Oct 16, 2014

Review: The Mist (2007)

With The Mist, Frank Darabont continues his love for Stephen King stories following adaptations of The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. Based on King's 1980 novella, The Mist has apparently been on Darabont's wishlist for a long time. It's definitely pretty different in terms of the kind of material Darabont has done in the past so I was interested in seeing how he handled the sci-fi and horror elements of the story.

It's been a long time since I've been hearing about how good The Mist is. I knew the story involved mist and something in the mist. I also knew that there was some hyper religious lady too, but that's really all I knew about the story beforehand. It's better to go in more on the blind side anyway. I'm the kind of person who tunes out people who talk spoilers about movies that I haven't seen, so I was pretty much where I wanted to be before watching The Mist.

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Genre: horror, sci-fi, thriller
Directed by: Frank Darabont
Produced by: Frank Darabont, Liz Glotzer, Anna Garduno, etc.
Written by: Frank Darabont
Music by: Mark Isham
Running time: 126 minutes
Production company: Dimension Films, Darkwoods Productions, The Weinstein Company
Distributed by: Alliance Atlantis Communications, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Dimension Films, etc.
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $18,000,000
Box office: $57,293,715 (Worldwide)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Andre Braugher, Toby Jones, William Sadler, Jeffrey DeMunn, Frances Sternhagen, Nathan Gamble, Alexa Davalos, Chris Owen, Sam Witwer, Robert C. Treveiler, David Jensen
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David Drayton (Thomas Jane) is a graphic artist living in Bridgton, Maine with his wife Stephanie (Kelly Collins Lintz) and eight year-old son Billy (Nathan Gamble). A big storm causes severe damage to the town and forces David to go to the supermarket to get supplies. Billy comes along and they find the store teeming with fellow townspeople. A tornado siren sounds bringing in a screaming Dan Miller (Jeffrey DeMunn) who says there are things in the mist. Within seconds, a strange mist envelopes the store.

The Mist sets itself up very nicely. The small town feel of the settings gets itself across and I like how natural it all looks. There aren't any big A-listers in the cast. Everyone looks like a regular Joe, even if let's say Thomas Jane doesn't look like much of a graphic artist. All the same, throughout the course of the movie, I came away impressed with Thomas Jane's acting ability. It's not award winning stuff but it's more than adequate.

The other thing I like about The Mist is that it feels, well old school I guess. It reminds me of something like a 70's paranoia/conspiracy film. It's true that there's this mysterious mist just outside the store but it's really all about the people. It's about the best and worst of humanity. We see some of the absolute worst in humanity that you can imagine and I think it's all done very convincingly. Tension builds over the course of the movie before we're left trying to figure out what's the bigger threat, the mist or other people?

The Mist isn't really that much of a scary movie if you compare it to a typical horror movie. It's just scary in a different way. Darabont builds up the mystery of the mist very well in the beginning of the movie. You really don't have a clue as to what could be inside it. Once things starts happening, it's scary because you feel something for the people that it's happening to. You feel their fear and you don't want anything to happen to them because they're likeable, regular people. (Spoilers) Some of the CGI is definitely dated but never does it derail the movie or anything. (End Spoilers)

The Mist is also pretty different as far as horror movies go because of how dramatic and dark it gets. I've been watching horror movie after horror movie lately because it's October and TM doesn't really fit into the kind of stuff that I've been watching. (Spoilers) I can see how the ending is a controversial element of the film, but personally I'm a fan of it. Life is cruel and David Drayton finds that out firsthand in possibly the worst possible way. (End Spoilers) Just don't go into The Mist expecting to go from scare to scare. It's not that kind of film.

Thomas Jane took me aback with what he could do and I loved the old school feeling of The Mist. I think that's something that I just always seem to like about Frank Darabont movies because I even liked The Majestic truth be told. The Mist is set up very nicely and builds on its foundation with a dark exploration into the nature of humanity. If something like in The Mist were to happen in real life, I don't think the story is that far off from what would really happen.

7/10