I guess it’s safe to say that, as the saying goes, there are no original stories left–just new ways to tell them. Red Mist (or Freakdog, as it is known in its native U.K.) would be an example of that old saying. That isn’t to say that Red Mist is not entertaining, though–because it is, and if you’re looking for a good bloody way to kill an hour-and-a-half without having to think a whole lot (or at all), this flick will do just fine.
The story starts out all sorts of I Know What You Did Last Summer-y with a group of medical students (led by top-billed Arielle Kebbel as Cat) going out one night to get wasted via alcohol and stolen medications. Unbeknownst to the naïve but decidedly Neve Campbell-esque Cat, she has an admirer: a creepy cutter janitor by the name of Kenneth (Andrew Lee Potts). Kenneth follows Cat and crew to the bar and, when they throw him out for being slow in the head (not to mention creepy), Cat’s naïveté comes-a-callin’–trying to convince her stuck-up friends to leave the poor guy be.
Of course, they can’t let Kenneth be, now can they? No, instead, the others (Sarah Carter, Alex Wyndham, Katie McGrath, Christina Chong, Michael Jibson, and the Josh Hartnett/Bruno Kirby hybrid, Martin Compston) taunt Kenneth continuously, and when the epileptic janitor (yes, he’s that, too.) reveals evidence as to who did steal the hospital pharmacy’s drugs, they decide to be nice to him.
Of course, these dipshits can’t be nice, either, can they? No, poor Kenneth soon learns the hard way that you don’t party with med students, when they bombard him with a near-lethal concoction of alcohol and pharmaceuticals via a funnel. After hours, at that, the naughty little bastards.
Within a few moments, Kenneth is having an epileptic seizure, which everyone seems hesitant about helping him over (damn HMOs), and, fearful of their future careers as butchers in the medical field, the young Hitlers drop him off at the ER.
Are you following this still? ‘Cuz it gets better. Honest.
Guilt-ridden over her inability to stand up against her colleagues, Cat ignores the advice of the kindly Dr. Stegman (Michael J. Reynolds) and injects Coma Kenneth with some Phase I drugs to try to bring him out of his unwanted slumber. Bad move, really, because it doesn’t cure him as much as it turns him into a mental murderer in the tradition of Patrick and Psychic Killer. Nice going, Cat–you move up to the head of the class for that one.
Anchor Bay brings us the American home video debut of the Queens Film Festival favorite Red Mist in a rather pale-looking 1.78:1 transfer that’s anamorphic and rather grainy at times. That said, I’ve seen worse. The movie is given a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround for the DVD that, in the long run, doesn’t do a whole lot unless you crank it up and pretend that it’s Stereo Surround instead. English Subtitles (SDH) are included for those of you who have trouble understanding the British actors and actresses trying to pass off as Americans (the movie was shot in Northern Ireland, incidentally, but disguised as the States).
Special Features on this release include the featurettes "The Making Of Red Mist" (20:46), which interviews many of the cast and crew; an Extended Interview With Arielle Kebbel (9:22); and "The Red Mist Cast In Northern Ireland" (4:22), which comes off resembling a travel brochure more than anything.
While I didn’t find it as bad as a lot of people have been saying (it’s certainly better than most American horror films of late–I’ll give it that), Red Mist really doesn’t have anything groundbreaking going for it, either.
Best recommended as a method for keeping bored medical students from partying it up and stealing meds. Don’t steal, kids–it’s bad.
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