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Stephen King's THE MIST (2007, Frank Darabont)

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  • Stephen King's THE MIST (2007, Frank Darabont)

    Frank Darabont's third (and least) Stephen King adaptation (SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, GREEN MILE). A very simple premise where a bunch of small town folks get trapped in a grocery store as an ominous mist engulfs the area. Taking place in King's favorite mythical locale, Castle Rock, Maine, it's sort of the author's take on John Carpenter's The Fog except with primordial beasts instead of ghosts (there are also nods to the original ALIEN and Carpenter's THE THING).

    The townsfolk immediately break into factions which displays King and Darabont's dim view of humanity, all the while laying waste to the old axiom that tragedy brings out the best in people. The main characters are David (Thomas Jane) and son (Nathan Gamble), his neighbor (Andre Braugher), a store clerk (Toby Jones), and a friendly schoolteacher named Amanda (Laurie Holden).

    The early scenes where the terror is revealed are the best. The mechanical and visual effects work fine. The gore and grue are suitably icky. Cinematographer Rohn Schmidt captures it with lots of hand-held to put the viewer in the scene and Mark Ishams's score is effective. As long as it remains a creature feature it's fine. Unfortunately, the screenplay puts far too much emphasis on Marcia Gay Harden's Mrs. Carmody: a hecktoring zealous Christian stereotype. Harden's performance is fully committed, but Darabond's script and direction allows the character to bellow and scream so much as to become cartoonish. A little subtely would have gone a long way not only in making Mrs. Carmody less annoying, but also allowing for some extra story layers where the characters weren't simply all black or white.

    The biggest change from King's novella is the ending. It does have some impact even if the film itself doesn't truly earn it. THE MIST is a mixed bag in the end.


    The way the film plays out allows one to argue that the remaining followers of Mrs. Carmody quite possibly survived at the end -- making the finale that much more darkly ironic. The only thing that could have make it bleaker would have for those survivors to have been in one of the jeeps driving by at the fadeout. I don't think that Darabont had that in mind when he wrote and directed -- thoughts?

    THE MIST is currently available to stream on Peacock and Fubu and for rental. It's on DVD, Blu Ray and 4K UHD.

    Click image for larger version

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  • #2
    I hadn't thought about that with the ending. Reminds me of Night Of The Living Dead where if they listened to the stupid rednecks and hid in the basement rather than following the hero and trying to protect the house they would have survived. It would indeed have been a nice touch the Carmody group had been in the convoy.
    "Never let the fact that they are doing it wrong stop you from doing it right." Hyman Mandell.


    • #3
      The Mist is one of my favourite King short stories, so I knew it was likely not going to live up to my expectations. I found parts of it very good, others not so much. And agreed, that ending is pretty powerful, but at the end of a perfect adaptation, it would have been mind-blowing.


      • #4
        I don't revisit this one often because of the Mrs. Carmody character. You have to wait too long for her comeuppance.
        Why would anybody watch a scum show like Videodrome? Why did you watch it, Max?


        • #5
          Originally posted by Mark Tolch View Post
          And agreed, that ending is pretty powerful, but at the end of a perfect adaptation, it would have been mind-blowing.