THE MIST: TWO-DISC COLLECTOR’S EDITION (Alliance, 2007) D: Frank Darabont, w/ Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden. Rating: NNN; DVD package: NNNNN
In his introduction, writer/director Frank Darabont calls the disc two edition of The Mist his “preferred version.” It’s identical to the disc one cut except for one thing: it’s in black-and-white. That makes for a hugely different viewing experience, rawer and more unsettling. The monsters aren’t as impressive, but the human conflict feels more like razor blades.
In the movies, people trapped by monsters – in this case, hideous tentacled creatures and bugs from another dimension – will always turn on each other, but Darabont, working from Stephen King’s novella, roots these conflicts in realistic class, racial and religious animosity, so they never feel like filler between the scary bits.
Marcia Gay Harden plays the prime antagonist, Mrs. Carmody, with a creepy blend of coy seduction, megalomania and iron will that makes her the best God-struck wack job since Piper Laurie in Carrie.
The cast’s enthusiasm for the project has much to do with Darabont’s unusual shooting approach. That’s detailed in the making-of docs, along with a solid look at the way practical effects and CGI teams cooperate, and a good piece on managing the chaos of an all-out monster attack.
The monsters, by the way, are seriously scary. Together with Darabont’s visual style, they make a movie that’s drenched in a sense of terrible doom.
The Mist’s poster art is by Drew Struzan. He’s done some of the best in the past 30 years. It’s good to see him get the recognition he deserves in disc one’s short tribute.
EXTRAS Disc one: colour version, Darabont commentary, deleted scenes with optional commentary, appreciation of poster artist Struzan, webisodes. Widescreen. English, French audio and subtitles. Disc two: b&w version with Darabont intro, four making-of docs. Widescreen. English, French audio and subtitles.