For another Horror film, I selected Stephen King’s “The Mist”. This film is a bit reminiscent of John Carpenter’s classic “the Fog” (don’t bother with the remake). The film features a stellar cast, but the best factor of this movie is the Director. Frank Darabont directed 2 other Stephen King stories into truly memorable films: “the Shawshank Redemption” and “the Green Mile”. I have a lot of appreciation for Stephen King novels, and yet my most severe criticism is the same for all of them: Mr. King doesn’t know how to end them. Fortunately, Frank Darabont is capable of taking a Stephen King story and either add to it or take something away. The end result of every one of Darabont’s efforts in this department has been a very successful film. “Shawshank” ranks continually as a Top Pick among movie critics still to this day.
The story is a little science fiction. The set-up is that a resort town is hit by a nasty electrical storm accompanied by damaging winds. The following morning, as the town is just getting out and cleaning up after the vicious storm, a strange mist rolls into town and blankets the whole area. A large group of customers are trapped inside the local grocery store when a panicked patron comes running in, bleeding, and screams about how something came from the mist and took a neighbor. The stage is set for a classic struggle for survival, both against the mist and their fellow grocery shoppers.
The story is very suspenseful and the mist adds to the enjoyment of the film, simply because it blots out your vision. That which you cannot see can be very frightening indeed. Most movies would use darkness as that element, but a very thick mist succeeds even better I think. There’s a quiet hush that falls about the town. That adds a truly dreadful atmosphere to the setting. King likes to use this set up; just look at “the Langoliers” and “the Storm of the Century”.
The acting is exceptional! When someone screams in this movie, everybody reacts! That was a nice touch. Panicked people on the edge of their own sanity should react that way, but sadly, few movies actually show us that. There were a couple of really great performances of note: Andre Braugher and Marcia Gay Harden. I say that Braugher is exceptional because he plays a real jerk in the movie, and most of the time he plays very likeable characters. He also seems very believable as a judge. Marcia Gay Harden is phenomenal as Mrs. Carmody! She plays a rather unstable Bible-thumper that becomes a source of hope for many of the trapped shoppers. Her performance is absolutely PERFECT! Thomas Jane plays the lead role and he is also brilliant, yet in a different way. Jane can play the scared-out-of-his-mind father well, but he does even better when playing somebody that is a little crazy. By the end of this film, you’ll understand what I mean by that statement.
“The Mist” isn’t perfect but if you’d like a real nail-biter of a Horror film, then this one is for you. Bizarre circumstances, creepy mist that obscures everything beyond 10 feet, and some pretty scary “normal” people make this one a frighteningly good recommend for this season!
…. and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE