The Mist

January 5, 2008
By
Stephen King’s The Mist

In The Mist, the latest adaption of a Stephen King novella of the same name, thick, impenetrable mist descends upon a small town, masking the horrors that lurk inside of it. David Brayton is caught inside of a local supermarket when the miasma surrounds it, trapping in all the occupants. These new prisoners slowly learn about the beings that lurk in the mist, as the beasts claim more and more of their lives. The director Frank Darabont pulls off a dominating theme of claustrophobia and stark realism perfectly suited to the King novel’s atmosphere. He doesn’t attempt to break the delicate atmosphere with comedic relief or unnecessary quips. Far more than simply thrills, the movie is a dark, raw piece that will play with your emotions like a ragdoll.

The Mist uses an extremely bare soundtrack, enhancing its realism. You decide for yourself whether silence can be as frightening as synthetic suspense, but when I watched it, this effect seemed to make the film seem more of a true account than a Hollywood horror; every disaster struck me to the core. However, when the film relied on computer-generated effects and close-ups on the monsters, the entire mood of the movie seemed cheapened and unrealistic.

As supplies run low inside the supermarket, morale goes with it. As many people die of suicide within the supermarket as from the monsters without. David and a dwindling number of close friends find themselves at odds with a shrill, bible-thumping buzzard of a woman, who gradually convinces many of those trapped that the mist is an act of God, the beginning of the apocalypse. Her character hyperbolizes many post-9/11 sentiments expressed in the United States today.

After several attacks leave the survivors dwindled and weak, hope is all but given up. The mist lies as thickly and as dangerously as ever. David’s band pushes past the newly-converted religious extremists and strikes out for help in his jeep. Here, director Darabont succeeds in creating the most emotionally draining finale of any film I have ever seen. In this adaption of King’s novella, David becomes a tragic hero more abject than any man of Greek tragedy. There is no shying away from the raw, painful reality of the situation. You may not emerge smiling, but you’ll never forget this film.





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