This essay is analysing an extract from ‘The mist’ which is based on Stephan king’s novella. The film was made in 2007 and directed by Frank Darabont. The film is about a mist which infects a small town in America which releases multiple creatures from another dimension and challenges the survival of the human species. Even though this film is classed as a horror, the film focuses on the human reaction towards a threat to their survival rather than the creatures themselves. The extract starts at 1:53:10 and ends at 1:56:30.
The beginning of the extract reveals a boy sleeping and stranded in a car. ‘David Drayton’ (Thomas Jane) his father, is about to make the ultimate sacrifice, armed with a small handgun with only four bullets he is about to end the suffering of all in the car. The camera shot is a close-up and captures the fear infecting his son’s eyes. His son awakens from his sleep and stares right at David. The viewers don’t see the gun being pointed towards his son but the way his eyes are so infixed towards his father (figure 1) gives the audience the idea of it. This part of the scene leaves it to the audience imagination of how David, the father, is pointing the gun towards his son. the sound of David taking a deep breath is then heard implying he’s aiming and ready to shoot the gun. The camera pans back out of the car to an exterior view of the car and four shots ring out, flashes are seen through the windows as the bullets fire, this being the only lighting visible in the mist (figure 2). The camera pans back into the car into a medium shot of David screaming in pure, raw agony with blood splattered across his face. On the right side of the frame is the aftermath of the shooting, the background is blurred but the shot gives the viewer enough detail to make out that it was a headshot due to the blood being spread out behind his head (figure 3). The camera quickly zooms into a close-up as David attempts to commit suicide, but all bullets have already been fired and his face tells a story of its own, the loss of hope and will to live is expressed in the way he pulls the trigger multiple times despite knowing all bullets have been fired.
David stumbles out of the car devastated and streaked with blood spatter, the camera shot stays inside the car as David steps out and screams “come on!” as he wants the creatures to take him. David looks back into the car, staring towards his son. the camera shot is another medium shot but this time showing the mist in all its glory. David is surrounded by this mist and gives the viewer a sense of isolation towards the protagonist (figure 4), this may also imply, is he shouting, “come on!” to the mist instead of the creatures due to the mist no longer being a fog of fear but a mental haze. David no longer sees any possibilities of safety or any reason to go on. As the car runs empty, David has now run empty of sense, which has led to these events. David goes on to shake the car and continuously shout “come on!” but not to the mist, towards his son. The camera shot this time catching the aftermath of his son’s side of the car, again, the imagination of the viewer is a major factor as only the top of a head is seen leaning across the window (figure 5).
The sound of the creatures continuously gets louder and closer during the scene. David turns his attention to the creatures, again reverting to shouting, “come on!” as the sounds get louder and slowly gets closer, but nothing is visible. The camera switches to behind David revealing what his view of the mist is, with the only lighting being of the car headlights plus, the damage that has occurred to the car which not only shows the chaos of what the mist has created but also symbolises the state of David, how he has lost control and is dead inside. (figure 6). Again, the camera switches to the other side of the car but the right side of the frame is blurred, and the only focus is a small gap which catches the emotion of David, shouting “come on!” endlessly while he is on the edge of losing his sanity. His anger fades into sadness as the camera switches to a close-up as he starts to weep. His emotions then go from sadness to confused as the first bit of music we hear in this scene starts to intensify making the viewer wonder if David is about to be claimed by the creatures. The music intensifies and fits in with the way David’s eyes slowly widen. The camera shot then cuts back to the medium shot behind David and slowly pans to the right to reveal a tank which creeps out of the mist with soldiers in gas masks on either flank. The camera pans up to a high angle to bring the element of isolation towards David as the soldiers are now the protagonists and are of higher power (figure 7). The non-diegetic sound of the haunting song (the host of Seraphim) that plays over the events suits the scene because it plays with the audience’s emotions, are we rooting for the rescuers or sad for David? the element of surprise doesn’t give the audience a chance to decide. The diegetic sound of the tire tracks become louder as the tank comes into the frame which makes the viewer wonder if the sound of the creatures was the tire tracks getting closer.
A convoy of more tanks and soldier’s role by as David watches with shock, in their wake the mist is thinning while trucks pass by carrying survivors. The camera switches to a blurred POV shot which implies David’s confusion and lack of sanity, the camera goes into focus and a woman stares into the camera blankly as the convoy rolls by (figure 8), as the viewer you feel betrayed by David because, at the beginning of the movie he refused to help her, this is a clear visual to the power of faith as she went out into the mist to save her children. The camera is now a medium shot of David, his reaction of surprise is clear. Another POV shot reveals how easily the soldiers are killing the creatures, the soldiers are using flamethrowers and killing the creatures with ease the camera pans back to David who is taking it all in and loses it, he falls to his knees and screams as he comes to terms with the terrible consequences of his actions. The camera pans from low to high representing his loss of control and power.
Overall, the ending scene of this movie is fascinating and traumatic, it leaves the audience thinking. Stephan King himself loved the ending even though its different to his novella., King stated, ” there should be a law passed stating that anybody who reveals the last five minutes of this film should be hung from their neck until dead.” it’s abandoning hope, a rejection of the fading idealism that had got them so far that ultimately served as the final nail in their collective coffin.