The Mist (2007) 3.14/5 (1)


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Rating: The Bad – 54.5
Genre: Horror
Duration: 126 mins
Director: Frank Darabont
Stars: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden

Frank Darabont’s third adaptation of a Stephen King novel counts as an opportunity missed, and it’s not a close miss either. There’s a great premise, impressive production values, and brilliant special effects all wrapped together with some classy taut direction. But it’s all utterly destroyed by a laughable, bloated, contrived, and trite screenplay which crams every cliche in the book into its excruciating two hours and ten minutes.

Thomas Jane stars as a small town artist who heads off to the store with his son to collect supplies in the aftermath of a terrifying storm. While in the store, a thick mist rolls through the town enveloping anyone it catches up with in a bloody screaming demise. Soon enough, everyone is holding up in the store as they try to figure out collectively and individually what horrors the mist has brought to their town. So far, so good. So very good in fact. In these early scenes, some interesting characters and character dynamics are set up which promise to provide a rich pretext to the drama when it eventually unfolds. After all, working together is much more interesting when there are differences to overcome.

Unfortunately, just when those moments arrive, the tense build up begins to unravel as our characters show the first signs of unbelievable behaviour. Now we all know that people under stress will do weird things but when everybody in the store has locked the front door because something inconceivably nasty is outside, going out the backdoor to unclog a drain equates to a type of behaviour so dumb that words cannot do it justice. Worse still is the cockamamie pretext for that decision which boiled down to “I’m going to do it because the guy who’s telling me not to is a fancy college boy”. Unfortunately, this stupefying sequence is the first of many dominoes to fall as every other character demonstrates confounding and illogical behaviour in one contrived circumstance after another. OK, many horror films are weighed down by such things but few are so ponderous and fewer still are imbued with such a deluded sense of importance. As if in the middle of all the acid spitting spiders and giant insatiable ants, lay some perceptive and critical socio-cultural commentaries. Sure, there were some nice observations about human beings needing to take sides but nothing we haven’t come across before and even if we hadn’t, how about incorporating them into the story rather than just dropping them in like a bowling ball and at random intervals?

The Mist isn’t a total washout. Jane consolidates his status as a strong lead, the visual effects are fantastic and set against the heavy atmosphere of the mist, they feel substantial. Darabont’s direction is flawless and would’ve easily facilitated the script at the level it wanted to be at. Alas the script isn’t at the level. It was nowhere near it. So bad was it in fact, that everything in this movie fails because of it.

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2 thoughts on “The Mist (2007)”

  1. I actually liked this movie and never found any fault with the characters or their descions. It never felt dropped in like you mentioned. I’m sure those character traits were always there but we just never saw them come to a boil until it does in the story.

  2. I’m a big fan of these sorts of films and I really wanted to like this. And 20 minutes in, I was thrilled by it. Unfortunately, from the moment they walk into the store room on, I didn’t buy any of it. I felt everything was forced and/or overcooked. I think the reason I was more forceful in my comments here is that I disliked it even though I wanted to. I’ve watched it twice since in the hope it would change my mind and every time at that moment it loses me. For example, they lock up the store because something awful is out front but they treat Jane as if he’s crazy for telling them not to go out the back. The killing of the soldier too felt unnaturally accelerated. Sure people have been known to turn on segments of society whom they blame for social problems but that’s a phenomenon which takes years. Attitudes have to change at a rate where the changes are imperceptible to the person otherwise they see them as contrary to their personhood. To pass such a quick transition off as likely in this film felt a little ridiculous.

    Anyway, these are just my two cents and since my whole blog is about recognising that no review is unbiased, feel free to rate it or even petition it for a list change. I’ve a lot of Darabont fans who visit regularly and I wouldn’t be surprised if they saw it your way 😉

    Thanks again for stopping my Vern 🙂

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