Saturday, February 21, 2009

Post Mortem: The Mist


Greetings and condolences once again. I think it time we get back on track here with some of the regular features I have instituted in the past here on the Blogue. Before we begin, I'll just introduce this segment for the new travelers who have stumbled across my camp on the banks of the Styx. At the onset of the Blogue Macabre I decided there were enough Horror blogs reviewing movies, and while I may occasionally sound off on one from time to time, being a review site didn't appeal to me. So I decided that I would cut to the juicy bits and review the death scenes from various films instead. Now you're up to speed lets get to the task at hand.

As the lead states I'm going to dive into an analysis of the final sequence of THE MIST. If you haven't seen it yet (I'll have to assume you died before 2007 and have just got out of purgatory) I will offer the courtesy of telling you that this Post Mortem is a pretty big spoiler. That said I equally feel that this is one of the crappiest endings in horror movie history and knowing it before actually viewing the movie might make the experience more palpable. As a matter of fact the reason I chose this scene for this segment is because I dislike it so much, but thought I should give it the benefit of a proper post mortem. A fair trial before condemnation I suppose.

Manner of Death: Murder/Suicide. Yes, that is correct, the remaining cast decided to skag themselves in the face of despair and hopelessness. This scene is quite simply there to provide the shock factor and gain media attention hoping to parlay that into bigger box office bucks. Don't get me wrong, blowing your and/or your loved ones gray matter all over the wall is fair game. But there's a time and place for everything, and here just wasn't it. All Hell coming down on you and you drop that match in the pool of gasoline as a final act of defiance, choosing your terms for death and taking scores of evil minions with you, is a good time and place. You and /or your loved one has been bitten by a Zombie, and preserve your/their eternal dignity when the inevitable comes is a good time and place. Sacrificing your life so that your high school sweetheart can survive, even if it means she's likely to knock boots with your room mate after your passing is acceptable too. But because you've run out of gas and don't know what's going to happen next and your afraid that you MIGHT be killed and eaten by a pan-dimensional insect is not a good reason. Hell if it were I'd probably have popped myself a few times by now I figure.

So OK, that said how am I going to score this? Well here is the parameters I have set up for this category way back when...Manner of Death: How did the Character Die? Was it interesting? Creative? Well suited to the story? Otherwise satisfying or disturbing to the audience? . Was it interesting? I have to say no. Creative? I see no real creativity here, so NO again. Well suited to the story? Hmmm, since the Characters spend the previous 123 minutes doing everything imaginable to stay alive including committing cold blooded murder, only to kill them selves 4 to 6 hours later. Yeah they flee the supermarket and drive off into the mist until they run out of gas. I don't know about you, but even with a full tank my car can't run for much longer than 6-7 hours tops. So a HUGE NO here. Otherwise disturbing/satisfying? Well yes I guess they got the desired shock factor so I'll give them two skulls for that. Why two, well because I'm trying to be fair.

Effect on Story: Again here are the parameters... Did the character's death forward the plot of the film in any significant or meaningful way? Did it provide tension, character motivation, a sense of impending doom or vulnerability to the other characters? This is the only Category that will be ranked on it's relation to the rest of the film and not it's individual merits.
That said I truly feel the film would have been better served by leaving this on the cutting room floor. Mind you it does provide definite conclusion to the film and while I feel the story would be better without, I admit I might be writing that without conclusion the film would seem that it was only half completed. While the murder/suicides didn't forward the plot of the film whatsoever, it did alter the audience's perception of the film greatly, it did provide a moment of dread and tension (some of us dreaded the character's impending actions, others of us dreaded the director's choice to cop out on a very solid classic style monster flick up to that point). The sense of impending doom was the point of the scene, but it wasn't there. As I had stated previously, the film makers do not provide enough substance to make it convincing that the characters would choose to act in a manner contradictory to how they had established themselves in the previous two hours of screen time. How it motivated the characters?, well I suppose it would have made the character of David Drayton, the father even more bound and determined to commit suicide, but we didn't get that morsel. But because I have clearly stated that it is the intent of this category to rate it with it's relation to the rest of the movie, in which it fails miserably, I will on the reverse side give back one kadahm to honour the fact that it was apparently the film makers wishes to sacrifice their film for the sake of a shocking conclusion and that it did.

Appearance and/or Visual Direction
: You know, I can't fault Frank Darabont for his keen eye and skills behind the camera. In a scene that takes place primarily in the cab of a vehicle surrounded by impenetrable fog the scene looks good (especially in the B&W version, which if you haven't seen, the previous 2 hours in this format is worth the cost of purchasing this film on DVD). His choice to cut to the vehicles exterior while he shoots the trucks occupants and we simply see the muzzle flash illuminate the interior at each retort works really well.

: OK, before I come across as hypocritical here this category is again scene specific, and not scored in relation the the film in it's entirety. Assessing the mood of this scene completely on its own merits apart from the rest of the story...

: OK the players did their part, and the acting of Thomas Jane was better than average.

Tally time. A scene I have clearly established my dislike for, but how does it hold up to the rack? Well final score is 14.5/25 58% or D+.

Gary Macabre

No comments: