“There’s something in the mist….”
Frank Darabont adapts a Stephen King story for the fourth time with 2007’s The Mist. Darabont already did The Woman In The Room, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Green Mile, but this was the first time that Darabont tackled a full blown tale of terror from King. With amazing performances from the likes of Thomas Jane, Andre Braugher, Marcia Gay Harden, and Toby Jones, it’s no wonder that this film is so amazing. Top it all off with four future members of the cast of The Walking Dead and that show’s make-up supervisor, and you’ve got the perfect storm for a great film.
In the film, a powerful storm blows through a small town in Maine. David and Stephanie Drayton and their son, Billy, assess the damage to their home and David and Billy head into town for supplies. Along for the ride is their occasional neighbor, Brent, an attorney who has had a number of run-ins with David in the past. While all of this is happening, a mysterious and thick mist rolls across the small town and the surrounding areas. While in the grocery store, David, Billy, and Brent become trapped inside the building after the mist covers everything and everyone. Alarms sound, screams and roars are heard, and a small group of store employees and patrons hunker down to battle an unseen enemy. As the day grows long, factions begin to form throughout the group. Brent heads up one of these factions, the “Outsiders,” made up of vacationers and visitors from out of town. Mrs. Carmody, a local religious fanatic, begins to make proclamations and prophecies about what is happening and quickly forms another, more bloodthirsty group. A third group headed up by David also forms. It features level-headed members of the local community and a few of the store employees. Brent’s group heads out into the fog, hoping to find help. Carmody’s group seeks out sacrifices to the beasts and turns on David’s group. David and his faction make a desperate attempt at escape. Who lives? Who dies? Who are what are the real monsters in The Mist? Watch it to find out what happens!
Darabont does an amazing job of showing us just how quickly humanity can spiral out of control. The people in the store initially help one another fight off the beasts that attempt to kill them but quickly turn on one another. All of this is delivered in a chaotic fashion that only adds to the suspense and terror of the film. The CGI creatures look pretty good, but Nicotero’s practical effects really shine in this film. Thankfully the mist manages to hide many of the shortcomings of the CGI.
The cast is amazing. Everyone delivers an amazing performance. Thomas Jane carries the film as David, but he gets a ton of support from Andre Braugher, Sam Witwer, Alexa Davalos, Toby Jones, Frances Sternhagen, and many others. Marcia Gay Harden steals every scene that she appears in as her character, Mrs. Carmody, embraces her divine destiny as the leader of religious zealots. Rounding out the brilliant cast are four future castmates from The Walking Dead. Laurie Holden and Jeffrey DeMunn have prominent roles in the film and it also features Juan Gabriel Pareja and Melissa McBride in small roles. McBride is of special note, as her character is only on the screen for a few minutes but they are very powerful minutes.
This film’s ending is brutal. I won’t spoil it here, but do know that if you’ve read Stephen King’s novella, Darabont took some major liberties with the film adaptation. In fact, King loves the ending that Darabont used in the film. The first time I saw it, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s simply wonderful.
This is definitely one of my favorite Stephen King adaptations. The story is interesting, paced extremely well, and shows us all that the worst monsters in the world are actually folks that look just like you and me. Be sure to check out the madness that is The Mist.
Thanks for checking out my review! See you again soon!