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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've been a member of IMDb for many years now and rarely do I take the
time to comment on a film. In addition, I watch, on average, about
10-15 films a month, split among all genres including horror. Lately
though, I've been very disenfranchised with most horror films
especially with the proliferation of shock/gore/splatter/torture-porn
films such as Hostel 2, The latest Saw film, Captivity, etc. Enter "The
Mist" and I leave the theater saying to myself "this is why I go see
Frank Darabont should be the only one adapting Steven King novels and short stories...period. He brings a human balance that's missing in most horror films these days. You can have the most unbelievable, and maybe even the most ludicrous, situations and events, but if you make the characters believable and further peel the layers to expose fear, prejudices and vulnerability then you have the foundations towards making an effective film. I was absolutely gripped during the entire film, and that all-too-rare-these-days sense of dread permeates through almost every scene and left me emotionally exhausted at the end. And speaking of the ending, isn't that what almost everyone is talking about? I'm not going to give anything away, but in my opinion, I loved it. I can see why it can split into camps of "loved it"/"didn't like it" but for me it was a great conclusion to the entire storyline of the human condition. I wouldn't have changed a thing.
On first impressions The Mist doesn't remotely seem like the kind of
film anyone should be excited about. The Mist, what? A bit like The
Fog, then. Stephen King's The Mist, oh, that makes it even worse.
Directed by Frank Darabont, since when did he direct horror films?
Okay, so he scripted Nightmare on Elm Street 3 and The Blob, not bad
films, but not classics in any sense. Starring Thomas Jane, has anyone
seen The Punisher. And, to cap it all, The Mist died a quick death at
the US box office. It'll probably go straight to DVD in the UK.
The only reason I bought and watched the film was on a recommendation from a friend. He pleaded: "You have to see this film. You won't believe how good it is." So I put his judgement to the test.
And thank God. This is a great horror film. From the opening scene, Darabont sets a tone that's creepy, sinister and beautifully judged. The script is realistic, the character are believable and the direction... Darabont has almost reinvented himself. The Mist is dark, scary and even funny (intentionally). You care about the characters, the scary scenes are scary, and the whole film is carried off with an efficiency, a lack of pretension and a strong idea of what makes a good, if not great, horror film.
And the ending... how dark can you get? I can understand why this didn't do well at the box office. But neither did Shawshank Redemption...
Let me take a breath... Never have I had such a visceral physical
reaction to a film... ever. Not even with Elem Klimov's Come and See.
In the last fifteen minutes I was nearly physically paralyzed, and then
started shaking, realizing how numb my body was... and I am dead
serious. Frank Darabont's adaptation of Stephen King's novella goes
heads above a 50s/60s monster movie homage. This is grade "A" chilling,
terrifying, unsettling and utterly hopeless cinema in line with the
most cynical and depressing classics from the 70s. The Mist itself and
the monsters it brings are just the appetizer here. As all good horror
should be, this explores the ultimate enemy, ourselves. In short one of
the most beautiful, thrilling and terrible times I've had at the
To elaborate, it isn't a pitch perfect film... Some of the CGI at the beginning is weak, and there are a few lines that can't escape the genre, but other than that this is a home run in every department - The performances (especially from Toby Jones and Marcia Gay Harden), the ingenious hand held camera, which is never used as a gimmick. The sound design, the lack of an underscore... This lends to the great atmosphere and tension Darabont builds. I'm sure you can guess by now this isn't schmaltzy, sentimental Darabont here; this is an angry, maniacal man that rears his head and shouts, "Everything is lost!" and then shoots you in the gut. Any fan of Stephen King, The Twilight Zone or Ray Bradbury, will greedily devour this with a great big grin on their face, then feel very sick but so damn happy and then throw up. Best film of the year yet.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
While the cast and crew of "The Mist" will herald the Weinstein
Brothers at press junkets and the like, the producing duo has made
2007's most refreshingly original horror films ("Grindhouse,"
"Halloween") sacrificial lambs to fright-unfriendly weekends (there's a
good article on this at Dread Central.com). And while "The Mist"
certainly commands a 30-foot screen, maybe its best possible fate lies
on DVD, where viewers with surround sound and a widescreen TV can live
the horrific, harrowing experience without the distraction of an
audience too dumb to decipher their ticket stubs.
"What's wrong with Stephen King?!" one member asked at the climax of "The Mist," certain he had made an alternately incisive and hilarious comment. To which I thought, "Had you actually read the novella, clod, you'd know that King ended on an (almost) upbeat note." With home entertainment fast becoming the industry standard, I guess the expectation of a tactful audience is beyond reason anymore.
Despite the running commentary, I was able to see the treasure most of the room missed out on. As a novella, "The Mist" islike most of King's workpulpy, scary, and compelling. The film, written and directed by Frank Darabont, is a stunning adaptation that manages to capture the slow burn of dread and desperation that permeates the novella. And while there is an uncanny titular similarity to John Carpenter's "The Fog," this is an altogether different beast.
The setup is simple: after a brutal storm whips through a small Maine community, movie poster artist David Drayton (Thomas Jane"Dreamcatcher") and his son, Bill (Nathan Gamble) head into town for supplies, accompanied by Norton (Andre Braugher), their next-door neighbor. Once they arrive at a small shopping plaza, a shear mist encroaches upon them, trapping a large number of people inside a grocery store. The utter randomness of this scenario is enough to make one's skin crawl, but it turns out there are prehistoric-looking monsters waiting in the mist. And the inhabitants of the store become increasingly desperate for survival.
(At this juncture, I will apologize in advance for the upcoming comparisons to "Night of the Living Dead," due to the sheer quantity of mentions.)
What follows has a lot of thematic parallels to George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead," a B movie whose guerrilla fearlessness and intelligence pushed it into legitimacy and legend. "The Mist" is as much about things-that-go-bump-against-the-plate-glass as the way in which trapped humans respond to such a fantastic situation. Like "Night," the breakdown of social order and martial law is addressed; the role of the military comes into play; religious fundamentalism is personified by Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden), a fire-and-brimstone type who becomes a macabre, sacrifice-minded beacon to the store's desperate. In an era where most of today's horror crowd expects "Saw XIV" every time they walk into a theater, Darabont's script is built on a foundation of logic and authentic human action (even when characters do things we know are unwise, their rationale is convincingly fleshed-out) as opposed to manipulative twists and anticlimaxes. The ending is at once ballsy, depressing, and right. Like "Night," "The Mist" is less about otherworldly monsters than mankind's uncanny ability to BE the monster.
That being said, "The Mist" works as well as a traditional horror film, with several genuinely scary sequences involving mutant hybrids of pterodactyls, houseflies, and spiders, with several Cthulhu-esquire unmentionables to complement their Lovecraftian backstory. The CG is well-utilized and the sharp editing keeps it from being overdone. Darabont transforms the creatureswhich are essentially '50s B-movie fodderinto absolutely convincing visions of hell. This film bucks current horror trends by actually scaring the audience instead of just repulsing them.
"The Mist" is one of the year's best.
I was very impressed by this adaptation of Stephen King's 'The Mist'. I have been a fan of the story since it came out and have played the text game and have heard the 3-D audio version of it. This is a masterful suspense/monster movie that puts an ensemble cast into the untenable situation of being in a deteriorating situation they cannot escape from. We watch as alliances are formed, religious paranoia takes hold and, nicely, the movie takes the time to establish characters whom we come to care for before the true action begins. I dock it a couple of points because some of the monsters seemed a little too cgi, and the middle lags a bit, but the much talked about ending is indeed awesome and I was most impressed by the director's decision to keep the music soundtrack down and even eliminate it completely during many of the action sequences. So many movies nowadays crank the music up to 11 to make up for the fact that their suspense scenes do not work. This movie does. I was breathlessly on the edge of my seat for most of it, even though I was already familiar with the story. Highly recommended.
If, two years ago, you told me that within a couple of years two
excellent Stephen King film adaptations would be released, I would
probably have laughed it off. Films like The Shining, Shawshank
Redemption, Stand by Me, The Stand and 1408 are usually pretty far
between (Note that I consider The Green Mile and Carrie to be the most
over-rated King adaptations, so they do not appear here). I like most
of the films that have been made from Stephen King novels, novellas,
and short stories mainly because I like Stephen King, but I do not
recommend many of them as truly good films.
Frank Darabont's (writing and directing) The Mist adapts a horror novella of the same name. King's horror work has been the most difficult material to adapt, but this film is comparable to other genre stand-outs such as The Shining and 1408.
A brief, dramatic thunderstorm is followed by a freak mist that descends on a small New England town. As the mist permeates the town, people congregate in the local supermarket and hardware store to stock up and gather supplies. David Drayton (Thomas Jane), his son (Nathan Gamble), and his neighbor (Andre Braugher) are among them. Tension builds as a steady stream of military vehicles pass through the mist headed south from a nearby base. But serious concern doesn't start until one of the locals runs to the supermarket with blood spatters on his clothing and talking of monsters in the mist.
Indeed, there are horrors outside in the fog, but there are also horrors inside the market - as paranoia, irrationality and religion come into conflict with practical issues of survival.
Unlike many horror films, The Mist examines fear and its effects realistically, looks at the horror created by forces beyond human control and the even more terrifying horror that fear creates through forces that are completely within our grasp - our own fears, our beliefs and our treatment of each other. It does so using a classic formula which is comparable to films like Night of the Living Dead and, more recently, Feast.
The cinematography, editing and directing are all excellent. The acting is quite good - Marcia Gay Harden and William Sadler stood out for me - and the script is exactly where it needed to be for this adaptation.
Highly recommended for King fans and horror fans. Recommended for Sci-Fi fans. Weakly recommended for average cinema-goers who are not generally interested in horror.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I always say to people that Frank Darabont is the only man who can
truly make a great Stephen King adaptation. I'm not so sure I have the
credentials to state that as fact, but I do anyways. I love The
Shawshank Redemption, but never read Rita Hayworth
and I read The
Green Mile, but still have yet to watch the film. So, I can't quite
compare his work with that of the author, however, that did little to
temper my anticipation for his first based on a supernatural story,
with The Mist. Early buzz was that he completed the hat trick; even
with some unavoidable clichés inherent to the genre, he was able to
create something unique and terrifying. I have to say that I agree
whole-heartedly. The tale that he has spun and the performances that he
has wrenched from his actors are nothing short of spectacular. With the
amount of tension built up, you hardly have time to notice the somewhat
mediocre effects work and token moments of horror tradition. Whereas
someone less capable would have tried to tell the tale of humanity
versus the otherworldly beasts outside their grocery store cage,
Darabont tells it how it really isfear of the unknown turning man
against man. There is no scarier monster than the one hidden inside us
We aren't given very much background at all. Thrown into the plot by a huge storm knocking power out and leaving destruction in its wake, we don't have much time before we are taken to the grocery store that becomes our setting for almost the entire duration. These are not two-dimensional characters, though, and through their conversations with each other, we glean a lot about who they are. It helps that this is a small town where everyone knows everyone, and they all make sure each other knows it. You have to love the old retired teacher calling you an underachiever right before you go out to risk your life against creatures straight from another dimension. The occupations of everyone plays into the plot course too, from a movie poster artist trying to tell the group that he saw tentacles attempting to take them out into the mist, to a lawyer doing his best to see the practicality of the situation and necessity of evidence before being convinced. They all have one thing in common, though, and that is the need for protection, the need for a herd to follow. As Armageddon plays out on the other side of the glass windows, fear takes hold, pitting faith against rationality, morality opposite ceremonial sacrifice.
Darabont has his cinematographer stay in very close throughout the movie. With extremely tight compositions, we are able to see the emotions and the chaos reflected by each actor's eyes. Everyone handles the pressure differently and the filmmakers don't cop-out from showing us each. The feeling leads to some claustrophobic moments, but also some wonderful action pieces, showing us the brutality and violence up close with no question or ambiguity to what happened. Towards the end, we are given a witch-hunt sequence between the zealots and the pragmatists. It is just a breathtaking piece of cinematic splendor, beautifully orchestrated despite its cruel subject matter and unabashed frankness. If you want to see grotesque, remorseless creatures, just take a glimpse at your neighbor. I'm sure it is there just below the surface, waiting for an opportunity to come up for air and latch onto the coattails of the nearest person crazy enough to think they know the answers and that they alone can lead the rest to salvation.
The acting is simply phenomenal. An ensemble of so many recognizable faces has been compiled and no one misses a step. Thomas Jane is devastating as the father of a young boy doing his best to keep everyone calm while taking stock of the situation in an attempt to find a way out; Toby Jones gives a nice turn as the slightly nerdy store assistant manager who is constantly walked on until his true worth is shown; and Andre Braugher is effective as the foil to Jane, their rocky relationship evolving and devolving as each minute goes by. While everyone is fantastic, it is Marica Gay Harden that becomes the real tour de force. I have never been a huge fan of hers; she is solid for sure, but usually comes off as annoying to me. Here, though, she is the most frightening character on screen. Channeling God's wishes through her demented skull leads to the separation into two factions of the survivors. If this wasn't a genre flick I'd say she had a pretty decent shot at getting her second supporting actress Oscar.
Every note is played to perfection. Overcoming any crutches that the nature of horror/thrillers bring with them, Darabont has crafted an emotionally draining piece of cinema that leaves the audience gasping for air as though they have been kicked in the stomach. While the fights with the bug-like creatures are effective, they only play out as the first step to the battles within soon to come. I credit all involved for keeping the tone where it needed to be in order for success. This is an R-rated tale and it pulls no punches to that effect. Whereas most films of this ilk would take a simple route out of the carnage, we are allowed to watch all play out to its unavoidable end. Maybe the finale is obvious, but evenso, it is stripped down to the basic core of emotions. I knew it was coming yet it was still devastating to experience. Fear makes us all do that which we think we could never do and, if anything, The Mist is a cautionary tale to help us remember that one crucial and unbending fact of life.
I'll start out by saying that I'm a Stephen King fan and thus I may
have some bias. I've watched many Steven King movies but have never
given one a rating this high. Most of his horror movies are in the 4-6
range with classics such as The Shawshank Redemption, The Shining, and
The Green Mile ranking 8-10 (although two of those aren't technically
horror movies). In most modern horror (like the Saw series) there is a
greater emphasis on gore than the horror of the human condition and
this movie, kudos to the actors, help weave a tale that disgusts you
inside and out without the pure reliance on blood spatter (although
granted there is a fair amount of that).
Thomas Jane (leading male and well known from The Punisher) has a brilliant and emotional portrayal of his character in a mind-blowing situation that we feel intimately associated with thanks to his acting and great directing. Laurie Holden (of X-Files and Silent Hill fame) has a more subdued performance but plays her role well and for any X-Files nut (such as myself) it's fun to see her in another movie. The cast is chock full of well known actors and some unknowns that really see and express the writer and directors vision. It pays off: They succeed in pulling you into a traumatic situation made worse with a mixture of religious zealotry, military conspiracy, and small-town ignorance that explodes in your face wondering if your humanity is worse off facing The Mist or the human condition.
There is no spoiler here but I will say this about the ending: It's what makes the movie and makes it so much better than most of the crap put out there in horror land. Yes, yes, getting cut in half and having limbs ripped-off is horrible. However it is the decisions we have to make that concern those we love and respect that can really drive one mad. The ending makes you look at yourself and wonder, if given the same situation, what you would have to do with the information you have available. It makes you think hard about your humanity and your soul and about what is right or wrong in any given situation involving our mortality.
I would suggest this movie to anyone that likes horror or science fiction and wants something a little more intense than, say, Army of Darkness (one of my personal favorites for totally different reasons). This movie deals with serious issues we hear about daily. The mist is just a piece of Science Fiction thrown in to bring out the best...and worst in us.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've been a Stephen King reader since I was about 8. I've read almost
everything the man has written. I'm also a HUGE Frank Darabont fan
after what he did with SHAWSHANK and GREEN MILE.
It takes a lot to scare me, but this movie really creeped me out. From the moment The Mist rolls in over the lake toward the small town, I was hooked. Thomas Jane is fantastic in this. In fact, the entire cast knocks this one out of the park because of how realistically they play each moment. Never once did I feel like I was watching acting on the screen. Darabont sets a mood of realism with the hand held shots inside the grocery store and the organic suspense that creates.
Darabont has added some elements not found in the King story, but each one of them is spot on. Especially the end. It will leave you sitting in your seat, awe struck.
I can't recommend this film more. The FX are outstanding by Greg Nicotero and Cafe FX. The creatures are great, complex and frightening. The Mist itself becomes a character.
The feeling of dread I got each time a character went into The Mist is such a tribute to how wonderful and masterful this film is.
And finally, Marcia Gay Harden and Toby Jones. Harden's character is so despicable I really began to hate her as the movie went on. But the realism of what unfolds with her, and the group of people stuck in the store, is so fantastic. And Toby Jones as Ollie was my second favorite behind Jane's character. Jones looks like he would be the quiet type, but he quickly becomes the audience favorite.
See this movie ASAP. And a special thanks again to Frank Darabont, Greg Nicotero, AICN and the Alamo Drafthouse for bringing this awesome film to Austin for us to see FIRST!!!!!
I won't go into details as I don't want to ruin this film for everyone,
but I will highly recommend it! One warning: Do not watch this film
expecting a cheesy/entertaining horror, or even a high-quality
entertaining slasher as this film is -all- about the characters and how
extreme circumstances can bring out the extreme sides of human nature.
By the end of the film I was literally on the edge of my seat - cider forgotten - with my hand over my mouth.
Masterfully written screenplay (from the original short story by Stephen King) and masterfully directed, anyone who is generally sceptical about adaptations of Stephen King "horrors" will be rewarded by watching this, Frank Darabont has done a typically marvelous job (see Shawshank and Green Mile) and well and truly delivered.
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