Mist, the - Little in the Mist
| Oh Frank Darabont, how far youíve fallen. After directing the masterful The Shawshank Redemption you followed it up with another Stephen King adaptation The Green Mile which was a sappy fiasco. Then you deviated from King to bring us The Majestic which was so sticky sweet gross that it made The Green Mile seem like a serious masterpiece. Now you are back with The Mist, another Stephen King adaptation and youíve switched gears entirely. At least there is little sweet about this one, but it seems to have confirmed that Shawshank was a fluke.
The Mist is B-movie all the way, from the terrible special effects to the horrible ham acting to the ridiculous dialogue (ďthat car was cherryĒ) everything about The Mist is second, or even third, rate. Even the horribly manipulative Majestic had a class to it. Darabont seems to have thrown any semblance of class out the window with this take. Itís too bad too. A B-movie doesnít have to be poorly made. Take Tremors for example, a great little film that takes its silly concept and turns it into something thatís a lot of fun. In The Mist, no one believes they are doing anything worth while and it shows. They cast Thomas Jane for crying out loud. You canít get more C-list than that.
However, all is not lost in The Mist. For me Stephen King is hit or miss and this story is more hit than miss. Itís the tale of survival when a stranded group is left without knowledge of whatís threatening them or how to overcome it. The fear and paranoia are interesting and the story refuses to shy away from it. Difficult things happen and the characters have to react. They are faced with brutality and insanity and itís disturbing. The film actually gets to a place where it makes us confront some very real, dark fears. Too bad it has to do so with such weak writing and acting. At least the audience gets there even if the actors on the screen rarely do.
The one exception to this is Marcia Gay Harden who is always strong and brings such a believable, and in no way silly, lunacy to her villain. She is chillingly frightening and her brand of brimstone is one of the real evils in the world. She brings this vividly to life.
The brave ending is a strong example of how the film isnít afraid to deal with the really dark bits. So many flicks like this never touch on the real horror of disaster and this film looks it right in the eye. It does so with cheesey dialogue and lousy special effects but at least it does it.
The Mist probably could have been something more. It probably could have overcome its monster movie limitations if the film makers had believed enough in it to make us believe there was something out there in the mist.