Saturday, October 11, 2008

October 10 - The Mist [2007]

The Mist (2007)
Director: Frank Darabont
Starring: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden

The wife and I had company again last night, so again I went for something mainstream. Like Cloverfield earlier in the marathon, The Mist is a movie I've seen in a subpar format but haven't gotten around to watching on DVD. 

I have to make it clear that I'm an unashamed Stephen King geek. I've read everything he's ever written, and I've even had my photo taken outside his house in Bangor, Maine (wow, that made me sound like a stalker). So naturally I've got something of a bias when it comes to movie adaptions of his work, although I'm not as hard to please as most King fans.

The Mist is an adaption of a Stephen King novella (part of the collection The Skeleton Crew), directed by the awesome Frank Darabont. While there have been many crappy movie adaptions of King stories, prior to The Mist Darabont had already directed two top notch adaptions - The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile.

With The Mist, Darabont combines the depth of character from his two earlier King adaptions with horror in the vein of author HP Lovecraft. Like the novella, it tells the story of a group of people stuck in a supermarket as a mysterious mist rolls over their small town. They're trapped because people keep getting killed if they go into the mist... and then the monsters start to attack.

It would be easy to call The Mist a monster flick, because it contains all sorts of nasty creatures, but at its essence this movie is all about how different people react to adversity. Some choose logic over reality, refusing to admit what they see, while others look to a higher power for answers. Marcia Gay Harden is incredible here as religious nutter Mrs Carmody, who manages to convince some of the survivors that what they're experiencing is the Apocalypse. The way Mrs Carmody's followers become almost animalistic in their actions brings to mind the classic book/movie Lord of the Flies.

The special effects are sometimes impressive, sometimes average. The acting is great - Thomas Jane (The Punisher) is strong as the male antagonist, Harden (Mystic River) is extremely creepy and insane, and William Sadler (The Shawshank Redemption) does another good job for Darabont as a hick.

My only real gripe with the movie version of The Mist is the ending. It takes a lot to shock me these days, but I can honestly say the ending to this movie shocked me. Still, I would have preferred it if the movie ended at the same point as the novella - the tacked on stuff is unnecessary.

The ending aside, I thoroughly enjoyed The Mist. It's not the greatest Stephen King adaption (that would be Stand By Me), and I wouldn't rate it as highly as The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Shining or The Stand. But it's miles ahead of most of the crappy King adaptions out there, and is a very good movie in its own right.

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