Mist, The

Partly cloudy with a 98% chance of horror

Fans of the horror genre have had to swallow more than their fair share of garbage over the years. After the ‘80s slasher flick explosion, we were treated to an onslaught of dreadful vampire movies, degrading spoofs, and ‘torture porn' horror like "Hostel" and "Saw." Don't even get me started on J-horror (Japanese horror, aka "The Ring" and "The Grudge").

Finally the horror film returns to its roots with Stephen King's "The Mist." Perhaps the biggest factor in what sets this film apart from so many other horror movies is its director. Frank Darabont collaborated with Stephen King on "The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Green Mile." Now the writer / director captures King's darker side with "The Mist," which is based off a short novella King included in his 1985 collection Skeleton Crew.

At its heart, "The Mist" is an old school B horror movie in the vein of influences such as "Night of the Living Dead" and "The Thing from Another World." It is a truly creepy film that will continually pull you in deeper, leading you through progressively darker territory as the movie's 127-minute length reaches its terrifying, shocking conclusion.

Thomas Jane ("The Punisher") plays David Drayton, a commercial artist living off the coast of Maine. During a sudden, powerful storm, a tree is ripped from the ground and sent through Drayton's living room window, destroying his latest work of art and unsettling his entire family.

The next morning, when he takes his son, Billy (Nathan Gamble), into town to buy groceries and supplies, a mysterious murky fog rolls across the water heading for land and engulfing everything in sight.

Soon David and his son are trapped in the grocery store as all communications to the outside world have been cut. The mist has knocked out electricity, radios, and telephones - leaving the small band of shoppers to resort to primitive means of survival.

What is the source of this mysterious mist? A pollution cloud caused by a chemical explosion at the nearby mill? Or is it, as one fanatically religious shopper says, "Death"?

Apparently the mist contains several things, and all of them bring nothing but death. First there are the tentacles. And I'm not talking baby calamari - I'm talking giant, unearthly tentacles that look like they belong to some giant sea creature. Then there's the creepy insects, the giant spiders, four-winged ptero-bat monsters, crab creatures - well, you see what I'm saying. Going into the mist never turns out well for anybody.

Inside the store is a whole other horrifying situation with sides being taken over what to do. Drayton and the other shoppers who have experienced the phenomena first-hand try to explain what they've seen, where as the other side is led by Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden), that religious nut case I mentioned earlier. She believes it is the end of days, and makes countless parallels to the Book of Revelation and the events taking place. She's so fanatical, she wants to sacrifice someone in order to satiate her vengeful God's hunger for righteousness.

I'll leave the film's big thrills and shocks to be discovered by you. What I will say is that "The Mist" truly captures the essence of reading a Stephen King novel. I imagine many critics will poorly rate this film, probably as a result of them simply not "getting it." King's societal brand of horror is filled with dark humor and multi-dimensional characters that have a soul of their own.

Thomas Jane and Marcia Gay Harden give amazing performances in their roles of bringing these characters to life, and the special effects take me back to simpler times - keeping the spirit of the B movies that paved the way for its computer-generated effects.

Not since films like "Alien" and "The Thing" have I been so scared and satisfied by a horror film. "The Mist" is an awesome experience, and any fan of the genre seeking a throat-gripping, spine-chilling piece of cinema should head immediately to the theater to catch this one.

"The Mist" wraps up with perhaps one of the greatest finales to a horror movie I've ever seen. For those who have given up on being scared, this great flick will rejuvenate your faith in a genre that has been on its death bed for quite some time.
Reviewed by: adam
2 Comment(s)
Paul said...
I agree completely with this review. This movie was emotional, suspenseful, creative, beautiful and of course well acted.

I agree with the comparison to Alien and The Thing. I had the feeling from this movie of The Thing meets Cloverfield...in other words, an instant classic.

If I had one complaint, which I guess I do, would be the ending. I had the feeling from the ending (which I won't spoil), that it would have been more suited for a book ending than a movie ending...and I'm not sure if that even makes sense! Come to hear that the ending of the book is actually different, hah! However, it makes me want to pick up this as well as other Stephen King works.
Jenl said...
Ok. So I am admittedly not a fan of horror, but I give props to Stephen King as a master storyteller...

If you rank a movie by the emotional reaction it invokes, this one is off-the-charts-awesome. But OMG, I never want to experience the emotion of that horrid ending EVER AGAIN.

Thing is...I read this book back in the day, but I can't remember the ending at all. Movie ending? I doubt I'll be able to scrub it out of my head...