Reviews

The Mist

3

Frank Darabont must be really pissed at George Lucas. Either that or someone ran over his dog – which may be more likely, as having an Indy script ditched doesn’t explain the thematic volte-face displayed in The Mist. Gone is The Shawshank Redemption’s soaring optimism. Cheerio comforting li’l mouse from The Green Mile. Hello big vicious crawlies that jump out of the mist and tear your skin off. And they aren’t the nastiest thing in the movie. That would be Marcia Gay Harden.

She’s a zealous, judgement-spouting nutjob who ferments trouble in a besieged supermarket where sundry townsfolk – led, in the reasonable corner, by Thomas Jane – are hiding from the perils of poor visibility and merciless arachnid-insectoid death. Darabont’s point? That the monster is inside of us – a point he underlines, emboldens and blows up in LARGE TYPE FOR THE HARD OF THINKING during a couple of the clunkier dialogue exchanges. (“You scare people badly enough you’ll get them to do anything!”).

If the escape debate sequence proves risible, it doesn’t detract from Darabont’s success. The Mist is a gripping, cruel, intense little thriller. It’s let down by some cardboard characterisation and an overblown sense of its own importance, but is still impressively scary. The film’s big misfortune is that it’s arriving in UK cinemas that are still vibrating from Cloverfield’s shaky-cam shocks: it would be a shame if audiences skipped it because they’ve had their creature feature fix. Instead of JJ Abrams and Matt Reeves’ glossy model ciphers we have staple Stephen King characters – the demented woman (Harden), geek with a twist (Toby Jones), artistic yet capable ‘everyman’ (Jane) – and Darabont keeps the pace brisk enough to mostly forgive, or at least deliberately ignore, the familiarity. You’re just waiting for the next chow-down…

The story is essentially John Carpenter’s The Fog with vicious invertebrates instead of rickety pirates – adapted, like Shawshank and Mile, from a King novella (from 1984’s horror anthology Skeleton Crew). But Darabont acknowledges his debt to Carpenter in the opening sequence: hanging in the workspace of Jane’s artist is a poster for The Thing, a nod to the dark places The Mist will envelop, particularly in the final third. It’s here that the director is particularly adept – teasing shocks and ratcheting up the tension as Jane tries to fend off the fundamentalists and escape the nasties. The Katrina and Iraq parallels may be too on-the-nose and the final beat is far from the existential hammer-blow intended, but whatever else Darabont achieves, he sure shanks redemption.

Verdict:

It's no more Mr Nice Frank, as Darabont ditches feelgood humanism for a full-blooded creature feature that's drenched in cynicism. The subtext clunks but there are enough vicious, viscous scares to satisfy.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • mallardb

      Dec 18th 2008, 15:05

      4

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    • captainchod

      Jan 29th 2009, 11:17

      4

      This could very easily have been a straight-to-DVD affair, but Darabont has crafted a well paced and engaging story. Thomas Jane needs more films like this! 4/5

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    • balearicbayes

      Mar 12th 2009, 17:06

      2

      Totally mist off with this pile of dross!!!

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    • ClockworkOwen17

      Jun 2nd 2009, 19:23

      1

      Disappointed with this movie, weak predictable plot with shoddy acting accompied by monsters that look like they have been brought in from Doctor Who.

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    • johnmoorefan

      Aug 30th 2009, 17:54

      4

      Not perfect but oozes eerie atmosphere and suspense. Most of the performances where also high quality.

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    • MrE101

      Oct 16th 2009, 14:56

      1

      Jesus! what a terrible film.... The film lost me when we saw those badly CGI'd tenticles... big mistake was showing some of the beast soo early on. they really could have played on the mist thing for longer me thinks. it was the only time in the film i felt any tension and atmosphere. i also cant stand films where all the characters do all the things you wouldnt do and its pain stakingly obvious! this film consisted of really bad decision making. for instance when the bugs land on the windows. they get every light known to man and start shining them throught the windows! and eventually someone goes " i think their attracted to the light" DUH!!! but instead of turning them off, someone starts turning on more lights!! WHY??? also amidst the attack ,the guy that takes 5minutes to light a mop only to straight away fall over in what seemed to be petrol, set himself alight and fall into newspaper stands... Please characters meet us halfway in making us slightly care for you.. its also a bit odd, how lead man didnt seem to care about his wife and was quick to replace her with some other blonde.. and what difference did it make if he was an artist or not? he might aswell have been a lumberjack! as he seemed very quick to get violent and start to want to hack things repeatedly..did any one else also notice when he started talking like batman too?? oh and the lights again! when they head out to the pharmacy, the lead guy is shining a huge light...AGAIN!! do they not learn???? acting was awfull, especially jane! and what was the point of building the neighbour relationship story, only for him just to wonder off ..could of atleast seen him die... As for the ending........ yet again... poor decision making and totally pointless.. me and mate said its one of the worst films weve seen for a while, but having said that, i did finish it, if thats anything to go by...

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    • jacoblost48

      Nov 28th 2009, 18:46

      4

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    • SamaElPrime

      Dec 15th 2009, 15:27

      4

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    • estar

      Oct 9th 2010, 5:20

      5

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