Tag Archives: Stephen King

The Mist (2017) – TV show review

20 Aug

The Mist title.png

I dont know if you remember that episode of the Simpsons where Homer is Barbecuing a pig and then Lisa trows it of a hill and Homer runs after it? The pig goes trough all kinds of dirty places and Homer said “Its just a little dirty its still good” until the pig is shot trough sewage drain and he says “Its just a little airborn, its still good” and Bart says “Its gone”. Homer replies: “I know.” It was from the time when The Simpsons was still funny.

I think we can all recognize that when it comes to fandom. We as fans WANT something to be good. We try over and over again, feeling more and more dumb and dirty for each attempt.

Sometimes we talk about “jumping the shark”. The point where a show became too bad to watch. But lets be honest, how many of us watched way beyond that point, hoping that the show would at some point redeem itself? Get back on track?

I am a huge fan of the Mist movie. I even wrote an analysis of it here on my blog which is one of my most read blogentries. So I guess many others loved it as well. I read the novella cuz I loved the movie so much I wanted to examine the differences and similarities. To muse on the contrasts and reflect on the similarities. Great concept, story, characters, settings. Both entertaining and deep. Huge fan of the Mist (2007) and the novella.

Then I learned of a TV show and yes I got excited. I saw potential in it. There are many aspects of the movie that could be explored. The Mist may have appeared other places with other people having to survive it. We can learn more about the creatures, where they come from, what was the cause of it. Perhaps explore other parts of humanity. Even be more postive towards humans? Be different, but also the same?

So I saw the TV show and from very early on I realized that this show was bad. “Cringe”, I think people call it. When you start to move around in the chair because of what you are watching. There is a lot of cringe in this show.

The Plot:

I only watched 8 episodes. I dont know how many there are and how many there are going to be. At episode 5 I started to just skip fast trough it. I gave up. Just to see if there was ANYTHING worth watching. So in fairness I may just have watched 4 episodes.

This is what I gather from the plot. A town somewhere in the US have people living in it. There is a family of a dad, a mom and daughter. The mother is controlling for reasons I havent grasped. But she seems to have some experience in the past that may be revealed later. The daughter is an average daughter. Wanting to live her life, but feel tied down a bit from her mom.

She has a gay/queer friend that says gay/queer things. She has a crush on a jock who is the son of the Sheriff in town. The father is a stoic man.

Then the daughter wants to go to a party to meet the jock. The mother says no, the father says yes. She goes. She brings her gay/queer friend. The gay/queer friend experiences some homophobic treatment at the party and then the girl gets date raped.

Meanwhile an eccentric woman notices some natural anomalies of animals behaving strangely and goes to the library to find out what it means.

A black man has amnesia. A drug addicted woman is bitchy. Both goes to jail by the angry sheriff.

Then the mist comes. And with it nothing follows.

The characters.

What can be said about the Mist (TV show) that probably has been said many times by others already? The show is very politically correct. What some will call Social Justice Warrior themed. Its about all the bad stuff people think and do. How racist we are. How rapey we are. How violent we are.

The common pop-misantropic entertainment we are served constantly now. Then again, that was kind of the point of the movie to wasnt it? But the problem is that its done “too on the nose”. The TV show is hammering it in. It lacks tacked. It lacks tone. Its dumb.

Take for instance the scene where the gay/queer kid experience homophobia. 

Homophiba

The scene is that the gay/queer kid is at a party and behaves “gay”. A jock gets annoyed by that and starts aggressively talk homophobic to the kid. The kid then replies with overly sexual gay references and the jock gets more annoyed until he gets physical.

This is “too on the nose”. The scene is not believable at all. First of, I am way older than the people in this. I come from “a different time” where homosexuality wasnt talked about and presented as much as now. Even back in the day this was NOT normal behavior.

And now, in the [current year], the stigmatization of being a so called “homophobe” I would guess would be even worse.

Let me tell a tale. When I was your age, back in the 1990s, we had sex-ed. And we was also told about homosexuality. After we learned about the “normal” sexuality, we also were taught about the “other type”. We saw an information video where two gay people (one lesbian and one gay) were talking to this “liberal open minded person” about their attractions. They were floating down a river on a bed, while talking about being attracted to the same sex. Our class began to laugh out loud.

The teacher got annoyed by this and stopped the tape and started to moralize to us about how bad it is that we laughed at this.

“1 in 10 are gay, so the odds are there are atleast two gay people in this class”, he said. “Think about how they feel when you laugh like that.”

I raised my hand and said “But we werent laughing about the gays we were laughing about the stupidity of the presentation.” It was cringe.

Let me share another tale. Many times in my life I have been “accused” of being gay. I am slightly effeminate and there are other signs aswell. And once someone said to me “Haha. You are gay. You are so gay!”. Behind him stood his allies. I said “You think I am gay? So what? We live in 1999. Nobody cares anymore.” And he shut up.

Yes! The [current year] argument is old as bleep! It was even valid in 1999. Now over 18 years later we are STILL suppose to belive that this is the strife of the common gay man?

This is NOT how homophobia works! Homophobia is usually more subtle. It comes in the shape of coldness and gossip. Not outspoken bigotry and violence. Yes, there are exceptions, but usually it would be a faux pas to do it in public. At a party at least… in 2017.

And that just one of the many “too on the nose” social commentaries this show has. It portrays men has dumb, women as strong. People in power (sheriffs) are one dimensional asshats. I am surprised to say that at least the clergy is not been showed to be pedophiles and bigots as of episode 4.

But the cardboard box characters with simplistic and cliched social commentaries may have been forgiven IF the setting and the problems in the mist was interesting. If the PLOT beyond the character´s touchy-feely narrative was mysterious and intriguing. But it isnt.

The Mist (TV) is not the mist.

A question I am sure I am not the first to ask is this: Why buy a license to a franchise/setting and then run in a completely different direction with it? It happens constantly. People buy the rights to a concept and then change up the concept so its only that concept in name.

The Mist (TV show) is one of those things. Its like I bought the right to the Terminator (1984) franchise and said “But instead of having it be about killer cyborgs from the future, lets have it be about space-pirates from the past!” or Resident Evil (1996) franchise and said “Instead of having it be about zombies being created by a virus, lets have it be about space pirates from the past that are homophobes and racists!” or the mist (2007) “but instead of having it be about mysterious creatures in a fog, lets have it be about date rape and homophobia!”

Why sell something, as something else, if its not? Because the license is a selling point? Fine, but for how long will people pay attention if the concept is in name only? I lasted about 4 episodes. Others probably not more than 1 episode. Perhaps some are still watching, hoping.

Angry Cochroaches

Angry cockroaches!

The mist movie and novella had giant creatures in it. Sometimes referred to as “Lovecraftian” as they are “beyond imagination”.

There were giant spiders with acid webs, huge tentacle like things, big poisonous flies, dinosaur like creatures.

In the show there are… ghosts, some kind of black thing, angry earth coackroaches, and fog. Lots and lots of fog. No huge creatures, no dangerous small creatures. Just fog and some kind of mutation thing effect.

Most of the time its silence in the Mist (TV), where as in the movie the creatures where all around outside. In the TV show no creatures attacking. There are ghost in the fog, and if people go out into the mist, sometimes they seem to experience some kind of poetic punishment for their past crimes. Or something. I dont know.

At one point a guy walks into the mist and mutates into a huge moth. Why? What does that mean? What does that have to do with the Mist movie or novella?

AngrySomething

Interessting enough, but WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THE MIST?!?!?!?!

It makes no sense in the context of the movie and novella. These things were never seen in those. But as I said in the beginning, as a fan of the franchise, I wanted to love the show, so I start to fill in the gaps right? Try to make the puzzle pieces work and fit into the previous movie.

I think “Well, I guess this could be a part of the mist. I mean they weren that much outside?”, “Perhaps they are trying to say that the mist has some kind of mutation quality and that those creatures we saw in the movie, were mutated earth creatures? That could work. That could work. Its still good. Its still good.” 

But then after 4 episodes, and a narrative that does not explore the mist, but instead these cardboard box characters I do not care about and the events that unfolds are uninteresting as well, I just start to wonder: When will this have ANYTHING to do with the Mist movie?

Everytime a character that may have some kind of explanation arrives they kill him off, often by other characters, NOT creatures or fog. The mist is usually about 10% of the show. The rest of the time its about sitting gloomily and talk about nothing. Ive lost completely sense of time. Are we on day 1, 2, 3? The motivations of the characters are sporadic. Anger and forgiveness thrown out whenever the writer feels like it.

And all I feel is bored and confused which makes me annoyed. This show could either be more faithful to the original works or they could have called it something else or they could tie in the relations quicker or have had more interessting characters and drama. Why introduce a rather edgy or provocative subject like teenage date rape and then just ignore it? What was the point of that?

Even though this is a TV show a plot cant be set-up in episode one and then brought back in episode 9 or 10 or season 3. There has to be some connection with these things. Not just set-up, stretch out or ignore.

I just cant say “Its still good.” anymore. This show is directionless and pointless and not even entertaining. But oh, how I wished. Oh, the good will I had. How difficult could it be to make the same, with new characters and perhaps a slight bit of deeper exploration into “arrowhead project” or what the creatures are? Do as any teen school cheater. Copy-paste others work, then add some words of your own. Its that simple. 

Board

When watching the Mist (2017) I feel like this girl here. Slightly bored and disgusted.

 

Ah-ha!

Blog 2.0 – Dont go out into the Mist. There is nothing there!

The Mist (2007) – An analysis

31 Aug

Brent Norton:

David, there’s nothing out there. Nothing in the mist.

David Drayton:

What if you’re wrong?

Brent Norton:

Then, I guess… the joke will be on me after all.

-The Mist (2007)

The Mist – Introduction

I saw The Mist many years ago thinking it would be a entertaining cheesy monster movie. A review I read said it was dull and pointless but I still saw it. Watching this movie I went throught a lot of feelings. I have always been skeptical to religion bashing movies and for a great part of this film I thought it was just that; a movie about how religion keeps us down. But watching it to the end, the critique of religion was ambivalent at best. So now, for reason I may post in a later entry I want to analyze the Mist to see what this movie tries to say about religion and humanity in general.

The Mist – Plot summary:

A boy, his father and his neighbor goes to the local mall to buy supplies after a big storm. As they enter the mall, they meet alot of the small towns inhabitants. Among them a cold and angry christian woman, some conscious liberal old people, down to earth good-guys and military personnel.

Shortly after their arrival a thick fog arrives, and a man claims that there is «something in the mist». Screaming from slow moving people seem to prove that. The people in the store then closes the doors, try to find out what´s going on, then try to survive as groups of people start playing each other off for power.
The angry christian claim that this is a punishment from God as she tries to take control over the people in the store. She tells people not to go outside or do anything as «help was on the way»
Towards the end of the struggle the angry cold christian is killed and the father, son and the liberal old people leave the store to try fending for themselves. They travel a long misty road until the run out of gas. Believing it is all over…

*plot spoiler* *plot spoiler* *plot spoiler* *plot spoiler* *plot spoiler*

…they commit suicide. Leaving only the father behind to witness that rescue truly where on it´s way.

The Mist – The analysis

As most good monster movies, this monster movie is not about the monsters. They are primal fears materialized. What really goes on is the human reaction to the threat. The mist works as a fog of fear, and the mall becomes a sample of most kinds of humans from highly educated (“college boy”) to low-level working class. The fog becomes the unknown which is unknown to all walks of life.

The Mist shows human nature at it worst in a crisis. We see Xenophobia of the «out of towners», disbelief. lack of faith, egotism, paranoia, fundamentalism, bias, “us-them” mentality, lack of scientific ethics and many more. I will mention the impact some of these behaviors and attitudes affects the story´s progression and conclusion and find out if the true essence of this film is a critique of religious faith.

Duty vs fear.
After the mist is encountered and the threat is explained the first reaction we get to observe is the maternal instinct vs. cowardice or more generally duty vs fear. A mother, with a strong sense of maternal duty, begs for help as she has to go out in the Mist to get to her children. No others in the mall dare to exit, and she has to leave on her own. We watch her walk out into the mist alone, seeing everyone else watching her in fear. This scene is probably important for many reasons. It gives us a quick understanding of the group as a whole. No one in the supermarket is interested in helping anyone but themselves. And as the mother leaves the mall she says “You can all go to hell” and to hell they went.

Then a romance plot start between a pretty blond and the father. They never explore the tension, but seems to hint that the protagonist lives in the moment, almost forgetting his wife as long as he has the company of this pretty blond. It is not stated explicitly but it would seem the protagonist has had an affair with this woman (especially if there is any continuity between the movie and the novelette). This shows that the protagonist does not have a strong sense of duty either.

Disbelief and lack of faith

At least in the beginning many of the characters shows a great disbelief in the dangers outside since it´s to far fetched. In real life we can find these farfetched threats everywhere; islamization, Illuminati, capitalism agenda of keeping the man down, cultural-Marxist thought control, 2012 hysteria, 9/11 conspiracy, glass-ceiling theory, apocalyptic signs in our time and terrorism threats. Anyone who has any credibility needs to laugh out loud by these ignorant nonsense. They are all wrong. How could they be right? Well, in this movie seeing was believing and they couldn´t doubt it. Unfortunately not everybody saw it at the same time, and a conflict arises when warning is met with ridicule.

The protagonist, «a college boy» gives lots of warnings in this movie, but he says them in a patronizing elitist way, making others ignoring him. When it turns out he was right, it becomes clear to others that they should have listen to him on faith, and apologizes. The protagonist then becomes angry as well and punches the disbeliever. This shows a unbalance between taking one´s own opinion on faith and other´s

The mist seems to thematically revolve around belief /disbelief. Characters experience changes in their beliefs throughout this movie. Some believe stronger, some loose theirs (see also my analysis of the ending). Also faith in the different characters is about different things. Some have faith in humanity, some in God, some in rationality. These different values are tested trough this nightmare and some seem more resilliant than others. I.e. Faith in humanity dies at the 53 mark as the last part of The Mist there are numerous acts of suicide.

To much faith.
This is the main reason for my analysis of this movie. An atheist, that I talked to online, made “the evils of religion”, the explicit theme of this movie. In a scene we see the cold cynical christian woman in the toilette praying to God for strength to comfort and preach. This is her refuge in the crisis a real or imagined God. She believes it is needed, but she is also obviously mentally unstable as she is crying and talking to herself. A conflict in her mind is stated as she says «Don´t condescend me.[…] Don´t mock me.». Why she says that is unclear but there seems to be bad blood between the blond woman and the angry christian. Also, and this is pure interpretation, as the other character says «I wasn´t mocking you», there seems to be an honest disbelief in her face.

"I wasn´t mocking you"

The irony of it all is the parallel conflict of christian fundamentalism and the disbelief of the very real outside threat that goes on in the first part of The Mist. Also it may be worth noting that although a God is never seen in this movie, the angry christian do experience some miracles and she shows some bravery when she was not afraid of dying when a monster bug is resting on her chest. As she prays the bug flies away. It may be a atheistic coincidence or a the directors real intent of showing divine intervention.

Egotism

In analyzing text we often use the term “hero” or “protagonist”. I have tried here to be consequent in referring to the character that drives the story forward as “protagonist” because “hero” he ain´t.
Towards the end of the movie the protagonist and his allies are discussion leaving the mall to rescue themselves. A debate about the rights and wrongs of abandoning the rest of the people is concluded with

Amanda Dunfrey:

You don’t have much faith in humanity, do you?


Dan Miller:

None, whatsoever.


Amanda Dunfrey:

I can’t accept that. People are basically good; decent. My god, David, we’re a civilized society.


David Drayton:

Sure, as long as the machines are working and you can dial 911. But you take those things away, you throw people in the dark, you scare the shit out of them – no more rules.


In this dialogue, ideals are faced with misanthropy and cynicism. The cold truth becomes funny in it´s terror, but even more important this cynicism will lead to the conclusion that self preservation is more important than altruism.

Lack of scientific ethics.
This theme is so overly used in horror, and especially monster movies, that it has become a clisje. Resident Evil 1-3 , Frankenstein, Re-animator, Alien: Resurrection, Island of Dr. Moreau, Species, Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, many Villains in comicbooks, Jurassic Park, The Fly, Doom, Piranha (1978). The list is endless. It is, what I will call, a healthy skepticism to science. But it mostly goes unheard. Constantly we can read in newspapers of groundbreaking discoveries in science that we didn´t even knew they did research on and what is discovered (i.e we can clone things/eugenics, atom bombs, bio-weaponry, medical discovery through torture [1] [2].) “BUT IT´S PROGRESS! NO ONE SHOULD QUESTION PROGRESS!”

Wayne Jessup:

Yeah, we all heard stuff! Like uh, how they… they thought that there were other dimensions. You know, other… other worlds all around us, and how they wanted to try to make a window, you know, so they can look through and see what’s on the other side.



Mrs. Carmody:

Well maybe your window turned out to be a door. Isn’t it?


Wayne Jessup:

Not my door! It’s the scientists!



Mrs.Carmody:

[sarcastically]

Oh, the scientists.


Wayne Jessup:

Yes, the scientists! They must’ve ripped a hole through by accident. That’s how their world keeps on spilling through into ours. That’s what Donaldson was saying right before he killed himself. I didn’t understand half of it.

As I said earlier, I do not believe that this is a tribute to atheism ideals, and not logic and scientific conquerors either. We most not forget that it is strongly implied that this monstrous ordeal was started by military scientist with government founding. And by this, this movies as basically showed fault in everything.

The ending
The ending of the Mist is not like the ending of the novella by Stephen King. In the movie there is a collective suicide where 4 of the 5 people in the car get´s killed just before the military arrives to rescue them. In this ending we also see that the mother from the beginning survived as did her kids.

This differs a lot from the novella where there is no collective suicide, but instead ends openly with the party moving towards a loose hope.

According to the director, Frank Darabont, this change was a gamble to him that could either be rewritten or reduce the budget of the movie [3]. He chose the last alternative.

The result was a real anti-climatic ending, with a shocking twist. All this gives me the impression that the change was important to the director, and should be emphasized. Why did the protagonist kill his child instead of fighting until the end like in the novella? He had fought for his child in the mall against the religious fanatic, why now kill the child himself instead? I think it is because the fog was no longer a fog of fear but a mental haze. No longer seeing any possibilities of safety or meaning for the struggle to go on. As the car runs empty of gas, so those the protagonist run empty of sense.

Doing some research on the web a lot of people disliked the ending. Some even re-editing the ending to fit the novella, and I find that fascinating.

The overall theme and meaning of the movie.
The theme of the movie seems to be the conflict between faith vs fear, idealism vs realism and rationalism vs fundamentalism. The end scene of the movie shows us something important. There was one person who did truly the right thing. The mother leaving the mall for her children.

The Mist Conclusion

I think this movie is as misanthropic as it can get. In 1hour 30 min it basically shows all the human faults that could emerge in a crisis. Xenophobia of the «out of towners», Disbelief. Lack of faith, Egotism, paranoia, fundamentalism, retrospective quarrels (what happened in the past is the genesis of new anger), bias, us-them mentality, lack of scientific ethics. And almost every single character, even the protagonist, shows powerful signs of this.

But also, and this is perhaps the most important point, it´s an entertaining horror movie about fantastical out-of-world monsters.

Blog 2.0 - If it´s wrong, then the joke will be on it after all.