01 November 2010

Halloween 2010

Spent Halloween with JayTee, Adam and PeeKay. We had snacks, chicken dinner with mashed potato’s and watched two films, one being the 2006 film The Descent. The other was 2007's The Mist.

Kind of liked The Descent, though its not my typical genre of choice, as its gory (yet filming in low light helped conceal the blood spouting around). Its slow to start, and wondered if the beginning (the prologue if you will) would dovetail with the ending. Cause, usually there are certain aspects of characters that will be revisited later. While, to a point this did happen, I was unsatisfied with the way it was handled. Fore me, the biggest issue was keeping the characters straight. While I appreciate them casting all females in the roles (something unique for a genre such as this), I sat through the film trying to remember who they were. You eventually don’t care and it becomes a guessing game of who will survive, even as you felt they were trying to give the cast some sort of dimension, but you sort also felt that the actresses were unable to capitalize on that.

Then, sadly, the director relies on too many horror cliches such as people jumping into scenes and accidentally scaring their friend. And the scene where Juno accidentally injures Beth is totally dumb, as no one would do what Beth did.

The one thing I did like, was the ending. Yes, its depressing, yes its hopeless, but not every film needs, or should have a happy ending. My understanding, however, indicates I saw the British edition of the film, not the American. Apparently we here in the colonies cannot deal with unhappy endings.

Unhappy endings continued with The Mist, based on the Stephen Kind novella published way back in 1980. While it is a horror movie, a monster movie and a psychological thriller, at its core is typical Stephen King: what ordinary people will be driven to do under extraordinary circumstances (it also harkens back to the old Twilight Zone tale Monsters Are Due on Maple Street and William Golding’s classic novel The Lord of the Flies). The performances are solid, if not at times, stereotypical. The direction, under Frank Darabont (who also adapted King’s The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile), is well crafted with few horror cliches. The CGI work is good, and while gory (we watched it in Black & White, which according to PeeKay was the way Darabont wanted to be), it never really get gratuitous.

Now the ending, which was changed from the novella, is very depressing. King was fine with the way Darabont altered it, admitting it was better than his, and excited because it would be unsettling for the studio brass. Still the film was originally released for the Thanksgiving weekend crowd in 2007, and does not strike as fun, holiday picture with its new ending.

And it was fun to see what actor had worked with Darabont before, with William Sadler, Jeffrey DeMunn, and Brian Libby, who all appeared in Darabont's previous King adaptations (DeMunn would also appear in another King story, The Storm of the Century).

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