THE MIST (2007)
Apart from some rare instances like It and The Shining, quite often the suspenseful work of Stephen King has been let down on the screen by poor acting and a layer of cheese that upsets the stomach. This didn’t stop me watching The Mist.
Based on an old King novella, it’s the story of an entire town that finds itself shrouded in a thick mist, creating zero visibility. The mist settled after a severe storm, and a large amount of the town was in the supermarket buying supplies at the time. Naturally, they’re trapped.
Our protagonist and his son are surrounded by locals and out of towners, including their overly-rational neighbour with a penchant for swearing and being a dick, a freaking crazy religious nut of a lady, seniors, kids, some old bastards and a whole host of extras. One of the key focuses of the film and story is the dynamic that people create when stuck in an adverse situation, left to fend for themselves. In that regard, this book obviously led King to writing ‘Under The Dome’.
Of course there’s also ‘something in the mist’ in the form of alien/monster style creatures with deadly touches. Carnage, terror, fear, it’s like Big Brother had a baby with Supermarket Sweep (remember that show?) – and it isn’t pretty.
There are some wonderful moments of tension, and the use of a cast of TV-quality stars keeps the spotlight on the story, but it also gives the acting a certain limitation in terms of quality.
As far as ‘people trapped in a dangerous situation’ films go, this is certainly one of them. It’s strong enough to avoid being a bad film, and the apocalyptic sense of doom both in some of the characters and in the world outside is admirable.
What sets this film apart from others though, is THE ENDING – and I’m a SUCKER for a crazy ending (although it has to have an element of logic). It’s so good that I can’t bring myself to spoil it for you, but you won’t see it coming (until about a second before it does) and it completely changes the way you felt about a film that was, to be honest, getting a bit boring.
I sat there with my mouth agape for at least a few minutes, looking like an idiot – the ending was THAT good. I almost forgot about the dragging bits that led up to it. Almost. 7/10
SOYLENT GREEN (1973)
At the behest of a friend I thought I’d check out a film that few I know have seen but everyone knows the ending to – SPOILER ALERT: SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!
Welcome to 2022, where the world is overpopulated and polluted, food and resources are depleted, many people are poor and destitute, literacy is at an all time low and more of more of the food supply is being manufactured by one company. Everyone’s eating Kale and whatnot.
HA! IT’S AMAZING HOW STUPID THESE FILMS WERE WITH THEIR VISIONS OF THE FUTURE – RIGHT!? Oh wait.
Charlton Heston is a detective, roped into investigating the death of the head of Monsan… I mean, the SOYLENT CORPORATION. He makes the acquaintance of the furniture (by which I mean the woman who comes WITH the house) and they have a fling, while he tries to determine just what the horrible secret is that got the executive killed. We all know how it ends.
The biggest disappointment for me with this film was knowing the ending in advance. The story is told well, it moves at a great pace, the performances are solid and I honestly don’t know that I would have predicted the ending had I not known in advance.
So thanks, TV shows, old people and internet memes for ruining the ending. Assholes.
What makes it just as poignant is the element of believability in this vision of the future. Many films take the same path but then add absurd touches (like Carousel in Logan’s Run), but this is scarily believable in the many ways I mentioned above.
Am I saying we’re all going to be eating people in 7 years?
Yes, even if I have to start it myself. 9/10
THE LOFT (2014)
Where The Mist and Soylent Green could be considered ‘slow burners’, The Loft moves much more quickly, so I’ll try to as well.
5 friends, all married, decide to co-invest in a loft apartment where they can each go and have extra marital affairs – as you can see, they’re going for likable characters. We know little about them as people other than the events that transpire after they invest in the loft, which is of course lots of sex with hookers and psychos.
Naturally, one of them (the hookers that is) turns up dead in the apartment and the five of them get together to work out what happened. What follows is lots of sexy back story and a whole bunch of secrets and lies, mainly involving sex with women (secrets) and their wives (lies). One’s an alcoholic, one falls in love with a prostitute, one is incredibly violent towards women, and another one wants to bang his sister, while it turns out another one has been filming them all.
It can’t be denied that the casting was well done. There’s believability to the relationship between the five men, despite the fact that they’re all horrendous assholes. It’s the believability that makes you SEE them as the assholes, so the acting can’t be criticised.
You’re engaged enough throughout to keep wondering whodunit, and there are a host of twists at the end – but to me the twists don’t work as well because you don’t know enough about the characters. Instead of blowing your mind, it’s almost enough to make you mouth the word ‘what?’
It wasn’t a waste of time on a Sunday afternoon, but it certainly won’t reach any LOFT-y heights! HAHAHAHA! 6/10