For many, The Mist (2007) is Stephen King horror at its finest. It is the story about a small town that is invaded by an ethereal and deadly mist, and how the civility of everyday townspeople is stripped away when exposed to fear and loose tongues. But it isn’t the mist itself that causes this, but what is hidden within its curling fingers.
When The Mist hit theaters back in 2007, it was essentially a bomb: coming in at no. 9 its opening weekend, the film didn’t break even with its $18 million budget until after a little over two weeks. Not long after that, The Mist’s numbers began to dwindle at an increasingly rapid pace, eventually falling off of everyone’s radar entirely after only four rounds of the box office numbers game.
Then distributor Genius Products came into the picture in 2008 and changed up the playing field, releasing The Mist on a two-disc collector’s edition for DVD and Blu-Ray. According to Darabont on the DVD’s commentary, sometime after King finished writing The Mist novella back in 1980 he posited how great it would look if it was filmed in the style of classic horror films (think George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, 1968). Darabont liked the idea, but he knew you would be hard-pressed to find a studio who would take that kind of risk. After all, how often do you come across filmgoers, aside from film students and cinephiles, who actually want to see a b&w film these days? The sad reality is not many. The studios and Darabont knew this, and so we originally got The Mist in the full-color spectrum.
But what if Darabont had gone with his instincts? Well, wonder no more! Genius Products’ two-disc collector’s edition is a hidden gem among coal, not only because of the plethora of special features, but because you get to see, for the first time, the b&w transfer of The Mist; classic horror on a contemporary plane of filmic tactility. And no, it doesn’t disappoint.
Trading color for shadow, The Mist is the closest on a psychological level that viewers will ever get to sitting in on classic Hollywood horror. Stripping away the purportedly increased “reality” that color is supposed to bring to cinema, viewers can instead focus on the bare essentials: good ‘ol fashioned technique and, more importantly, scares.
Fans of classic horror will also love the film’s “Monsters Among Us” special feature. An interesting factoid of the film is that, perhaps by the grace of a low budget, The Mist is a melting pot of visual effects and computer-generated imagery. The creatures and mist are the real stars of the show, and now you can get an up-close and personal look on how the team behind the magic worked together to create a completely different dimension… and food chain. This all helps to round out a film that not only looks like classic Hollywood fare but really feels like it as well, without the so-bad-it’s-good taste you get in your mouth that a trip to your local theater can occasionally induce.
Rated R for violence, terror and gore, and language (Click here for a more detailed breakdown)
Here’s a trailer of the film
Amazon – DVD, $8.19 ;Blu-Ray, $8.95
Local retail stores that carry:
Target (Blu-Ray only)
Walmart (Blu-Ray only)