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The Mist cover

Blu-ray Reviews: The Mist

Originally published in Sound and Image, Feb/March 2009, v.22#4
Last updated 8 April 2010

The Mist
2007 - Roadshow Entertainment
Director: Frank Darabont
Starring: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Andre Braugher, Toby Jones, William Sadler, Jeffrey DeMunn, Frances Sternhagen and Nathan Gamble

Movie: 4.5 Picture: 4 Sound: 4.5 Extras: 4

Stephen King has writer credits for over a hundred movies on the Internet Movie Database. The top three rated are The Shawshank Redemption (9.2/10), The Shining (8.5) and The Green Mile (8.3).

Now, let's say that you take 'The Mist', a story which remained in my memory above all others in King's 'Skeleton Crew' collection, and decide to film it. Which director should you choose? Kubrick is dead, so you'd opt for Frank Darabont, who directed the other two. As it happens, Darabont himself had wanted to do the story for many years.

This story is very different to the other two, which are both prison yarns (one with a supernatural element). Our hero goes into a supermarket to buy some groceries. A mist rolls in and people find very good reason not to leave again. This makes for some adequate special effects, a couple of reasonably exciting scenes, but mostly for a pyschological study as different people, trapped for many hours, start to line up either behind our sensible everyman Thomas Jane, or Marcia Gay Harden who is insists upon an apolcalyptic message.

But this movie truly is a horror movie. You just won't realise quite how horrific until the credits start to roll.

The movie was made to a relatively modest budget. This shows in the merely adequate CGI. I wasn't completely thrilled by the cinematography, with high contrast, artificial looking opening scenes. Indoors (which is where most of the movie take place) things are more muted. The sound is better, with the Dolby TrueHD delivering some very deep and very satisfying subwoofer kerthumps, and a reasonably immersive surround effect.

There are lots of featurettes, extended scenes and a commentary. Most impressively, you get an additional single layer Blu-ray (21.5GB, the main disc is 46.1GB) which carries only a black and white version of the movie. Some apparently like this. To me it looked like the colour version with the colour turned off. Glorious black and white movies are shot on black and white stock. This wasn't.

Running time: 98 minutes
Picture: 1.85:1, 1080p24, MPEG4 AVC @ 19.78Mbps (17.39Mbps for B&W version)
Sound: English: Dolby TrueHD 24/48 3/2.1 @ 2763kbps (Core: Dolby Digital 3/2.1 @ 640kbps); English, French: Dolby Digital 3/2.1 @ 640kbps; Commentary: Dolby Digital 2/0.0 @ 224kbps
Subtitles: English for the Hearing Impaired, Spanish
Extras: Five Featurettes (1080i60, MPEG4 AVC, DD 2.0 @ 192kbps - 86 mins); Eight Deleted and Extended Scenes (1080i60, MPEG4 AVC, DD 2.0 @ 192kbps - 15 mins); A Conversation with Stephen King and Writer/Director Frank Darabont (1080i60, MPEG4 AVC, DD 2.0 @ 192kbps - 12 mins); Three 'Webisodes' (1080i60, MPEG4 AVC, DD 2.0 @ 192kbps - 10 mins); Three Trailers (1080i60, MPEG4 AVC, DD 2.0 @ 192kbps - 7 mins); Full movie in Black and White (1080p24, MPEG4 AVC - 126 mins); Introduction to Black and White version by Frank Darabont (1080i60, MPEG4 AVC, DD 2.0 @ 192kbps - 3 mins)
Restrictions: Rated MA (Australian rating); Region Free

The following video bitrate graph was generated by BDInfo 0.5.3:

The Mist video bitrate graph

And the following is for the black and white version on Disc 2:

The Mist (Black and White) video bitrate graph

© 2002-2010, Stephen Dawson