Stream to Scream: “RED MIST”Fearful Features,Movies/TV,News Ken W. Hanley
As many fright fans already know, FANGORIA offers a great selection of gruesome movies, old and new, for free at our Hulu channel. To give you a better idea of what’s available, FANGORIA is taking in-depth looks at some of the channel’s terrifying titles with Stream to Scream. Today: Paddy Breathnach’s telekinetic revenge flick RED MIST.
Somehow managing to be both a low-fi PATRICK (1978) ripoff and an amalgamation of slasher, torture porn and medical horror tropes, RED MIST (a/k/a FREAKDOG) is by no means a frightening horror movie. But for what could be considered a run-of-the-mill genre hybrid, RED MIST deserves credit for moments of engaging visuals and a dedication to following its concept to the most bizarre territory. There are also a few rousing reasons for gorehounds to check the film out, if they can get past the inherent silliness of the story.
RED MIST comes from Paddy Breathnach, the Irsh director known for the psychotropic horror film SHROOMS, which also played into strange visuals and slasher film structure. Where SHROOMS became memorable from rising to its admittedly appealing conceit, RED MIST lacks both the colorful concept and the likable characters. Instead, RED MIST’s greatest advantage is playing its hand effectively enough to be watchable. Without substantial suspense, the film at least guarantees the obnoxious characters will receive bloodstained karmic justice.
From a script by Spence Wright, RED MIST runs high on its own simplicity: After a tormented social outcast is drugged into a coma, an experimental serum allows him to wreak telekinetic revenge on those involved. Obviously, PATRICK (1978) serves as the cinematic template, even if RED MIST is more mean-spirited and brutal in its execution. For horror fans, said brutality will likely be the crutch upon which the film stands on, as the strangest visuals presented and interesting character choices are still too shoddy to impress.
The horror element of the film, despite its arguable value in cathartic voyeurism, is more gruesome than it ever is scary. In fact, much of the scarier or gorier elements are left to the imagination, whether it be blurry images caught on security cameras or off-screen internal organ evisceration. Yet the actors largely help carry out the generic mechanisms which drive RED MIST, whether it be the all-too-familiar delusional naiveté or dull caricatures of their character’s particular lifestyle. That said, there are a couple of eerie moments in the film’s third act, especially once it starts heading further into SCANNERS territory.
RED MIST is too forgettable and derivative to stand on its own, but can be a fun indie discovery for those who like their horror lean, mean and unrepentant. Director Breathnach gives Spence Wright’s weak script serious consideration, even if the film ventures into weirder and conceptually weaker territory. But for those who place their appreciation for splatter over substance, RED MIST should provide enough masochistic dread to hold you over from one kill to the next.