The Mist review by The Grim Ringler


Let’s admit something, if there’s a name associated with movies that is both a boon and a bane, it’s the name Stephen King,. The man will go down as one of the most prolific and highest selling authors in modern American history but is considered by most critics as a hack, yet those of us who love his work still go out and buy the books no matter what the critics say. The movies are a different matter. There have been some great adaptations (Shawshank and Cujo come to mind, and yes, I am leaving out some obvious ones there) and some dreadful ones (I am looking at you Mr. Lawnmower Man and you too Mangler), but generally speaking, we usually get decent but not great movies out of King’s work. Well, looks like Hell has frozen over ‘cause we gots us a winner with The Mist

A dangerous storm strikes rural Maine in the middle of the tourist season and suddenly the world changes. At first look, it appears that the damage, though bad, is something that can be fixed. Trees can be cut up, homes can be repaired but as far as anyone can tell, there’s been nothing permanently damaged outside of the landscape, but the truth has yet to be revealed. A local man takes his son and a neighbor with a summer house next to his own home to the store to get some supplies and starts to get the picture of how bad the storm was. The store is full of people getting supplies and passing the gossip of the storm, but as they are there, it becomes clear that the worst is not yet over. A man comes running into the store, chased by a thick, white mist. The man is bloodied and claims he witnessed another local man be taken into the mist by something and presumably killed. The store falls into panic as the mist encircles the store and takes away all visibility. No one knows what is in the mist but when several of the men try to fix a generator in the back of the building and witness a store bag-boy get attacked and dragged away by large tentacles it becomes clear that the worst is yet to come. The people in the store, unsure what to do, break into groups, lead by religion, fear, or common sense, and each group is determined to survive, whatever the cost. When one of the groups leaves to find help in the mist and doesn’t return, a local woman who has been crying that this is all divine retribution begins to make more sense and people begin to listen much more keenly to what she has to say and to do as she bids. Through the day and night more of the horrors of the mist are revealed and a small band of people realize that they must escape and take their chances outside before the religious woman and her followers turn their bloodthirsty fear towards them. So it becomes that the local man, a father who will do anything to protect his son, must lead nine people into the mist in the hope of finding safety, and willing to risk everything to find it.

The Mist, directed by Frank Darabont is one of the scariest horror films this year and stands beside 28 Weeks Later as the class of this year’s crop. Haunting, horrifying, and terribly poignant, this is the sort of old fashioned horror people cry out for but we rarely see. While I love a lot of the modern horror films, this is the sort of movie that will stick with people for a very long time. The acting is all very fine and Thomas Jane makes a terrific every-man hero. Some will believe the religious zealot, played with over the top glee by Marcia Gay Harden is pushed a bit much but for the world of this film, it works. Within the store, the world has changed. It becomes a state of near martial law where if you don’t do as you are told, you may suffer the consequences. It is a world where fear rules and the person that can prove they know something the others don’t will be the most powerful, and that means it’s the religious zealot.

For fans of horror films, it’s the creatures that will get your attention. Lovecraftian nightmares made from the parts of insects and sea creatures that are not evil, but are not of this world. These are things bent on but one thing, survival, and now that they’re in a new world, they have a whole new selection of things to eat so they can survive. The creature effects are a mix of practical (rubber and glue, to put it plainly) and digital, and they blend well to create these otherworldly things. The direction style is much more guerilla than we’re used to with Darabont and there is more use of handheld camera work. The film has a very gritty feel and look and it really helps to create a feeling of desperation and fear. Everything is shot in close ups or medium close ups so we’re in the middle of the terror, with everyone else.

This is a superlative film, and a great horror film. This is, to me, the modern Night of the Living Dead, for a lot of reasons. It’s rare you get such a good, scary film, with so much to say about the human condition and which pulls no punches. Not everyone will like this film, but everyone will be affected by it.


9 out of 10 Jackasses

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