The Mist (Stephen King's) (2007)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 18-Jun-2008

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Frank Darabont and others
Interviews-Cast-Frank Darabont & Stephen King
Featurette-Making Of
Trailer-3 trailers
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 120:49
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (89:55) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Frank Darabont
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Thomas Jane
Marcia Gay Harden
Laurie Holden
Andre Braugher
Toby Jones
William Sadler
Jeffrey DeMunn
Frances Sternhagen
Case ?
RPI ? Music Mark Isham


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

The morning after a freak storm that has wreaked havoc with homes and yards in small-town Maine, USA, tensions are running high. David Drayton (Thomas Jane) rises above that tension and uses the crisis as an opportunity to bury the hatchet with his neighbour Brent (Andre Braugher), a big city dweller whose small town hideaway has been hit hard by the storm. The pair head to the local supermarket to pick up supplies to help clean up the mess, accompanied by David's young son Billy (Nathan Gamble). As they prepare to leave the market, a thick mist descends upon the town coming form a nearby military base. A panicked neighbour comes running out of the mist...

"Don't go out there! There's something in the mist!"

The shoppers return to the supermarket as the mist surrounds it. Screams can be heard in the distance, but the mist is so thick than nobody can see more than a few feet. Assistant shopkeeper Ollie (Toby Jones) meekly tries to keep the group calm. Local lass Amanda (Laurie Holden) helps look after Billy whilst David and others look for a safe way out, only to be attacked by barbed tentacles.

Eventually, a flying creature in the mist attacks the supermarket, which is enough to force even the most doubtful into a state of panic. Mrs Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden), a fanatical Christian, decides for herself that this is God's punishment for man's sins. As the hours turn into days, more begin to believe her ranting and the survivors are split into wildly opposing groups and the mob begin to fight each other as much as the beasties that are assaulting the supermarket. Heaven help the three military recruits among the group.

Director Frank Darabont has previously adapted two other Stephen King stories into feature films, The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, though this is the first archetypal Stephen King story he tackled. Tongue-in-cheek he has suggested that he made The Mist to undo all the good he achieved with The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. In a lot of ways he is right, whilst his previous King adaptations brilliantly celebrated the good in humanity, The Mist conjures a truly terrifying experience by exposing the ugly side of humanity. The movie conjures a terrifying environment, mainly through the madness and selfishness of the films characters rather than the rarely seen beasties hiding in the mist.

The Mist is very much styled in the same mould as the science fiction monster movies of the 1950s. The critters are big and menacing. Many of them are directly based on insects and household creepy crawlies, spider and wasps, which provides an immediate connection of fear that purely fictional creatures would have lacked. The monsters are used for shock more than gore, with the really frightening aspect being the fear of the unknown and a paranoia that steadily builds throughout the movie.

There hasn't been a film quite like The Mist for decades, if ever. The genuine terror it builds is astonishing, both form its creatures and its exploration of the dark side of human nature. Stephen King fans will rejoice that someone has finally done justice to one of his horror stories, something that hasn't happened in quite a while and many would argue has never happened (many fans are of the mindset that Misery and The Shining were great films, but nothing like what King had intended). Everyone else can rejoice (as they shudder) in what is truly a remarkable film.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

The film is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, which appears to be an open matte of the theatrical 1.85:1 aspect ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

The film has been shot with a very loose camera style. Rather than carefully planned shots, much of the action has been captured using improvised direction to a steady-cam operator. Whilst result is not quite as jerky as some of the hand-held shaky-cam films produced over the last few years, the low lighting coupled with frequent motion manages to attract a number of video artefacts. The technique works particularly well for the narrative of the film but not so well for its digital transfer.

The image is generally a little soft, partly due to the camera moving around but even during steady shots the image is a littler softer than I would have like. Much of the film is dimly lit in order to give the look of a blackout. There is an fair level of detail in these dark scenes, however they attract a considerable and uneven level of grain. Many of the better lit scenes also suffer from excessive grain, though it isn't quite as noticeable as in the darker scenes. Interestingly, the misty scenes don't tend to look as grainy as many of the non-misty scenes.

The film deliberately employs a rather muted colour scheme, which helps cement the bleak tone of the movie. The colours don't look great, but they do look right for the film.

The grainy nature of the image and soft focus attract a number of video artefacts. Posterisation is occasionally noticeable, particularly in the background of the more dimly lit scenes of the movie. A moderate level of macro blocking can be seen in backgrounds throughout the movie. The transfer is free from film artefacts.

English subtitles for the hearing impaired are present for the feature. Based on the portion I sampled they appear to be accurate and well timed.

This is a RSDL disc. The layer break occurs at 81:55 but was not noticeable on my equipment.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kbps), English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kbps) and English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kbps) audio tracks are present for the film.

Each of the audio tracks sound quite good. The dialogue is at a good level in the mix and appears to be well synchronised to the video.

Mark Isham provides a suitable bleak orchestral score that carries the mood of the film well.

The surrounds are put to excellent use throughout the film, primarily for effects. The subwoofer gets an intelligent workout and is put to great effect in building the tension of the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Audio Commentary with Frank Darabont and others

The director drives this very chatty commentary, whilst others (Stephen King, cast members) drop in for a few cents worth. Darabont passionately describes how everything was put together and what he was going for with the various elements of the movie. This is a fantastic commentary track.

Making Of Featurette (37:28)

A fantastic "Making Of" featurette that covers all aspects of the production. Not a moment of the hefty running time is wasted on filler. The Mist really seems to have been a labour of love for director Frank Darabont, who returns to the horror genre after nearly fifteen years of developing serious dramas. Stephen King appears to have provided great support in the making, also.

Writer and Director Interview (12:17)

A rather candid chat between Frank Darabont and Stephen King, who discuss various aspects of their careers with a particular focus on their collaborations.

Trailers

Two theatrical trailers and an Internet/TV trailer.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The Region 4 edition of The Mist is a very good single disc edition and includes a decent complement of extras. The Region 1 edition is a phenomenally good 2-disc set that includes a second, black and white, version of the film (a hark back to the 1950s schlock that inspired Darabont's vision for The Mist). rubbing salt into the wound, the video transfer of the theatrical cut on the Region 1 edition looks a little clearer than that of the Region 4 edition. Unfortunately for Region 4, Region 1 is the clear winner in this comparison.

The Region 4 edition includes a couple of trailers that aren't on the Region 1 edition, but misses out on:

Summary

A chilling thriller that harks back to the sci-fi monster movies of the 1950s, preying on human fear rather than gore. The top notch ensemble cast and brilliant direction elevate this Stephen King frightener to a masterpiece.

The video transfer is decent, but has a few issues stemming from excessive grain. The sound is excellent.

This disc includes a solid selection of extras, but pales in comparison the Region 1 edition.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Monday, June 16, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Highly recommended viewing - Tom (read my bio)
Forget the local release.... - Sean Brady
Local release B&W - Tom (read my bio)