, I say with confidence that even though his filmography is small, he’s one of my favorite directors, because between The Shawshank Redemption, The Green mile, The Majestic, The mist, and his involvement in the first two seasons of The Walking Dead, he’s clearly a gifted individual who needs to be doing more films.
This could ahve easily been given to a lesser horror director like Paul WS Anderson, that would have loved to reveal the creatures, instead of spending so much time investing in the dread and how monstrous humans can be when their life is on the line. Marcia Gay Harden turns in a particularly nightmarish performance as someone who interprets this event as being God’s judgment.
Darabont does an excellent job of giving you just enough to scare the living daylights out of you, and make it so that anytime anyone ever attempts to exit this store, you assume immediate death. It’s the kind of horror film where characters make dumb decisions, that to them seem intelligent. There’s always a reason, instead of just going upstairs for the sake of going upstairs, every attempt made at leaving the store has a purpose that seems greater than itself. Like, if they could just pull this off… everything would be OK.
Couple that with some truly fantastic audio description done by zoo digital, which manages to not just describe the nitty gritty gory details, but also is well timed with all jump scares so that they are as effective as they possibly can be for a blind audience. Sometimes, due to dialogue or something else, we get notified of a jump scare far before it ever happens. Even a 3 second delay seems like an unnecessary eternity when a character is about to get eaten. But here, the timing is noticeably well done, which can really help a horror film land all the scares.
My biggest complaint about this film is Andre Braugher. Not that I don’t think he’s a brilliant actor, but he’s wrong for a part that requires him to think so little without preparation and yet be as supposedly educated as he is. The fact that his character is so fundamentally stupid not only doesn’t fit the construct of the character, but Braugher tends to elevate roles further, giving them even more presence and intelligence. I couldn’t get behind the reasonings for anything his character does, and ultimately he seems like the unnatural person in the room who is there more as a plot device than someone whose story is meant to be any kind of relatable. I bought Toby Jones as a marksman, because the film earned it. Nothing about Braugher’s character was earned.
I’ve kept this review fairly spoiler free, but I do need to address the ending, which in the 14 years this film has been available, has only managed to grow in its quest for infamy. Love it or hate it, you won’t forget it. Those who know, know. Those who don’t know, I don’t want to ruin it for you. To even acknowledge that there might be a twist would be to ruin, but rather, The Mist has crafted the kind of ending that evokes a response, positive or negative. It’s impossible to remain indifferent at the end.
Frank Darabont, please direct another film.
Final Grade: A-