Directed by Frank Darabont [Other horror films: Buried Alive (1990), Nightshift Collection (1994, segment ‘The Woman in the Room’)]
Very much a modern-day classic of the genre, The Mist is a very solidly-made film with little in it too objectionable. You have a pretty good and, at times, claustrophobic story, a great cast with memorable characters, and enough monstery goodness to keep everyone happy, along with showing the dangers of religion, which is always a good touch.
There’s a lot of actors and actresses here I liked, such as William Sadler (The Shawshank Redemption), Marcia Gay Harden, Jeffrey DeMunn (Storm of the Century), Toby Jones (from an episode of Doctor Who and Berberian Sound Studio), Andre Braugher (of the emotional crime/fantasy flick Frequency from 2000), Thomas Jane, Frances Sternhagen, Robert C. Treveiler, and Buck Taylor.
Of these names, DeMunn, Jones, and Harden were perhaps the best in the film. DeMunn has always been a consistently fun actor, while Jones is another individual I like in pretty much anything I see him in. Harden isn’t a name I know, but she does a great job playing the dangerous Mrs. Carmody, a religious nutbag, in the film. I hated every second she was babbling on-screen, so her performance was on point.
The CGI was a little spotty at times, but honestly, it didn’t bother me here near as much as one might think. The special effects in general were pretty solid, and the creature design was great too (hard to choose a favorite, but the tall, tentacled one, along with the spiders, who dominated in the pharmacy scene, would be my top two picks).
A lot of the hate that I see coming to this film deals with the end, and I don’t personally get it. Is the end darker? Sure, but the situation was dark also, and there’s nothing about the conclusion that I dislike at all. I think it’s a perfectly acceptable ending, perfectly realistic, and I applaud a more mainstream horror film going out the way this one did.
Tackling the dangers of religion was a nice touch also. In a situation like this, people like Mrs. Carmody need to be shut up as soon as possible, or otherwise you have an illogical mob out for blood because they’ve been duped into believing in an unverifiable deity. Her character was utterly despicable, and I’m glad that Ollie took care of her the way he did. In many ways, what’s scarier in The Mist than the creatures is the religious mumbo-jumbo, which unfortunately isn’t something modern-day Americans are immune from.
The Mist pretty much hits the right spots. I’ve not read the novella this movie was based off of, but for a Stephen King adaptation, The Mist is damn solid. Like I said, the cast is great, with a lot of familiar faces, the story is quite tense, and there’s a lot going for this flick.
This is one of the films discussed on Fight Evil’s podcast. If interested, listen to Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I talk this one over below.