My Review of “The Mist”!

The Mist 

Did you ever walk away from a film unsure of how you feel about what you just saw?

Well for the 1st time today that actually happened to me. I went to see a screening of “The Mist” today. While I can say for sure that I did not LOVE the movie, I didn’t exactly hate it either.

The movie centers around a small town that is suddenly enveloped in an unnatural mist after a thunderstorm. David Drayton (Played perfectly by Thomas Jane) is a movie poster artist who ends up being trapped in a local supermarket with his young son when the mist suddenly appears. We all soon find out that the mysterious mist is concealing otherworldly monsters. David becomes trapped in the supermarket with other people, and when the monsters start appearing, everyone starts to unravel and reveal their true feelings. How will they escape when the monsters are seemingly everywhere in the mist?

The film taps into a lot of different things, mainly the post 9/11 fear and paranoia that many people still experience to this day. The movie also explores how people react in life or death situations. Naturally everyone’s reaction to the fear of the situation differs greatly. Many go the easy way and find religion thanks to Mrs. Carmody, the local religious fanatic. Once the monsters appear she begins to preach to an at first skeptical crowd. But when people begin to die, they start to believe in her preaching. 

With the majority of the folks now following Mrs. Carmody and viewing the monsters in the mist as God’s Wrath and Punishment, David and his new group of friends are soon seen as heretics.  

Marcia Gay Harden turns in a superb performance as Mrs. Carmody, a woman who’s faith in the Lord is so unshakeable that she borders on crazy at first. As the movie progresses, and she gains a bigger following, she becomes bolder and eventually she is revealed to in fact be crazy. The portrayal of her character could have been so ridiculously over the top, but Marcia Gay Harden grounds it with some plain old good acting. I genuinely hated her character, and if I were in the situation, I would have probably hurled canned goods at her head every time she opened her mouth. And someone does that in the movie, so at least I know I am not crazy with my feelings.

The acting in the film is all around good. There wasn’t a bad actor in the movie which makes me happy because bad acting seems to be a staple in horror films. The direction by Steven King Wonder Boy Frank Darabont is really good. He fills the movie with tension, paranoia, and fear.

My main problem with the film though? The overuse of CGI effects. 

The loading dock sequence which should have looked really creepy on film, was not. The tentacled creature looked extremely fake and had an almost borderline “Sci-Fi Original Movie” quality. To give you all a point of reference, some of the monsters looked as hokey as the bugs that populated the island in the “King Kong” remake.

Had Darabont and his special effects team gone the traditional route (ala “John Carpenter’s The Thing”) and used animatronics (and then combined them with CGI) I would have been fully sold on the monsters in the film. But to the film’s credit, the spiders did look ugly. And the pharmacy sequence was a highlight for me.

The dialogue was a little bit clunky at times. Some characters said some things that sounded like they were taken straight from the book. But again, the actors did their jobs well so those moments were few and far in between.  

Overall the movie is a slow burn film. Anyone wanting to get the standard monster movie jolts every 10 minutes will not enjoy this film. I hate to make statements like the one I am about to make, but the film’s execution elevates it to more of a thinking man’s horror movie. Even though the premise of the movie is standard B Movie fare disguised with A List Production Values, it somewhat works and makes you think about what you just saw. 

Which brings me to the ending of the film. The ending is sure to alienate most movie goers. This sure as hell is not Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds”. The ending is very dark and unsettling, and I am glad that Darabont had the guts to actually end the film the way he does. 

I feel like “The Mist” is a movie that will make the viewer feel two ways. Either you will need to take time away from the film to realize what you thought about it. Or it might take multiple viewing’s to draw a concrete conclusion.

“The Mist” is not terrible but it’s not overwhelmingly good, and it leaves you feeling a little bit cloudy as the mist in the film. But in my opinion, I do think that there is enough good in this movie that I can recommend you going to see it for yourself.

“The Mist” Opens on Wednesday November 21st