Sci-fi/Horror, 126 Minutes, 2007
This is one of those classic movies that you likely saw long ago and are then reminded about by something so you track it down and re-watch. Since my wife had never seen it, I was able to share it with her and was happily surprised that it held up just as well as I had hoped.
The story is simple and effective: an oddly thick mist descends from the mountain over a small town in Maine. Was there an accident at the secretive military base up there? People soon come to realize that there are monsters in the mist and barricade themselves in the local grocery store. As religious fervor begins to overwhelm rational thought things go from bad to worse.
One of the first things that some people may notice is that the movie is somewhat of a love-in for “Walking Dead” [IMBD] fans. No less than three of the main cast from that show are featured (Jeffery DeMunn [IMDB], Laurie Holden [IMDB] and Melissa McBride [IMDB]). The movie is directed by Frank Darabont [IMDB] with additional direction and effects work by Greg Nicotero [IMDB]. Other successful television shows are well-represented.
It feels like a television movie in many ways; albeit a very high-quality one. The horror is, with a few exceptions, relatively tame. Much of the worst is implied rather than displayed. It did very well with its smaller budget and mixed high quality digital effects with masterful practical effects. It’s the kind of movie that the SyFy Channel could fund if it pulled its metaphorical head out of its metaphorical ass and favored quality over quantity.
This is also one of the best video-game movies ever made despite the fact that there was no video game associated with it. It has a definite “Half-Life” vibe, and that’s no small praise. The settings, characters and creatures are all archetypal of gaming even if they lack the fire-power or range. Perhaps it’s more like the movie that would be made right next to one of the best video-game movies; the one that covers how everybody else handles things while some scientist with a crowbar is solving all the problems.
This is a must-see for horror fans. It’s also an excellent gateway movie for those looking to bring new fans into the fold.