|Directed by:||Frank Darabont|
|Written by:||Frank Darabont|
|Cast:||Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Andre Braugher, Laurie Holden, Toby Jones, William Sadler, Frances Sternhagen, Jeffrey DeMunn|
A movie that entertained me through and through with its focus on the impending doom of its characters, but one that also captivated me with its focus on human nature, and specifically how people react in unusual and life threatening circumstances. This film delivers in being a cool monster movie, with detailed and intriguing bugs, tentacles and towering machine like creatures lurking through town, creating chaos and destroying things and people one at a time. The action is pretty consistent, and when there is no action, there is always a sense of mysteriousness to the whole situation, a very apocalyptic sort of vibe that fits well. This film is also dark and mysterious, as many of the questions of the origination of the creatures is hinted at, but not entirely explained in detail. This for me works, as I was more concerned about the people stuck in the grocery store, witnessing their methods and troubles surviving, and less on what sense or logic the monsters make. This is also a film that, unlike many of the teen slashers and torture films that are gracing our theaters and video shelves, deals with more complicating and debatable issues relating to depths of the human soul, the effects of strict and one-sided religions, the existence of God, morality, decisions about life and death and the reactions to tragic state of affairs. Overall it feels like a smart horror film, one that doesn’t take the easy way home, and delivers a twist that will leaving you thinking, and maybe sick, for days! A strong cast, with many interesting and engaging characters, also helps keep things interesting, as the stories revolving around the “good” people inside proved to be good enough to really sink your teeth into.
On the flipside, sometimes the film gets too talky, but luckily the director doesn’t wait too long before moving on with another bit of action or terror. Marcia Gay Harden, for as darn good of an actress, and she does play her part skillfully here, is one of the more annoying characters you will ever see on film, and I felt the store’s trapped residents all conformed a little too easily and quickly to her outrageous religious and deceitful ways of thinking. The film, for as surprising a twist as the film delivers, does leave a lot to be desired, especially after engaging ourselves in the characters for 2+ hours!
Overall I really dug this movie, was enthralled with most of the inner workings of the grocery store, involving the people and their constant sense of panic and terror, and I was completely surprised by the gutsy ending, which leaves plenty of food for thought. I feel this is a movie that will appeal to more than just horror fans, and should be seen by anyone looking for something a bit different, as it does contain more smarts and intrigue than your typical fair. A surprise for me, and one that I feel will grow even more on me with additional viewings.