The Mist—Dimension Films (Blu-ray)

Video: 3.5/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 3.75/5

After a mysterious mist envelopes a small New England town, a group of locals trapped in a supermarket must battle a siege of otherworldly creatures...and the fears that threaten to tear them apart.

Frank Darabont has been one of the best collaborators ever for Stephen King fans. I’ve always been a fan of King’s books but rarely care for the adaptations to the big screen. The Mist is one of King’s novellas that I’ve never read but I really enjoyed the film. It is a bit of an ode to the older style of horror films. At times it comes off slightly campy but I loved the layers the film offers. The characters are trapped in a store while a strange Mist surrounds the building and offers death to any who enter it. But inside the store fear takes over and people begin turning on each other. It creates a great dynamic and thankfully the story never pulls punches as it plays out. The film is shown in both versions, which amounts to color or black and white. Darabont wanted the film shown in black and white originally so both versions are offered.

The HD presentation is good overall with only a few issues noticed. I saw some minor blocking from time to time, but this was more evident in the black and white version than the color one. Some slight banding creeps in from time to time but thankfully it was never intrusive. Colors lean a bit toward the red side for flesh tones and have a vivid quality that can be a bit overdone early on in the film. Detail is excellent in close ups but some of the longer shots looked a bit soft. The image has a nice dimensional quality overall but falls a bit short of the better HD transfers out there.

The soundtrack is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and overall it was pretty good. The overall level is a bit lower than most tracks I’ve listened to and the dynamic range seemed a bit compressed overall. Low bass is present in the more intense sequences, but it comes off a bit loud a bloated. The score does an effective job of setting the mood but the soundstage wasn’t nearly as convincing as most of the new thrillers. Dialogue sounds natural in tone and balance and is integrated nicely into the mix. While not a bad soundtrack, it just fell a bit short for the genre.

Extras include a feature commentary with the director along with some deleted scenes. You also get a conversation piece with the director and author Stephen King. There are also plenty of behind the scenes features that look at the creation of the film including special effects, visual effects and production.

I’m really glad to see The Weinsteins coming back into the HD market. I was bummed when this one made it out on DVD but not HD. They’ve done a great job with this first outing into the Blu-ray market and the film was a solid addition to one of my favorite genres. Highly recommended.