2007: The Mist
Written and directed by Frank Darabont
This is going to be a tough film to write about. Oh, it’s definitely my pick for 2007, but the problem is that I already spent a good 800 words blabbing about it a couple of years ago. In fact, I was sorely tempted to pen some apologetic introduction and just reproduce that post here, since I’m actually pretty pleased with how it turned out. But I’ll content myself with linking to it and try to come up with something new and exciting this time around. Even if I did use the some quote to introduce both posts.
I do remember not seeing this until it came out on DVD. It was part of a batch of movies I got as part of an online gift exchange, a selection of horror movies whose sentiment I appreciated, but didn’t really feel were my thing. But I kept reading these rapturous things about The Mist, and I finally figured, “Hey, I’ve got the damn thing sitting right there on a shelf, let’s do this thing.” And the rapture was deserved, as I was completely blown away by it. I shouldn’t have been surprised, considering the job Frank Darabont had done with his previous Stephen King adaptations, but those hadn’t been straight-up horror stories. Then again, The Mist isn’t just a straight-up horror film, as I elaborated in my older post.
One of the features on the DVD is a black and white version of the film. Darabont had wanted to release it in black and white — and it was apparently shot with black and white in mind — but the studio balked, and so it became a DVD extra. Now I’ve heard people rave about this version, how it’s superior to the color version, how it vastly improves the atmosphere. So I watched it and … I just don’t see it. I guess it’s the idea of knowing the film exists in color that keeps me from embracing the black and white version. This isn’t a case where someone released a bastardized color version and the black and white version was denied to us for years only to be rediscovered. It’s an incredibly finicky distinction, I know, but, while black and white does give the film a little bit of timelessness, I can’t say it dramatically improves it for me. The color of life slowly being overwhelmed by the gray featureless mist just works better for me.
Darabont hasn’t directed a feature film since The Mist, although he did do a re-write on the script for next year’s Godzilla, another monster movie that looks like it might be about a little bit more than just monsters. The original Godzilla dealt with the fear of the atomic bomb, and The Mist with the fear of the other after 9/11, so I’m curious to see what angle Darabont brings to the table this time around. And whether people think it would have been better in black and white.