It is shocking how similar producer JJ Abrahms latest offering is to The Mist. Both feature strange creature of varying sizes and mysterious origins. Both have scenes where people are in a grocery store with a cloud on the outside. Both set up everything you need to know about the characters through simplistic devices in about 10 minutes. And both weren’t as good as I thought they’d be. However this is the better of the two films and the reason is that I think the attempt at social commentary in this one works. The whole thing is filmed by one of the participants and no one really ever seems to question why the guy has a camera rolling for 7 hours – obviously it’s for YouTube…at first, and then it become citizen journalism. You have a couple other shots of people using their cell phones ect to record moments as well but this guy is what Time’s person of the year par excellance (2006, not Putin). But it also doesn’t beat you over the head with this, its just interwoven into the plot - this is not a film that takes itself seriously enough to atempt that.
Of course the acting is crap (esp the girl in trouble who’s sobbing in the last 20 minutes is annoying) and some character motivations are absurd, but it’s a giant creature movie…who cares. There are also times when the action drags a little too long in slowdown mode mostly toward the end of the film but the big action scenes – especially a night vision (it’s a really cool camera) escape from alien spider type things in a subway tunnel - are fairly pulse pounding. The creatures are CGed pretty effectively actually – much better than those in many recent films and I let out a yelp at one point. But over all it’s the migraine inducing action and sound that make this a fairly effective monster mash. This is something you have to see in the theater otherwise its probably not worth it at all, but try not to sit in the first 10 rows or so.