Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Mist (movie #49)

I don't think I can talk about this movie without spoiling the whole thing.

Well, maybe a little. I love the way the movie is set up. Just like the story, there's a storm, and then the father and son go to the local grocery store (just like anyone in a small town would do after a storm like that) to buy some supplies and also to talk with the neighbors and check in (I mean, that's what my mom always did after a storm...we'd go shopping at the grocery store meanwhile all our neighbors were there, too, since it was the only grocery store in town, and we'd all talk about the storm and what had been destroyed or broken on our property...I remember one day we had a storm so bad all the power was out in town, and the store employees were leading people around the aisles of the store with was THAT kind of town). So right from the beginning, I'm hooked into the story. I remember reading the book as a kid and imagining the whole thing taking place at our local grocery store.

This is when things get bad. See, there is no ordinary storm going on outside the store. Something supernatural is taking over the town (possibly the world, but we don't know that yet, we only know what we can see) and the mist that settles over the town brings evil with it. At first we're not sure what, but we know that the mist is thick and impenetrable, it hides everything from our view, and everyone who goes out into the world never returns. So the people do what people would do in that situation, they poke at the mist, trying to figure out what's going on, and that's when people start dying. Because this isn't just a regular mist, there are creatures of some kind hiding in there. Here we get some bad CGI in the movie, but if you can ignore that (and you should be able to...I was) the story is much like that of the book, everyday, small-town people, trapped in a grocery store while the world turns to hell right outside the door.

This is when people show their true natures. Some don't believe anything is wrong (and of course, they try top leave and soon get dead). Some believe everything is turning to hell, and they try to help and support each other. And then some people believe that the world is turning to hell, but they believe they have the message of salvation. this is when things get sticky. I know so many people like the crazy church lady in this movie that it makes my blood run cold. Seriously. And it would be just my luck to be trapped in a store at the end of the world with someone like her. There is so much about that character that rings true. First of all, the scene where she stands prone while creatures are attacking the store and says "My life for you," and then when she doesn't get killed, she interprets that as God sparing her life, which must mean she's chosen, right? That is SO something a Christian would do (well, the crazy fundamentalist ones I grew up with). Everything was ordained by God. My pastor was in several car accidents, and every time she walked away without a scratch, so when she started telling me I had a demon in me and I told her I didn't agree, she said I was ignoring God by "spitting on his messenger." Clearly, because she didn't die that must mean she's God's messenger. It's something so down-to earth and believable. All of us, if we're honest with ourselves, want to believe that there's something special about us. that we're chosen. If we were able to believe that we were spared from death and we somehow had a message to bring, and we could use that to get people to listen to us and believe the things we said...a lot of people couldn't resist that kind of power. I'm not saying everyone would do what this lady did, or even that all Christians would act this way (I'm a Christian too) I'm just saying that humans have weaknesses, and situations where the world is falling apart can make our worst human traits come to light, and this movie shows how this woman's desire for an audience is fulfilled and her god complex spirals out of control and creates something horrible.

People who are afraid will cling to desperate things. any port in a storm, right? If the world was ending right outside your door and someone was standing in front of you telling you that there was a way to be saved, it wouldn't take long before you started to want to believe her...and then slowly began to believe her, in spite of yourself. Or maybe you wouldn't believe her and you'd be one of the people standing off to the side freaking out as everyone started to believe her and go crazy. that';s the camp I'd be in. At first, the people in the store ignore this lady and her pseudo-biblical ramblings, but then they start to listen more and more as days go on and they get desperate. Only a few people resist her craziness, but soon they're the minority. I know what that feels like. No, I've never been trapped in a grocery store while the world was ending, but I've been trapped in a house while everyone around me started to believe crazier and crazier things until suddenly I was the only one who "didn't believe" and that meant I was evil...everything in this movie rings true because the characters are based in reality. that makes the whole experience scarier.

And then there's the ending.


I understand the decision they make, I just think that it seems like they're giving up and not giving themselves a chance for anything else to happen; for any kind of salvation. If they'd clung to each other, gotten out of the vehicle, and then he'd shot the people outside after he heard those loud noises, I'd feel better about what they did. It just makes me so angry the finality of it and the despair of what happens right after that when it could have been avoided. The look on the little kid's face when he sees his dad about to shoot him gets to me too. I'm not saying it's a bad ending, on the contrary, I think it's a very good ending if it elicits this kind of emotion and discussion from me. Some endings make me yell because I think the characters make illogical decisions, but in this case, I fully see why they do what they do, but it's totally not what I'd do in that situation because I'd want to give myself every chance to survive and I'm so mad at them for ending it the way they did. I'm probably carrying a lot of personal feelings and experiences about suicide into my reaction, and I think that's ok...if a movie can make me think about those things, it's definitely a good one in my book. I just get so upset at what those characters do because even before we find out that the military is right outside the window, I'm still screaming at them "No, stop! Give it a chance! At least TRY to keep going! Don't give up!" It was a powerful experience for me, probably moreso this year than it ever has been for me before, and that's why I wanted to come here to discuss it, not to rag on the movie or say it's bad, just to share that the mix of emotions I feel during that scene makes it hard to watch.


So in conclusion...apart from some bad CGI, this is a good movie. You should watch it, but be prepared to be kicked in the gut.

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