After a huge storm, Stephen King and his son, had taken a trip into , town to pick up some supplies. He was looking for some hotdog buns, when he suddenly has an image in his head of a “big prehistoric flying reptile” flapping around in the store. By the time he had checked out, he had the outline of the short story called the Mist. The Story of a group of people trapped inside a supermarket, is a dark and disturbing look into the human psyche. A disturbing mist sweeps over a little town. Within it’s shroud, are dangerous creatures, that are not of our world. It’s a story of survival and fear. One that will stick with your for a very long time to come.
Director Frank Darabont first read Stephen King’s novella in the 1980’s and had wanted to direct it as his debut directorial film, however, that debut went to The Shawshank Redemption, another one of kings Short stories, and then followed that up with king’s The Green Mile. It wasn’t and until 2004 that he had started writing the screen play. As with his previous films Darabont takes Kings material and weaves it into a shroud of emotions for the audience. The Mist is by no means as powerfully written as Shawshank, nor does it have the emotional pull of the Mile. The Mist takes a more sadistic take on things, twisting our heart and soul and spitting out the rest. It’s hard, cold and hopeless. But that does not make it a bad film, completely opposite. It is an epic journey, just one that goes to a darker place.
The morning after a violent thunderstorm, David Drayton and his son head into town to pick up supplies, only to become trapped inside a supermarket by a mysterious Mist. It is within this supermarket in which we spend most of our time. One of the Mist strongest points is it’s characterization, and it’s within this building that we meet a whole host of different and interesting characters. From Norm the Bag-boy to Ollie Weeks, the assistant manager. The large cast keeps the film flowing and interesting. Any Darabont aficionado will pleased to William Sadler and Jeffrey DeMunn with large roles, having starred in all his previous films. Also, Laurie Holden and Melissa McBride who would later join Darabont’s The Walking Dead. Top billing goes to Thomas Jane, who pulls of a fantastic performance , and most probably one of his toughest roles emotionally. The entire cast is brilliant and each and every one contributes to build the tension.
Like any good creature feature, The Mist deliverers with plenty of different monsters roaming around, from tiny spiders to humongous beats. Part of me wishes he had gone through with his original plan, as a completely CGI free film could have been something quite spectacular. However, being a child or modern film making, The mist is filled with CG effects, from the creatures to the actual mist. However, i don’t believe this ruins the film in anyway. For most part, the creatures are hidden behind a wall of thick mist, represented only by a ominous silhouettes. The creatures we do see, are all very unique indeed, with a mix of insect and prehistoric monstrosities causing havoc for the scared survivors. I remember reading the last few pages of Kings story, and it described seeing giant legs crashing down from high above. Legs that went up so high that no one could see where they ended. The film delivered on this creature, only we see more than I wanted to. I loved the idea of not seeing what it was, it made it more scary. Yes they are a few creatures we don’t see, but I just wish there were more moments like this.
The interesting thing about The Mist, is that the creatures are almost incidental. They are the reason the survivors are trapped and the source of a building threat. However, it is within the very ranks of the survivors that the real threat lies. As Hope is slowly lost, Fear, anger and faith take over. The religious beliefs of a few spread like wildfire, and it’s not long before this cult like paranoia has spread throughout the entire group. It’s hard to imagine that one person can influence people in such a manor, but history has taught us that it does happen. Charles Manson influenced his commune to commit several murders and Jim Jones convinced nine hundred of his follows to commit suicide. These examples of brainwashing show just how social influence can effect us, and make the events of The Mist all more terrifying, because you know that the social breakdown the film depicts, could happen. The films antagonist Mrs. Carmody, believes that she is chosen to lead the people to salvation, and as the events unfold, the survivors gravitate towards her, with hope of salvation. With the power she holds over her “followers” , her influence and request become more and more deranged.
The Score is also fantastic , and whilst it’ s use is minimal through out, the serene and atmospheric music is layered with all sorts of lovely things. Funnily enough, a lot of it sounds like something that would not be out of place of a silent hill game. The master piece of the film, is the use of the operatic “The Host of Seraphim” by the band Dead Can Dance. The song plays out near the end like a swan song for the human race, and it’s gently and haunting sounds is laid over visions of horror and destruction, beyond our compression. Of course, the most powerful tool here is silence, and sometimes, that is more haunting and effective than any piece of music and Darabont uses it effectively through out.
The mist is a brilliant film. I think the only realm saw point for me is the camera work. I’m not sure if it’s an actual camera move or if it’s done in post, but there is this odd zooming camera move, that zooms quickly on people, that just feels out of place. It’s like something you might see on a cheap budget “Shaky Cam” film, or on a budget sit com. It’s just odd and it totally broke the illusion for me.
The Mists will take you on an amazing yet disturbing journey Whilst the story of survival is one of hope, The Mist ending, written for the screen by Darabont, leaves us completely cold. It’s hard to watch and even harder to forget.
- Overall Score 70% 70%