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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 39.76%
Average: 4.82%
Pretty Bad: 2.41%
Total Crap: 6.02%

4 reviews, 59 user ratings

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Mist, The
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by Mel Valentin

"There', mist!"
4 stars

Book or story to screen adaptations of Stephen King’s work cluster around the mediocre ("1408", "Pet Cemetery," "Firestarter") or the truly wretched ("Night Flyer," "Night Shift", "Maximum Overdrive"). Of the few adaptations that stand on their own, most were made from King’s early novels ("Carrie," "Salem’s Lot," "The Shining") or novellas ("The Shawshank Redemption," "Stand by Me") with the occasional exception ("Dolores Clairborne," "Misery") drawn from his realistic novels. Writer/director Frank Darabont has adapted two of King’s work, "The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Green Mile," and after a long hiatus, is back with a third, an adaptation of King’s 1980 apocalyptic survival/horror novella, "The Mist."

Darabont sticks closely to King’s novella, centering The Mist on David Drayton (Thomas Jane), an artist who lives and works from a lakeside home in Maine. After a freak electrical storm knocks out all the power in the area, Drayton decides to go into town to stock up on supplies with his son, Billy (Nathan Gamble), and his neighbor, Brent Norton (Andre Braugher), in tow. Drayton leaves his wife, Stephanie (Kelly Collins Lintz), behind to face a seemingly innocuous mist rolling in over the lake. Drayton discovers the supermarket jam-packed. Everyone, it seems, decided to come to the supermarket to stock up.

But then the mist rolls in. One man, Dan Miller (Jeffrey DeMunn), appears out of the mist, bloodied, and bruised and with a story to tell: something non-human came out of the mist and took his friend. The other townspeople disbelieve him at first, but decide to stay put. The screams of a man dying in the mist suggest that Wayne’s story might be, in fact, true, but it’s not until several men decide to open the loading dock door to clear a vent for the generator that they realize something large and hungry is out there waiting for them. But some of the townspeople cling tenaciously to their rationality like a life raft, including Norton, who suspects Drayton and the other locals are pulling an elaborate gag on him. Rationality means nothing, however, to Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden), a deeply disturbed religious zealot who suggests that the monsters in the mist are harbingers of the end times and of God's wrath. Only Wayne Jessup (Sam Witwer), a soldier from a local army base, seems to know what's going on.

The struggle between rationality and fear and between religious zealotry and fire forms the backbone both of King’s novella and Darabont’s adaptation. Human conflict, the breakdown of the social order, personalities crushed under extreme duress are also elements found in most stories involving apocalyptic horror, of which there’s no better example than George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. Despite a larger cast of characters in The Mist, the conflicts are practically the same, the dilemmas almost identical: what to do when information is severely limited and the risks are high, usually filtered down to a simple, if extremely hazardous choice between staying or going.

In all that, The Mist is a fine example of the sub-genre. The increasing desperation of the characters, the turn to religious comfort, and eventually, the turn to violence as the answer are emphasized in a way few directors working in the horror genre would, since they’d risk heavy criticism for such a choice. Backed by Dimension Films (a.k.a. the Weinstein Brothers), Darabont was given wide latitude in adapting King’s novella. To his credit, Darabont includes all the major characters and, just as importantly, all of the major plot points, including the attacks by the monsters, each one more intense than the last. Up until the last ten or fifteen minutes, The Mist is truer to King’s work than any other adaptation of his work.

Darabont, however, strays from The Mist original ending or, to be accurate, continues the story past where King left his readers. King opted for an ambiguous ending, one that gave the survivors, at best, a temporary victory. Frustrating or refusing narrative closure, The Mist allowed readers to make up their own ending, hopeful or bleak. Darabont’s ending provides far more closure and offers, at least on one level, a more optimistic ending, but another, more personal (meaning the characters we’ve followed for two hours), it’s anything but. It’s bleakly ironic and probably the most daring ending to a mainstream film this year.

If "The Mist" doesn’t falter by tacking on a “false” or illogical ending (it doesn’t), it’s far from perfect. At almost two hours, "The Mist" is too long and repetitive, especially where the bible thumping, Revelation-quoting Mrs. Carmody is concerned. The visual effects are also a bit dodgy, due no doubt to budget constraints. To be fair, most of the visual effects, especially those obscured by the mist are more than serviceable. It’s in the cold light of day or in a well-lit interior that the visual effects look unfinished or unpolished. Luckily, that only happens twice, once during the loading dock scene and later on during an attack on the supermarket. Still, those are minor, easily forgivable problems in comparison to Darabont’s achievement: an adaptation of a Stephen King work that’s faithful to the source material while managing to stand on its own.

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originally posted: 11/21/07 11:25:31
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User Comments

10/30/16 morris campbell cool creatures but the downer ending is cheap & harsh they could have ended it differt th 3 stars
3/29/16 Aj wales A good story well told. Unflashy direction. Atmosphere. Ending great - true horror. 5 stars
12/09/13 Martin Spotty throughout, but has horror, fun, depth. take the ending u mainstream pansies 4 stars
8/10/10 Chad Dillon Cooper Good movie, great ironic ending for a Hollywood film. 5 stars
5/09/10 reptilesni Biggest "fuck you very much for watching" ending in a movie ever. 1 stars
3/25/10 mr.mike Most downer ending I've seen in 30 years. Studio had elephant balls! 4 stars
1/11/10 Frenzy To silly 2 stars
10/19/09 auzzie chickie worth watching. the ending was the real attention grabber! 4 stars
7/14/09 cody a freaky movie with some scares, good story , but bad ending in my opinion. 3 stars
5/11/09 Ricky the lesson is not to loose hope... the movie is great and truly underated 5 stars
3/22/09 MP Bartley Make sure you watch the b&w version. Superbly delivers bleak thrills. 4 stars
3/16/09 Sean One of the best movies of 2007. Terrific acting, nicely paced, and an interesting ending. 5 stars
11/21/08 Shaun Wallner Friiggin Awesome!! 5 stars
8/30/08 TreeTiger Great movie... 5 stars
8/09/08 GC One of the best horror/monster movies ever, awesome ending 5 stars
8/08/08 ben dover amazing truly devastating and disturbing ending 5 stars
7/21/08 Ken Great film. Good Ending. People who don't like it probably retarded 5 stars
6/15/08 Don Better than I expected 4 stars
6/01/08 Ron Decent Stephen King movie. NOBODY would have predicted the ending 4 stars
5/30/08 Danny One of the best horror flicks I've seen in a while. 4 stars
5/11/08 James Everyone one in this movie was stupid, from the main good guy to the stupid idiot. 1 stars
5/10/08 Siggie Loved the novella, really enjoyed the movie (which did not screw the story up)! 4 stars
5/05/08 Bnorm Awesome movie. suprisingly nasty too...the jesus freak lady got what she deserved 5 stars
5/03/08 Karrie Millheim I was impressed, I watched it again tonight, the monsters look cool 5 stars
5/03/08 MovieMaster Truly a wonderful adaptation from a great story. Who are, in the end the true monsters? 5 stars
4/27/08 Jayme Isaacs A Classic Masterpiece 5 stars
4/11/08 Jerome OMG this is classic filmmaking/screen adaptation who cares about the music? try thinking! 5 stars
4/09/08 scotty One of the absolute best films of 2007 5 stars
4/06/08 movie buff OMG what am I missing. Too many cliches and too much overacting. Horrible. 1 stars
4/05/08 Paytah It was alright. Kind of long, and the ending sucked. But overall... not bad. 4 stars
4/03/08 MOVIE MASTA Da PHANTASTIC This shit was off the hook son 5 stars
3/30/08 M Underated 4 stars
3/27/08 action movie fan alien.joyhn carpenter,s the thing and now the mist-human nature vs yuchy creatures-true fea 5 stars
3/26/08 Servo Great movie and just a devastating ending. Havent been schocked like that in a while. 4 stars
3/12/08 hostick I loved it but i think the music was awful at the end!!! 4 stars
2/15/08 Jimbo Unreal movie, best King movie in years, the ending was great, pity the dimwits cant get it. 4 stars
2/07/08 C. Despite the questionable effects/graphics, the incredible social dynamics blew my mind. 4 stars
1/20/08 matthew oh man what a fucked ending. brilliant film, probably the best King adaptation 5 stars
12/27/07 Jack An instant horror classic. Not torture-porn. There's a difference and this film nails it. 5 stars
12/18/07 Tory Seriously, how could you like this movie, and not I am Legend. Seriously?. . . 2 stars
12/17/07 Tom Servo Good to have you back Mr.King 5 stars
12/15/07 John Anthony Worth seeing despite the ending. Why didn't they just get some gas? 4 stars
12/11/07 Ole Man Bourbon Good ending, good action, bad dialogue. Pretty broad in terms of metaphor. 3 stars
12/04/07 ES I really enjoyed it, it's a great movie 4 stars
12/03/07 mtop completely incredible film, the best ive seen all year Stephen king has done it once again 5 stars
12/02/07 Grigory So bad 1 stars
12/01/07 Jonathan Rhoades I liked the film all except for the gawd awful music toward the end. That kills the movie 3 stars
11/28/07 Luisa Suspenseful, entertaining and disturbing...what horror films should be! 5 stars
11/27/07 Dan Rugg One of the best Stephen King films yet!!! 5 stars
11/27/07 Darkknight21c Good film. But..the rationalists at the end display the most irrationality. Think about it. 4 stars
11/26/07 Rogue Gallart How it ends... well, I couldn’t move from my seat, I was that blown away by the power of it 5 stars
11/26/07 Danielle Ophelia The soldier's death was the most disturbing scene by far. 4 stars
11/25/07 AJ Muller Not anti-religion, but anti-fanatic. Phenomenal and shocking. A classic. 5 stars
11/25/07 Rogue Gallart The last 10 minutes of the movie is cinematic history! 5 stars
11/25/07 Brian Mckay a faithful adaptation of the novella, except for the pull-no-punches ending (it's better!) 4 stars
11/24/07 Jim the Movie Freak One of the year's very very best films 5 stars
11/22/07 dalafa Just saw this movie tonight, when the siren goes off at the beginning I was hooked. 4 stars
11/22/07 VLTampa Abandon Hope All Who Enter! 4 stars
11/22/07 Ron20003 Not enough monsters. Too much talking! Sucky ending 1 stars
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  21-Nov-2007 (R)
  DVD: 25-Mar-2008



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