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Heroes of the Zeroes: Stephen King’s The Mist

by on June 11, 2010
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Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000-2009.

“Stephen King’s The Mist”
Rated R
2007

The Weinstein Company already rolled for snake eyes and got bitten by releasing a disturbing, desolate adaptation of a Stephen King novella at Thanksgiving in 2007. No wonder Harvey and Bob balked at writer-director Frank Darabont’s preferred vision to issue his monster movie in black-and-white.

Some might brush off black-and-white as an oddity of perception: It’s not how our eyes see the world, so it can be perceived as detracting from realism. Also, it’s often equated with being old — technologically disadvantaged or of a less-exciting time.

Seek out one of the decade’s most unsung horror powerhouses on Blu-ray or DVD and learn just how this aesthetic choice made an already-good movie great. Stark black contrasts loaned greater claustrophobic force to the fragility of civilization in a tale about creatures that trap small-town denizens in a grocery, where ideology grows as deadly as the beasts.

Here, black-and-white draws the eye more to a face’s construction than its features — wrinkles and crags into which tears fall and sweat beads glisten before the last glimmer of candlelight blows out. Tension heightens, and black-and-white eliminates the wormy, pasty look of lower-rent colorized digital effects.

No matter what colors you choose, prepare to be first knocked cold and then gut-kicked with a steel-toed boot for good measure by its ending. Created by Darabont and approved by King, it’s one of the most affecting, haunting and strangely sensible the genre has ever seen. The glee of gratuitous vengeance rarely came at such a disastrously human premium.

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