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The Mist (2007)
It's hard to believe that this movie was directed by Frank Darabont of Shawshank Redemption. If I had been at this movie alone, I would've walked out 45 minutes in. Or an hour in. It didn't matter how much time I'd invested; I was willing to throw it away to save at least 15 minutes of my life.
You know which way Stephen King movies go: They're masterfully atmospheric, or they're cheeseball productions that should go direct to video. The first scene of this movie gave me the appropriate sinking feeling: Oh, it's going to be one of THOSE...
What's wrong here? Everything from editing and cinematography gaffes to poor storytelling. Characters explode into arguments for no reason; there is no build-up to give confrontations any legitimacy. But the biggest problem with the movie is the use of abject stupidity on the part of the characters to achieve "tension" or to drag out boring action so the timing of the scene "works." You've seen this kind of thing before: The main character sees and hears something pounding on a garage door, to the point where the door bulges inward several feet and threatens to give way. He returns to the others and reports that he "heard something." Like what? "I don't know. A noise." Of course, the others doubt him and scoff, but the guy never elaborates. Otherwise perfectly articulate, he just stammers and stutters and the ensuing argument consumes minute after minute of our precious time. YAAAAAWWN. The movie is rife with incidents like these, where people just stand mute and stare as someone else delivers the most boring and uncompelling oratory imaginable.
Even more tiresome are the minimum of three endless sermons given by the religious zealot trapped in the store. What a played out and hackneyed storyline: First merely tolerated, she eventually whips people up into religious fervor and turns them against the heroes. What a surprise! Pathetic. This kind of thing was done far better on Twilight Zone 45 years ago, and sewn up in less than half an hour. Here we get to watch the drivel unspool for almost two hours, with no surprises.
I could let bad special effects go, but bad cinematography needs to be called out. Zoom rears its ugly head as often as the creatures do in this movie, and the result is a effort that often looks like amateur hour. You don't need a treatise on why zoom sucks to notice that it creates a cheap, made-for-TV feel. In fact, made for TV in the '70s, because today's viewers expect higher production value. They don't get it here.
So is there any redemption in this effort? There's one scene where the heroes venture out into a different physical area, and it's not bad. And I respect the end, which isn't what one might expect. But beyond that, there's little recommend here.