The Mist

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A mysterious cloud of fog covers a small town in Maine, trapping members of the community inside a local grocery store. David Drayton (Thomas Jane) will do anything to keep his son alive, even if it means braving the otherworldly creatures lurking in the mist.

The Highs
The plot of The Mist is certainly the best part of the film, coming from the legendary author Stephen King. I really enjoyed the Lovecraftian elements, both the alien creatures and the idea of creeping insanity. Darabont does an excellent job capturing the essence and weirdness of the story, and certainly doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the ending. I know it’s a point of contention, but the finale of The Mist is perfectly brutal and crushing.

Marcia Gay Harden delivers an amazing performance, portraying the character of Mrs. Carmody perfectly. I read complaints that viewers couldn’t stomach her, that she was frustrating and enraging and insane. I would say, then, that Harden accomplishes exactly what she intended for the character. While she could have easily devolved into overacting, I felt she showed excellent control.

The sequence at night with the insects on the glass, and subsequently the flying creatures breaking into the store, was awesome. I consider this the best of the whole film. I thought everything about this particular segment was done perfectly. I also loved the brief glimpse of the giant creature striding over the road, and appreciate the detail in that particular monstrosity.

The Lows
First, the giant extraplanar alien in the room – the CGI. There is a lot of it to be found here, and it is mostly very bad. The tentacles in the loading dock, in particular, are awful. I really wish that more practical effects were used, or that more time and money had been devoted to the CGI ones.

The script is terrible throughout. It’s easy to blame the actors and actresses for their performances, but I believe it’s simply the atrocious writing that is to blame. Aside from Thomas Jane’s unintentionally hilarious screaming at the end, that is. There’s really no excuse for that. I love Stephen King, but I also realize that a lot of times his characters don’t talk like normal people – and that carries over here.

None of the characters, even the main protagonists, have any kind of depth or dimension. They are all standard cliche cutouts that only serve their purpose in this particular story. As excellent as Marcia Gay Harden’s performance is, Mrs. Carmody is nothing more than a religious zealot. The audience feels no empathy for her, and thus there is really no moral question of what she believes. Likewise, David Drayton is merely a likable superhero that takes charge.

The cinematography is mediocre at best, and amateur at worst. Scenes are poorly composed and often feature random close-ups that detract from what’s actually happening on the screen. At times it feels like Darabont was trying for a semi-realistic found footage aesthetic, but it’s so inconsistent that it’s hard to reason out what his true intentions were.

Final Thoughts
The Mist is a decent adaption of a great story with horrible CGI and some questionable writing, but it is sufficiently enjoyable for fans of Lovecraftian horror or Stephen King.

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