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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 brianorndorf

"Restores some faith to the wounded horror genre"
5 stars

The Eli Roths of the world? Ah, who needs ‘em! They can keep their sadomasochism and pop culture aesthetics. Frank Darabont’s “The Mist” is a return to form for the filmmaker and the brittle horror genre. It offers the viewer a disquieting Stephen King tale of survival and claustrophobia, while dusting off classic horror devices such as patience and suspense to manufacture something that’s legitimately unsettling while retaining timeless audience-baiting mechanics.

When a storm wallops a small Maine town, David Drayton (Thomas Jane), his son, and a moody neighbor (Andre Braugher) head to the local grocery store for supplies. Once there, a strange mist rolls into town, bringing with it a terrifying monster threat that locks the shoppers inside the store. Unable to leave, the group soon breaks off into factions, one side (including Toby Jones and Laurie Holden) trying to figure out a survival plan and escape the mist through logic and reason, the other, led by Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden), chooses to view the mist and the fury contained within as an incontrovertible representation of God’s wrath on sinners.

After the 2001 bloated Capraesque misfire “The Majestic,” writer/director Frank Darabont has come to revisit the world of Stephen King, the author who lent the filmmaker two titles met with great acclaim: “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Green Mile.” The collaboration between the talents proves fruitful yet again in “The Mist.”

Where Darabont excels is in his interpretation of King’s text, protecting the author’s tendency to provide dustings of stereotypes and clichés for the most immediate sympathetic responses. The film is a straightforward construct of small town rubes versus the lethal unknown, and Darabont’s screenplay is quick to preserve the simplicity of the conflict and character interaction to best realize the panic of the story. For some, the use of “aw, shucks” dialogue and broad caricatures could very well be a turnoff. However, I adored the unsophisticated nature of the scripting, which in turns leads to a bottomless feeling of tension as the mist starts to reveal the nightmarish creatures contained within.

Violence is used sparingly, but effectively by Darabont, taking as much delight in the mental torture of the mist as he does in the bloodshed, which is found in wonderful abundance. There are two kinds of terror found in the picture: mob hysteria and the rampage of the creatures, who resemble locusts and spiders (shooting acidic webs). Both result in an impressive body count, but Darabont never goes overboard. “Mist” is portioned out carefully, building alarm as the hours tick by and the situation erodes from one of wonder and doubt to grim realization. It’s suspenseful and scary, two elements not factoring into horror much these days.

The truth is, “The Mist” is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. One walks into this thing with an expectation of monsters and carnage, and those quotas are filled with great panache (the CGI lacks gobs-o-money polish, yet it still works), but the reality is, Darabont is much more tuned into the religious overtones.

Stressing the point that “Mist” is fashioned from minimal characterizations, Harden’s Mrs. Carmody is a zealot of the highest order; an agent of Jesus made up of fire, brimstone, and an entire serving of crazy. “Mist” uses Carmody as the villain of the piece, but also focuses on the strength of her fervor, as she comes to symbolize the need to belong at any cost during times of crisis, with people finding comfort in the strangest places. As the high priestess of the grocery store, Darabont suggests that Carmody’s psychological sway and biblical wrath is perhaps more deadly than a monster invasion; a proper reflection in the light of current fanatical movements sweeping the planet.

“The Mist” surprises, angers, and delights with equal measure, but there’s something romantic in the sucker punch Darabont offers in the final reel. Diverting from King’s novella, the film’s ending is even darker and less expected. It’s a display of bravery unlike any major studio film in the last decade, daring to close the film on a disturbing note rather than a display of heroics. It’s a gut-churner that flips “Mist” over from a lovely B-picture to a sobering descent into hell, challenging horror fans with a vision of gorgeous bleakness bereft of irony or smiles. It’s an artistic choice that turns “The Mist” from a good film into a great one.

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originally posted: 11/21/07 16:48:29
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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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