The Mist Review
Country : USA
Running Time:127 minutes
Distributor: Metro Goldwyn Mayer/Lions Gate
A mysterious mist envelopes a small Maine town, but for the survivors shut into a local grocery story, the terror is just beginning....
Writen and Directed by Frank Darabont. Based upon a novella by Stephen King.. Starring Thomas Jane, Lauren Holden, Andre Braugher, Toby Jones, Marcia Gay Harden, Nathan Gamble, Chris Owen and Frances Sternhagen.
Much like The Stand, which was finally made into a highly successful 1994 television miniseries, The Mist is one of those Stephen King projects which has begged for cinematic treatment for over twenty years. A novella which first appeared in 1980's Dark Forces compilation of various authors, The Mist became a King staple with its inclusion in his 1985 Skeleton Crew collection. Frank Darabont, who scripted and directed King's The Green Mile seven years ago, repeats both tasks here, so you know you're in good hands.
The tale begins in a quiet Maine town after a stormy night which has created a power loss. David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his young son Billy (Nathan Gamble) drive into town to purchase nececities; along for the ride is neighbor Brent (Andre Braugher), whose relationship with the Draytons seems to have had some low points, but perhaps they're healing. Along the ride, numerous military vehicles scurry in the oncoming lane. And once Drayton's group arrives at "The Food House," a local grocer, things intensify.
Inside the Food House, a gaggle of townspeople are attempting to purchase staple foods, while the widespread power outage relegates all to cash or checkbook. A sudden panicked entrance from a villager (Jeffrey Demunn), who is bloodied and insistent that "there's something in the mist!" and the seeds for panic are sown. An intrepid group, including Drayton, enters the stock room in back and, after foolishly opening a receiving door, inadvertantly invites stranges tentacles to terrorize them and to bloodily claim a bag boy victim (Chris Owen). With the door now shut, it's up to these guys to convince the confused other shoppers what has happened, though they're slow to believe it as well, since the evidence in the stock room has now decomposed.
Ever mindful of his young son, Drayton entrusts him to the care of Amanda (Laurie Holden), while he and the other survivors venture out into mist to a next-door pharmacy, where they can find medicines for the wounded. Also onhand is Ollie (Toby Jones), a mild-mannered assistant manager who rises to the occasion. Reaching the pharmacy, the find the medications they seek, but at a heavy casualty cost for their search party. Back in the grocery outlet, tempers are becoming more frayed. Local religious fanatic Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden), in an insulting Christian stereotype, is preaching some of the survivors into a frenzy about the end of times. More people die, and Drayton is convinced that the key to salvation is to flee the Food House and drive to somewhere the mist has not touched. Problem is, getting to a vehicle is a testy venture, and how can you even get that far when Mrs. Carmody is guarding the door, waiting for her Armageddon alongside her now-converted faithful congregation?
Once the invetiable confrontation between the rational and the obsessed takes place, a handful of good guys head out into the mist for Drayton's SUV. Not all even make it to the vehicle, if that's a clue how menacing these beasts are. Once secure inside the vehicle, the survivors take off slowly, with all lights blazing, into an unknown future as the remainder left at the Food House await their own fate. The haunting, ambient track "The Host Of Seraphim" by Dead Can Dance is heard during this revalatory sequence, adding a further eerie quality. And taking a deviation from King's own story, Darabont adds a coda which plumbs heretofore uncharted depths of fucked-up-ness.
You'll want a shower after watching The Mist. God knows I did, but I was too wrung out to take one. That's the mark of a good horror movie, by the way. Regardless of how you view the conclusion, you can't deny that Darabont has once again nailed a Stephen King novel. The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile were the first indications. The Mist should cement the deal.
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Review by Petch Lucas, for Pitofhorror.com