Movie: "The Mist"
Year: 2007
Rated: R
Genre: Horror
Directed by: Frank Darabont
Writing credits: Stephen King, Frank Darabont

Reviewer: Protoclown
Posted: 4/17/2008

Plot: After a terrible storm, a mysterious mist comes down from the mountains and envelopes a quiet New England town. As the locals realize that there are strange, deadly creatures lurking in the mist, a group of them hole up inside a grocery store and try to survive.

Review: First and foremost, I have to admit that I've not read the Stephen King novella that this is based on, so my judgments are based on the movie's merits alone, instead of whether or not it was a faithful adaptation. When this movie initially came out in theaters, I wasn't the least bit interested in what appeared to be standard generic horror fare, but my friend Josh (Jaeger S. Meistersen to longtime readers) gave it his highest recommendation, referring to it as "the feel good movie of the year". Seeing as how I love bleak, depressing movies, I decided to give it a chance on DVD. I'm glad I did, because The Mist is one of the best horror movies made in recent years, and I'd probably rank it among the best I've ever seen, period.

This is a disappointing time to be a horror fan, when most mainstream horror movies amount to little more than what's popularly referred to as "torture porn", where paper thin plots serve as the barest vehicles to get random, undeveloped characters to meet their grisly, final ends, which are often not even as gory as older horror movies but are endlessly touted for their "shock value". They don't even offer the charm of seeing an iconic character like Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees doing the chopping anymore, which is what made the horror films of the 80s so damned fun to watch. So it's refreshing to see Frank Darabont, a man who understands the promises offered by the eerie subtleties of horror, and who realizes that our fellow human beings are often the scariest monsters of all, tackle a modern horror film. Of course, he's no stranger to adapting the work of King, horror or no, so it should come as little surprise that he's more than up to the task of handling the master of horror's work.

I'm not going to get into the plot details here, but like so many horror films, this one involves a group of frightened people trapped by supernatural circumstances beyond their control, and as time goes on tensions get out of control and tempers explode. It's a typical horror formula, but quite effective when handled well, because there are often far more compelling dangers inside the "safety" of whatever makeshift refuge the characters find themselves in. What I like about this film is that instead of offering up every single boring cliché you can expect to see in 99% of the current horror fare, this movie often approaches cliché and then skirts around it, toying with your expectations. That's not to say this film is entirely without predictable moments, but odds are if you think that gun is out of bullets (as it would be in any other contemporary horror movie), it's probably not.

The mysterious creatures in the mist remain mysterious for the most part--you get to see them, but only in hazy glimpses at best. They do look pretty damn cool however, and not to take anything away from King, but fans of H.P. Lovecraft will probably appreciate their designs, particularly the one I'll refer to as the "behemoth". The origins of the mist phenomenon are only explained in the vaguest possible terms, but that's okay, because the real story revolves around a small group of characters in and around the grocery store, and that's really all that matters. If you're someone who requires exacting detail, you will no doubt find this frustrating, but as someone who appreciates the romantic vagaries of mystery, I found it a most welcome element.

The best (and most divisive) part of the movie, however, is the ending. Upon watching it, I felt like I had been punched in the fucking soul. It's one of the most twisted, horrific endings I've ever seen, and even as my roommates and I joked "wouldn't it be awful if..." we still couldn't believe it when it actually unfolded before our eyes. I often find myself loving ultra-bleak endings that piss off 90% of the audience, and this is no exception. I've read many complaints online that people had about the end, about how it wasn't faithful to King's original story and it was too awful, too horrible, just too damned depressing. But hey, King gave Darabont his blessing on the rewritten ending, and since it actually made me feel physically sick when I saw it, I think it did a fine job of serving up an honest to goodness portion of genuine horror.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeWhole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Forum Virgin
Apr 17th, 2008, 06:07 AM
I saw this in the theater, and enjoyed it very much. I saw the ending coming from a mile away, however. It was a Twilight zone(ish) ending. The kind of ending that would give M. Night Shyamalan a cinder-block-braking boner.
James Brown in hiding
Apr 17th, 2008, 06:32 AM
THanks Prot. I think I'm going to check this one out. I normally hate King's writing but the Lovecraft reference got me intregued.
Apr 17th, 2008, 07:52 AM
The ending was so awesome. It made the movie.
Forum Virgin
Apr 17th, 2008, 09:48 AM
I loved this movie. The ending was just so deflating, Though to truly enjoy this movie you have to see the black and white version that comes with the 2 disc edition. It adds so much to the atmosphere of the movie.
Apr 17th, 2008, 10:26 AM
I'm going to try not to give any spoilers here. I really liked the movie until the end. I found it unnecessary. The movie itself is dark and hopeless and beautiful, but the ending ruined it for me. It's like it intentionally tries to push the movie further while turning it in another direction. I would've liked it to end right before the "twist", a good solid "end" ending. Other than that, it was perfect in almost every way.
Apr 17th, 2008, 10:30 AM
...and I mean the "after the end" ending... hope that makes it clear enough to those who've seen it. I love the actions taken to resolve to situation, just not the revelation after the actions. Make sense? Good. 'Nuff Said.
Apr 17th, 2008, 04:19 PM
I just watched it the other day, and I loved it. It was very faithful to the original story, but with enough differences to make it different. The ending was great, it really is one of the only truly horrifying moments in cinema history. It's not gory, it's not monstrous, but it's possibly the first horror movie to truly horrify me instead of just disgust or shock me.
Apr 17th, 2008, 04:24 PM
Haha wow, sorry. "Enough differences to make it different" should have read, "enough differences to make it its own"

I have enough stupid to be stupid
Fake Shemp
Apr 17th, 2008, 07:44 PM
Haven't seen it yet :S - Can't read the review :S :S

dang dang dang
Crazed Techno-Biologist
Apr 17th, 2008, 08:58 PM
i read your review, and now im gonna try to see it, despite how i thought it was going to be a piece of crap when i saw the previews, youve chagned my mind and i trust your judgment.
Jason's a Furry! Run!
Apr 17th, 2008, 09:59 PM
For reasons unknown to me, I haven't seen this yet. I love Stephen King movies (and horror movies in general), I like the occasional depressing ending (just to mix things up), and Frank Darabont was a god to me for all of the 90s. And yet, I missed it in theaters and it's now making a very slow crawl up my netflix list. I'll need to bump it now, as this is yet another encouraging review, and I can't put it off any longer.
Smooth Operator
Apr 18th, 2008, 01:44 AM
I have to admit that this movie was a pleasent surprise. I bought the movie on a whim, and found it to be a very entertaining film. Sure, it's not the ending King wrote(if you want to read the story, I suggest reading the whole of Skeleton Crew, and not just the stand alone copy of the Mist), but that doesn't make it any less gut wrenching. And from someone who isn't scared or shocked very often from films, that's saying something.
On a side note, the cover of the special edition of this dvd might be a spoiler in and of itself.
Forum Virgin
Apr 18th, 2008, 11:42 AM
I loved this movie!
I don't think the ending was bad at all, it was just what was needed to drive the point home. I am also a rabid fan of Thomas Ligotti and H.P. Lovecraft, and the creature designs were amazingly true to that feeling, especially the Titan Walker at the end. Sweet!
Apr 18th, 2008, 06:38 PM
Sounds awesome; I may check this out when my mate is over, thanks! :D
Apr 18th, 2008, 09:45 PM
Steven King still writes books?
Freelance Product Tester
Apr 19th, 2008, 05:16 PM
I haven't seen it, so I want to know, does the "Behemoth" look like Cthulhu, or some other Lovecraftian horror?
Crazed Techno-Biologist
Apr 20th, 2008, 04:15 AM
ok, i saw it and both the child and the evangelical woman infuriate me. good movie, ending wasnicely realistic for a change and i liked it despote hating it, others watching should get what i mean.
lurking on the walls
Apr 20th, 2008, 10:32 AM
i didn't see the movie, but the concept of a town being covered in a mist with bizarre monsters in the mist, seems like a certain videogame and movie named Silent Hill
Spiteful Jerk
Apr 20th, 2008, 07:39 PM
So I just watched this movie... and I think I'll go slash my wrists. Christ the ending depressed me.
Apr 21st, 2008, 03:53 AM
Originally Posted by saturnknight View Post
i didn't see the movie, but the concept of a town being covered in a mist with bizarre monsters in the mist, seems like a certain videogame and movie named Silent Hill
yeah, but it's based on a steven king story from 1980, so it's not like it's plagiarizing SH.
Master of Awesome Sauce!
Apr 22nd, 2008, 01:11 AM
I work in a movie theater, so I often see the ends to movies. I saw this one, and wanted to die... The worst ending ever! It reakky made you just want to stop living, And I never fell like that!
Forum Virgin
Apr 22nd, 2008, 03:28 PM
I saw it in theaters the day it came out. I was waiting for it forever. Frank Darabont is the best director of all time. Well, maybe not, but he still ranks top five. All his King adaptations have ruled.
Apr 22nd, 2008, 06:44 PM
Thanks a bunch for posting this! I went and watched it with my mate: one of the best movies I've seen; that guy, Ollie; who I referred to in the beginning of the movie as "Down syndrome light bulb headed guy" actually became one of the biggest bad asses ever; he freakin' ruled!
And, holy crap! That "wouldn't it be awful if..." moment was EXACTLY WHAT I SAID THEN IT HAPPENED! I just said "It'd be crazy if..." then I started noticing it and all we could say was "ohhh nooo, no no no no no nooo >.<"
AWESOME MOVIE man, thank you so much for reviewing it and alerting me to it's existence ^^
Forum Virgin
Jul 6th, 2008, 05:40 PM
Ending was awesome. Most people hate any ending that's not all happy where the main characters live happily ever after in their gum drop house on lollypop lain.
The Goddamned Batman
Jul 6th, 2008, 05:53 PM
Woah, that's weird that you posted this today, because I just showed a couple of my friends this movie for the first time last night. Freaky.
Jul 6th, 2008, 07:06 PM
i thought the ending was way too m. night shyamalan for my tastes :/
Forum Virgin
Oct 21st, 2009, 11:38 AM
I remember watching this with my fairly upbeat friend...he loathed the ending, because it just made him feel dirty and wrong...I, being a bit of a pessimist, not to mention possible sadist, loved it, even more so for the fact that I could not help but laugh at my friends reaction...it was like frank darabont showed him the cutest widdle puppy dog then caved its head in with a brick...(though don't get me wrong. I far prefer animals to humans)...my poor friend...I also made him watch "funny games"...he must hate me sometimes...
Ranting Swede
Aug 31st, 2010, 08:25 PM
my tv was screwed up when I viewed this, so I watched it in Black and white.. a few weeks later I saw it in color..
I can honestly say that it is way better in Black and white.. I dont know what it is..