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The Mist(2007)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Frank Darabont

Starring:
Thomas Jane/David
Marcia Gay Harden/Mrs. Carmody
Laurie Holden/Amanda
William Sadler/Jim
8 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
A small and quiet Maine town gets bitch-slapped hard Ike Turner style when a thick mist rolls on in and unleashes a slew of vicious beasties upon it… that have snacking on human flesh on the fritz at that! Will the town folks holded up in a supermarket survive the ordeal?
THE LOWDOWN

If I ever want a friend like you, I'll just squat and shit one out. - Mrs. Carmody

THE MIST which is based on Stephen King’s novella of the same name has finally engulfed the big screen and you couldn’t find a more contented schmuck on wheels than me. The short story has been one of my favs since I embraced decadence in College and who else but Frank Darabont could bring its multi layered M.O. to the screen with such pizzazz! Or so I though…was I right?

YES I WAS DADDY-O! THE MIST punched me in the gut on many levels throughout and then stomped my ribs into “smoke me up” ashes with its last frames. The flick had it all! Characters that I could root for or/and loathe with a passion, an effortless pace (was the film really 2 hours and 7 minutes long? I didn’t feel it), mature and engrossing visuals that gave justice to the substance and authentic scares delivered via toe biting build-ups and back-handing pay-offs. The movie also got to have its whore and eat her too in the sense that it succeeded as a scary ride, a creature feature but also as a social commentary. Much like in King’s novella, the people-monsters within the supermarket were actually much more terrifying than the one’s flapping their wings outside.

Although far from an in-depth exploration of human nature (the chain of events unraveled too fast and the characters were not explored enough for that to happen), I did value the theme of “when one’s back is against the wall” some will latch on to anybody or anything that promises some kind of answer. I call it the sheep mentality; in fact it’s one of my main peeves with the pathetic society we live in. Think for yourselves for f*cks sakes, get the facts, avoid crutches of any kind and grab the obstacle by the balls and overcome it dammit! Wow… I’m side tracking here… all that to say the “human” factor of the film didn’t explore anything I didn’t already know but it re-integrated it with gusto, hence making for quite the gripping watch. It’s been a while since I literally yelled out loud at a movie screen, cussing at a character and telling her/him to shut the f*ck up already. Well that went down with THE MIST (much to the dismay of my date sitting next to me… you can’t handle it… step off!). I can’t remember the last time a character infuriated me this much. DAMN! Mission accomplished Mr. Darabont!

Append to all that quality sweetness a Grade A cast that elevated the fairly “type” characterization to a “I give a shit” standpoint, some left field gore gags that rammed in with impact, able circumstantial humor that rubbed me the right way, awesome dialogue (we get some priceless lines here) and an ending that destroyed me (yes its different than in the book but good different - more of an expansion- I loved it - I'm still trying to discern if there's a social message in there or not) and you get one heck of a gratifying horror movie. Any negatives? Some. Although the creature designs were bang-on (think prehistoric vibe meets the insect world), the CGI wasn’t always up to snuff. The tentacles for example… ouch… I thought I was watching test footage from THE ABYSS! There was no reason for them to look this phony. Lastly, I did feel that some of the characters switched sides way too swiftly and I didn’t fully buy the transition (William Sandler anyone?). With that spat out and toyed with, it didn’t take long for me to let that shite go and hop back into the ride 100%. So it wasn’t THAT much of an issue.

So when I ran out of the theatre (somebody let a stink bomb go in there), “money well spent” rang in my noggin. Why? Because it’s not everyday you see a Studio horror film with this much talent oozing out of it while sporting a big set of elephant balls between its legs, fearless as to going against the grain. I was moved, shocked and knocked out! THE MIST was everything I wanted it to be! THANK YOU!
GORE
We get a handful of “BAM” graphic bits here! Flesh ripped off, body chomped in half, an inflating cheek, decomposing bodies, bugs spewing out of corpses, gun shot wounds and more! My thirst for “the ugly” was quenched.
ACTING
Thomas Jane (David) had a like 2 “off” moments but the fact that he owned like nobody’s mistress the rest of the time, made those “oops” quite trivial. Jane rocks! Marcia Gay Harden (Mrs. Carmody) really dived into the part and gave birth to a despicable, frightening and obviously insane character. I f*cking bought it! So much that I wanted to back-hand her the whole way. Laurie Holden (Amanda) was credible in what she had to do; pretty basic role. It’s always a joy to see the GREAT William Sadler (Jim) do his thing and it’s an even bigger trip when he’s in a genre film. YEAH BICTH! Toby Jones (Ollie) often stole the show with his low key yet mucho likeable display. Loved him!
T & A
Unless clothe-less CG beasties, long tentacles and Thomas Jane's biceps count...NATHING!
DIRECTING
Darabont knew when to hold back to serve the drama and the characters and when to double down on atmosphere while capitalizing on dread as to the mist/horror sequences. Scares wise, the man need how to milk the build-up and momentum to then come down hard. It was so groovy to witness somebody of Darabont’s talent (the man was a Three-time Oscar nominee after all) tackle this type of horror film. He brought something to it that a lesser director couldn’t have. CLASS!
SOUNDTRACK
We’re treated to a downplayed yet daunting score that did the trick and a brilliant use of "The Host of Seraphim" by Dead Can Dance for the finale. WOW!
BOTTOM LINE
Being a fan of the novella, my expectations were set high for this one and essentially THE MIST met them. Appealing characters, thought provoking themes, some truly bloodcurdling moments and a visceral finale that sent me to the mat to count my broken teeth, I couldn’t ask for more! Sure the CG was weak in places and the rapidity in which some of the peeps segued from average hick to “human sacrificing” religious zealot wasn’t entirely convincing, but them flaws never bankrupted my experience. In my book (Swank Magazine that is), for what it was, THE MIST played its game in a superior fashion and hit the mark 90% of the time. It will make my Top 10 of 2007 for sure!
BULL'S EYE
King’s THE MIST was first published in the horror anthology Dark Forces, and then re-published in King’s short story collection Skeleton Crew.

In the opening, look out for a drawing of Stephen King's Dark Tower (gunslinger Roland) and a take on John Carpenter's The Thing poster.

The film was shot in Shreveport, Louisiana, USA

VISIT THE OFFICIAL THE MIST SITE HERE